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Iluvatar
July 9th, 2005, 12:07 PM
The protagonist brought a package to the Avatar.

He continued "Let me ask you a simple question: Did you deliver the package, or did the package deliver you?"

"I delivered the package," I answered. That seemed obvious enough.

"If the package had no address, would you have delivered it here?"

"No"

"Then you would agree that delivering the package required the participation of the package. The package told you where to go."

"I suppose that's true, in a way. But it's the least important part of the delivery. I did the driving and lifting and moving. That's the important part."

"How can one part be more important if each part is completely necessary?" said Avatar.

"Look, I'm holding the package, and I'm walking with it. That's delivering. I'm delivering the package. That's what I do. I'm the package-delivery guy."

"That's one way to look at it. Another way is that both you and the package got here at the same time. And that both of you were necessary. I say the package delivered you."


So, what's wrong with this logic?

Jamie
July 9th, 2005, 02:28 PM
Well it isn't the package that told him where to go(well it does but there is a step that the Avatar failed to include), to me it was the person who sent the package to his delivery company. Without the person who sent the package, the package would have no destination, and neither would the delivery man. Hmm did that make sense, lol?

Iluvatar
July 9th, 2005, 04:17 PM
Somewhat. However, all you did was add another intermediate step. Did the sender deliver the package?

In defense of the Avatar:
Without the package, the man would never have been brought there. Without the man, the package would never have been brought there.

I think I see a good angle to attack this from... can you figure out the flaw?

CliveStaples
July 9th, 2005, 08:41 PM
The act of "delivering" is not the act of "arriving". Claiming that the package delivered the man is absurd, because the package was not instrumental in the transportation--providing an address, in any case, was not an action of the package's doing.

Iluvatar
July 10th, 2005, 06:52 AM
It was the package's attributes which allowed the man to get there, regardless of how those attributes came about. Thus, the package was instrumental in the delivering.

Meng Bomin
July 11th, 2005, 10:49 PM
Let's first look at the definition:

To bring or transport to the proper place or recipient; distribute: <cite>deliver groceries; deliver the mail.</cite>
While the package was a necessary part of the delivery, so is every subject of a delivery. However, it was the delivery man, with the aid of his truck that transported the package. The package may have been the reason that the man transported himself and the package to the house, but it did not do the transporting. It would be like saying that since the lion was the reason that the gazelle started to run, the lion did the running. While I can see what the old man what trying to get at, he misworded it.

Sematics is so fun! j/k

KevinBrowning
July 11th, 2005, 11:30 PM
It's just an unusual angle on the idea of coincidence versus fate, to say "the package delivered him." Although the man, being the intelligent entity, delivered the package, unless he had a package to deliver, he never would have gone to Avatar's house, as far as we know. It is in this symbolic sense that the question "or did it deliver him?" is asked.

Mr. Hyde
July 12th, 2005, 05:45 AM
Look at it this way. The man delivers packages. The packages guide him to the destinations. Without either neither would arrive at the destination. In a sense, the package delivered him as without it he would never have met the Avatar, but without him, the package would never have arrived either. One did not deliver the other, they delivered each other. It's a message of universal equality rather than man being more than he is. I think that's it at least.

Meng Bomin
July 12th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Look at it this way. The man delivers packages. The packages guide him to the destinations. Without either neither would arrive at the destination. In a sense, the package delivered him as without it he would never have met the Avatar, but without him, the package would never have arrived either. One did not deliver the other, they delivered each other. It's a message of universal equality rather than man being more than he is. I think that's it at least.
However, the man did the transporting. While the package was the reason he did the transporting, it did not literally transport the man. Pretty much every delivery works this way.

Iluvatar
July 12th, 2005, 05:42 PM
Dictionary.com:"To bring or transport to the proper place or recipient

Which leads us to 'bring:
Bring: v. To carry, convey, lead, or cause to go along to another place

The package was EQUALLY INFLUENTIAL in causing the man to be there as the man was in bringing the package there. Thus, both brought each other, and thus, the may equally well have transported each other. Semantics seems to uphold this. :D

Meng Bomin
July 13th, 2005, 09:55 PM
Dictionary.com:"To bring or transport to the proper place or recipient
:lol:
You caught me. I thought I would be able to argue it, but when I saw "bring" in the definition, I thought it may be a stretch. If only, if only...:lol:

KevinBrowning
July 13th, 2005, 11:41 PM
Just a semantics device to stimulate discussion of fate versus coincidence and free will, as far as I can see.