Crunch time for Pringles’ sense of self
It’s the £100m question: do Pringles Authentic Prada Outlet Online Uk have “an essence of potato”? The court of appeal decreed on Wednesday that they did, a decision that cost the makers of the satanically addictive reconstituted potato-flavour snack, Procter and Gamble, Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Messenger Bag £100m in VAT. But in his ruling, Lord Justice Jacob acknowledged that the issue begged an “Aristotelian question” about essences.
Fortunately, he did not think the court needed to settle this deeper issue, since after more than 2,000 years, there is still no agreement about what such an essence is.
Plato thought that we could only find the real essence of potatoness by reflection, not ingestion. Essences are “forms” that exists independently of all physical tubers. But this seems to create more problems than it solves. Is there one form of potato, or do King Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Dresses Uk Edwards and Maris Pipers have their own eternal nature? Is there the Form of the Crisp, the Form of the Pringle, or even the Form of the Limited Edition Honey Mustard Pringle?
No wonder then that Authentic Prada Bags Outlet Online Aristotle rejected Plato, arguing that essence is not separate from physical objects, but is a matter of both their substance and form. In other words, it’s not just about what something is made of, it’s how it all sits together. Pringles are an intriguing example of how hard it is to put this theory into practice. In substance, crisps are potatoes replica prada boston bags, fried, and coated with salt and flavourings. But although Pringles contain largely the Bicester Village Prada Opening same ingredients as ordinary crisps, their form is quite different, since the potato is reformed and reconstituted. So, would Aristotle say it still has the essence of potato? Unfortunately, he’s not around to answer, but I’m sure he’d pleased to note his ideas are still being used in the service of settling such important matters.
So far, so unhelpful. But the first rule of philosophy is that if you can’t provide an answer, then Authentic Prada Factory Outlet Online at least make a distinction. In this case, the judges were ambiguous and contradictory as to whether or not they were interested in the essence of potatoes or of potato crisps. The distinction is crucial, because whereas potatoes are “natural kinds”, potato crisps are human artefacts.
The contemporary philosopher Saul Kripke argued that this Authentic Prada Milano Handbags makes a big difference. The term “potato” is what he called a “rigid designator”. That is to say, its meaning is dictated by whatever the natural object “potato” happens to be. This suggests that in the case of human-made objects, like Pringles, meaning and Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada essence could be more flexible.
Sartre, for instance, argued that plants and animals may have fixed essences, but for humans, “existence precedes essence”. We can choose what our essences are, potatoes can’t. But we can also create objects Are Prada Nylon Bags Worth The Money and decree what their essences are. The judges Authentic Prada Bags For Cheap in the Pringle case, for instance, are not discovering the truth, they’re making it.
Perhaps this is the fascination of the Pringles case. We would like to think that the answer to the question “is this a real potato crisp?” is out there, objective, just waiting to be found. Perhaps we need instead to confront the existential horror of our own freedom and accept our grave responsibility. We are condemned to be free, and so whether or not a Pringle is a crisp is for us to decide. Such is the profound condition of humankind.
Wittgenstein, in contrast, had no time for all this talk about essences, which he thought was a kind of intellectual sickness induced by philosophy. There is no essence of “crisp”, it’s simply that all the things we call crisps share a kind of family resemblance. As such, he would probably have approved of Lord Justice Mummery’s view that the case of Procter and Gamble UK v Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs could be settled on the basis not of Aristotelian metaphysics, but on what a child at a birthday party would say.