Radical Doubt — $2,500
Descartes’ Radical Doubt inaugurated modernity as we know it. Do the church doctors — or maybe just your ‘rents — got you down? It could be the case that they’re totally wrong about everything. After all, only things seen in a clear, natural light can be thought to be true. When you wield Radical Doubt, virtually everything is blemished by skepticism. Maybe you’re just a brain in a vat, dude in the matrix, or even computer simulation. It’s impossible to know for certain as long as your criterion for truth is as muddled and illogical as the one set out by Radical Doubt. Radical Doubt can be used to dispute everything from petty interpersonal problems (How do you know for certain that I ate your leftovers?) to fairly serious crises of faith (I can’t marry you! I don’t even know that I know I love you!). The one-time, low-cost fee of $2,500, radical doubt can be yours to torture and outwit anyone who’s failed to complete Philosophy 210: Epistemology II.
Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave — $999.99
Nestled in the middle of Plato’s Republic, a treatise on government, is his infamous Allegory Of The Cave. The brief story tells of a group of people chained to a wall in a cave; onto the wall shapes are projected using a great fire. These people mistake these shadow-shapes for reality, until one person escapes only to be blinded by the sun. Once his eyes have acclimated, however, he sees reality for what it is, and goes back into the cave to tell the others. Upon his return, his prior cohort takes the newly opened eyes to be in fact corrupted, and they kill the man. While the Allegory Of The Cave is presently used in an epistemological or self-righteous manner, it was originally meant to illustrate a point about 1) Plato’s metaphysical theory of being, and 2) how politics is for fools. Still, the Allegory Of The Cave is an antique thought, and can be used decoratively like a rusty wheelbarrow to spruce up your intellectual environs, or can be entirely re-purposed for modern needs. At less than $1,000 you can hardly go wrong with the tried and true Allegory Of The Cave. Note: the analogy of the divided line is not included with Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave.
Death Of The Author — $7,444
The Death Of The Author has its basis in the 1967 essay of the same name by noted Frenchy Roland Barthes. Like many other ideas of gallic origin, the Death Of The Author has been reduced to a tshirt-sized slogan, much like “This Is Not A Pipe” (p. 237) and “Existence Precedes Essence” (p. 45). It should be noted that the Death Of The Author draws on a fairly high-level reading of Husserl’s phenomenology. That said, the Death Of The Author can be used to make virtually any florid rhetorical point about any text; combined with “Deconstruction” (p. 583), which would have us think that “everything is a text”, the Death Of The Author provides users with a puissant tool for re-constituting reality as they see fit.