Categorical Imperative

June 20th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Only posting this because I’ve run across this so many times in various places and each time failed to commit it to memory that I’d like it archived in virtual perpetuity, so I can readily consult it:

“These ambiguities, redundancies, and deficiencies recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia called the Heavenly Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. In its distant pages it is written that animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the emperor; (b) embalmed ones; (c) those that are trained; (d) suckling pigs; (e) mermaids; (f) fabulous ones; (g) stray dogs; (h) those that are included in this classification; (i) those that trembled as if they were mad; (j) innumerable ones; (k) those drawn with a very fine camel’s hair brush; (l) etcetera; (m) those that have just broken the flower vase; (n) those that at a distance resemble flies.”

~ J.L. Borges, “The Analytical Language of John Wilkins” trans. Eliot Weinberger

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