A pleasing philosophical coincidence I came across recently.
While you were out – Futility Closet
A pleasing little philosophy puzzle: If there’s a sentence that’s guaranteed to be false in any context, surely it’s this:
“I am not here now.”
But this very phrase is played on millions of answering machines and voicemail systems every day, and we all understand it to be true. I, here, and now are indexicals, words whose meanings change with the circumstances of their utterance. Here each seems to make a rather uncertain reference, and the resulting sentence on its face cannot be true, yet we all understand it readily. How?
You don’t need to be lost in Second Life to puzzle over the virtuality of time and place.