What’S A Beetle?

Perception can also be shown to be wholly unimportant in the grand scheme of things, as demonstrated by Wittgenstein’s beetle in a box thought experiment. Suppose we have a box of objects that we call beetles, and so does everyone else. The thing is, no one can ever look inside each other’s boxes, so it’s a total mystery as to what a beetle means to all of us. The analogy is obvious: the box is each individual mind, the beetle is the mysterious and ineffable contents of that mind, and the fact that other peoples’ boxes are hidden from us is the idea that we never truly have access to another being’s mind. The way we perceive a simple beetle, and extrapolating to how we see the world, is singular. We can guess, and we can assume, but our deepest experiences and perceptions are fundamentally closed off to others, and permanently private.

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