Philosopher NCO Poses Age-Old Logical Paradox: ‘Are You Calling Me A Liar?’
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — Soldiers of the 101st Airborne were once again treated to the wisdom of one of the division’s most renowned philosophers this week, sources report.
“Monday morning around 0500, I was reading a book at the desk near the end of my CQ shift,” Pfc. Edward Stone told Duffel Blog. “All of a sudden [Sgt. 1st Class] Allen storms in and shouts, “Wake up, you! Why the fuck are you sleeping?”
“I tried to explain that I was reading, not sleeping,” Stone continued. “And that’s when I knew I’d walked right into his logical trap, because he asked me, ‘Are you calling me a liar?’”
“It’s a classic paradox, a question to which there's no right answer,” according to Dr. Robert Feldman, Professor of Philosophy at the United States Military Academy. “Sgt. Allen is following in the footsteps of Socrates: using logic to embarrass and expose people who think they understand the truth. Or, in this case, to arbitrarily crush some poor Joe’s nuts.”
Soldiers in the company marveled at the rich philosophical tradition that Sgt. Allen conjured up with a single question.
“Personally, I think [Allen] has embodied Immanuel Kant’s theory of subjective truth,” theorized Spc. Ernest Winters. “None of us ever know the truth in itself; we’re all trapped behind our own subjective perceptions of the world, so the judgement of what is ‘true’ varies from person to person.”
“For instance,” he added while lowering his voice and looking around, “Sgt. Allen might think he’s some kind of cool badass, while everyone else sees him as a raging assdouche.”
The company’s commanding officer offered his own view of Allen’s philosophy.
“For me, he’s not drawing on Kant so much as on later works in the philosophy of language, specifically Nietzsche’s essay ‘On Truth and Lying In an Extra-Moral Sense,’” Capt. William McMahon said. “Sgt. Allen, like Nietzsche, is calling attention to the metaphorical essence of language. All language is subjective, and words always fall short of communicating exactly what you want them to. So we’re all liars, in a sense, because language itself is a lie.”
“Not that such epistemological quandaries will stop him [Sgt. Allen] from smoking the living balls off that private,” McMahon added.
According to Professor Feldman, this is not the first time that Sgt. Allen’s rhetoric has led his men to question their assumptions.
“His famous query ‘Who the fuck do you think you are?’ leads his interlocutor to step outside their ego and examine their sense of self, while his ever-provocative ‘You think you’re back on the block?’ calls into question our most fundamental beliefs about societal norms,” he explained.
For his part, Pfc. Stone is unmoved by Sgt. Allen’s philosophical instruction.
“I just wish Sgt. Allen would draw on a wider intellectual tradition,” Stone told Duffel Blog from his third hour in the front leaning rest, between grunts and gasps for air. “Maybe starting with St. Thomas Aquinas’ writings on forgiveness and mercy.”