Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: Cartesian Demon
Path: you!your-host!walldrug!epicac!thermostellar-bomb-20!skordokott!mechanical-turk!skynet!m5!plovergw!plover!shitpost!mjd
Date: 2018-01-02T02:17:29
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Everyone always worries about being deceived by the Cartesian Demon. But what if you would like to be the Cartesian Demon of utmost power and cunning? That sounds kind of awesome. How do you get the job?

They say that you should dress for the job you want. How does the Cartesian Demon dress? By definition, you can’t know.

Thinking about that I became curious about Descartes' original description of the Demon. Then I did web search for the original French version. Except, duh, the original is in Latin, not in French. (“Cogito, ergo sum.” Sheesh.) Anyway, it seems to be in section 12 of Meditation 1:

Supponam igitur non optimum Deum, fontem veritatis, sed genium aliquem malignum, eundemque summe potentem & callidum, omnem suam industriam in eo posuisse, ut me falleret: …

The evil demon is “genium malignum”. A genius in Latin is a kind of magical spirit — a genie — and is the source of the English word “genius”. The connection with djinni is coincidental.

The genie's utmost power and cunning is “summe potentem & callidum”. I could not find any English cognates of callidum.

I wonder if Decartes' and Maxwell's demons ever get together for coffee.

Maxwell's Demon: “Watch this, I'll use my demonic powers to prevent our coffee from getting cold.”

Descartes' Demon: “Bah, you can't even know that it is cold, unless I let you.”