by Andy Reuss
HILLSDALE COLLEGE, Knorr Family Dining Room (Hillsdale Spectator wire) — A single plastic cup in the Knorr Family Dining Room has been used to illustrate at least 46 distinct philosophical points since students returned to campus this week.
“I’m really only here to do one job, which is to transport and contain liquids”, said the cup, which cannot even choose to remain anonymous because it was not created with a free will. “But every time someone sits down and needs to make a distinction to their friend, I’m the first thing they reach for.”
The cup has been used to distinguish Aristotelian causes, demonstrate phenomenological being, and improperly articulate predestination, among other concepts.
“You get out of the washer and think it’s going to be a relatively simple, normal lunch hour. Hold some Mountain Dew, go through the dish line, and you’re good”, it said. “Once you hear ‘cupness’, it’s all over.”
Junior Roger Walker has admitted to using a cup to show a friend how its essence preceded its existence, though cannot confirm that it was the same cup that at one point he accused of being pure extension.
“It’s just the most convenient thing available to my hands when I get worked up about something”, he said. “I know [Jean-Paul] Sartre used a book or a paper-knife in his “Existentialism Is a Humanism”, but I didn’t have one with me!”
Walker says that if a cup doesn’t want to be used to indicate literally anything he is thinking about, he finds it troubling that a plastic cup is capable of wanting.
“That’s a whole ’nother ball of wax”, he mused.
The cup relates that the most strained argument it has ever been used for was an impassioned defense of Medieval cosmology, in which it played the part of the sun. It described the entire experience as “highbrow, but poorly executed”.
“Freshmen are the worst every year”, it explained. “I’m constantly being waved about as the success of the free market and the exceptional economy of America.”
Upperclassmen do not get a pass, however.
“I don’t care how much you love [Immanuel] Kant”, it said. “I am not a hypothetical imperative acting on liquid. That’s a terrible example for any cup in any situation.”
It added that it is not mediating the experience of a beverage, an image formed by sense input, the worth of the labor that produced it, or in any way shaped like Dante’s Inferno.
Instructor of Philosophy Lee Cole explained that this cup is simply participating in a long history of philosophical explanation using innocuous objects, as well as several other accidental qualities, such as translucence.
“It’s fairly common”, Cole said. “If the cup is there, a philosophical demonstration will probably inhere in it.”
Whether the cup has helped any of the arguments it’s been involved in hold water is up for vigorous debate today at lunch.
Senior Class President Andy Reuss studies politics and English and is head resident assistant of Simpson Residence. His humor and satire column is entering its third year in The Forum.