Metaphysical question about man made objects. (chairs)

A wooden chair or chairs in general are made for the sole purpose of someone to sit on it in order to rest as its more comfortable for the body than standing.

Now if someone violates the use of the chair by using it as a weapon by swinging it and using momentum to damage something or someone.

Does this change the meaning of the chair as it can be used both as (sitting on it) and a (weapon)?

Why is it that we are capable of using the chair in different ways than the (meaning) of it?

If we compare this to morality. People can use morality as it (fit) themselves but does morality have a (true value) just like the true use of a chair is to sit on it?

“sit on” is not a property of a chair.

It has other properties … length, width, height, strength, etc … which makes it possible to sit on. Those properties make it useful as a weapon or step or battering ram , etc

It’s an object fabricated with particularly useful properties for a main purpose.

:-k Morality is not an object.

Good point. So when someone came up with the “idea” of a chair, did he first think what properties is needed to make up a chair. Or did he think of the “idea” of something to sit on which is a chair?

Lol, this is an amazing coincidence.

A couple of months ago I was teaching a class on how to ask better questions. I picked something dumb as an example.

“What is a chair…?”

So we started.

What is a chair…?
Something to sit on.
What do you sit on…?
A chair.

A loop, not very useful.

What is a chair for…?


Meh, same thing.

What could a chair be used for…?

Blah, blah and blah. But to be honest, if you use a chair for something other than sitting, it’s no longer a chair. It’s a battering ram, a step-ladder or a bookshelf etc. that ‘looks like a chair’.

What would happen if we didn’t have chairs…?

Better question. We’d all have to sit on the floor.

How would that be…?

Not great really. Our bums would feel cold, and uncomfortable. Also, if someone was standing, we’d feel small and vunerable.


What does a chair do that the floor doesn’t…?

Elevates the sitter. Especially if no-one else has chairs.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Forget chairs, what does a throne do…?

Elevates the sitter above all others, signifies power.

So there you go. The purpose of a chair originally, when chairs were scarce and not easy to make… was to display power and exert psychologic dominance (without sacrificing comfort lol).

I imagine that it developed naturally from the stuff that people were already sitting on - rocks, stumps, logs. Small improvements which culminate in what we call chairs.

“I like sitting on this log but it would be nice to be able to move it around more easily and I could move it if it wasn’t so big or so heavy.”

“Smooth wood is more comfortable than bark.”

“Wood feels warmer than stone.”

i think maybe some of this puzzlement here is coming from the assumption that a ‘chair’ means anything at all. if you understand that only statements about things can have meaning, then you’d rid yourself of what seems to be a problem of platonic universals - that a chair is something that has a meaning independent of how it is used… which incidentally is the only way it acquires any meaning. so no, the ‘chair’ doesn’t ‘mean’ anything until you talk about it… and then whether or not what you say is meaningful depends on how the word is used. whether or not that use violates the rules of the particular language game you are playing. so for instance, the statement ‘bob loves that chair and uses it to prop up his garage door’, while being quite different from the statement ‘this chair is made of wood and was built to sit on’, is just as meaningful as the latter one even though there are different locutionary rules governing its sense.

but if you said something like ‘a frantic chair’s fast greeness cavorts in twenty degree randolf’, you’d be talking gibberish. or at best doing poetry. or even worse… on your way to doing philosophy.

I like how you think, any particular philosopher(s) that inspired the way you think?

mm-hm. i see what’s going on here. you think i’m smart, and you wanna know who i’ve read so you can read em and be smart like me. well lemme tell you something. i’m not smart. i mean i’m not a real intellectual… more like a quasi-intellectual with some sophistry skills and a lotta charisma. in fact i shouldn’t even be doing philosophy. what i should be doing is re-instating the american bolshevik party and plotting a political coup. instead i’m here talking about metaphysical chairs and shit.

but no i can’t catalog all my influences. if i did it would be overwhelming and you’d be like ‘fuck that, i ain’t about to spend three days on wikipedia reading all this shit.’ that’s understandable so i’ll save you the trouble. but if we had to call that ‘kind of thinking’ above, a particular philosophical style, it would most easily be called wittgensteinian… and i’ll tell you why. it’s concerned with the use of language and pays closer attention to how and what words mean when used philosophically… because it’s in that environment that linguistic confusions arise incognito. next thing you know you’re making strange analogies between chairs and morality which on the surface appear to be real problems, but end up being odd uses of language.

so for instance - and correct me if i’m wrong - you made the following association/connection; because the meaning of ‘chair’, and what it was designed to do/be, can change (use it as a weapon instead of for your ass), therefore morality is relative and can mean different things.

okay, yes and no. morality is relative - by that i mean there are culturally different normative values - but not because a chair can be used as a weapon. you drew a proper conclusion but from a completely irrelevant premise/argument. the analysis of language here would be concerned with how you came upon that analogy… and wittgenstein might say that because of a subtle family resemblance of words, you’d be able to make such an analogy despite it being senseless. and how you’d do so would be a complex process.

things like chairs can be made with the intention of serving a purpose, but used for something else > morality is like a made thing, and could be used for other purposes than what was intended > therefore, moral truth statements are like chair uses, and have multiple meanings because of that.

this is kinda like an apple and oranges situation in which the meaning of words are carried over into differing contexts to assist in making conclusions that can’t be made from the way the words are used… but are accidentally correct nonetheless.

now i ain’t no linguist either, but you can still get a feel for what i’m saying, i think.

You’re a humble man and smart but maybe u got too high standards. I dont wanna get smart “just because”. I just want to know more to be able to come in peace with myself. Ill read about wittgenstein thanks for the recommendation

not exactly true. but let me explain. insofar as healthy narcissism, self-respect, pride, confidence, and love of self is possible in a wretched meaningless mortal creature with no purpose in the universe, i pass with flying colors. rather what determines the level of humility and humbleness i display publicly depends entirely on the company i’m in. if i’m around decent people, i tone it down and become an ordinary joe capable of fun-loving but useless small talk (sometimes even philosophy). if i’m around arrogant trash that’s undeserving of the pride and confidence it has, i tune it up to put that shit in check.

with you i didn’t sense a disturbance in the force, so i became a nice guy.

On the humility spectrum we all fall somewhere between Socrates who claimed to know nothing and Ecmandu who claims to be able to
end all suffering by creating hyper dimensional realities [ how are those mirrors coming along Ecmandu - have you started on them yet ]

I am not sure ‘meaning’ is the right word here. Unless you mean the meaning of the word ‘chair.’ I think a lot of us know chairs and many objects can be used as weapons.

Because it is very hard to make something that cannot be used in other ways. For something to be a weapon it generally needs to be somethign we can move with some speed. That’s about it. So the designers of the chair could made it out of lead and nail it to the floor, but that would be unpleasant and not so easy to use. It is very hard to make something that cannot be used for something else because of the qualites that make a thing a potential tool or decoration are vast and included in all sorts of things.

I don’t know what it means to use morality as it fit themselves. Could you explain that?