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I KNOW A SIGN WHEN I SEE IT

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The first philosophical thought most people have goes something like this: ‘Maybe what I’m seeing right now isn’t real. Maybe this world of trees and buildings and cars doesn’t really exist. Maybe I’m dreaming it all. Maybe I’m in the Matrix.’
It’s a thought that’s concerned philosophers from the very beginning. Way back in the 4th century BCE, the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzhi was worried that he might really be a butterfly:
“Once, Zhuangzhi dreamed he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering about, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know that he was Zhuangzhi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzhi. But he didn't know if he was Zhuangzhi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming that he was Zhuangzhi.” – Zhuangzhi, Zhuangzhi

Two thousand years later, the French philosopher René Descartes had similar worries. He was agonising over the possibility that he was being tricked by an evil demon:
“I shall the…

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