|Matt Mullican tells a story of arriving home one night to find that his
house had burned down. There was a blob on top of a table. It took him some
moments to realise that it had been his telephone. He wondered at what
point it had stopped being his telephone and became the blob. And, of
course, it became a blob when he named it "blob". In actual fact it
remained what it had always been and its molecules had undergone some
rearrangement. Calling everything molecules is too generalised so we give
things names to stop them sliding into other things, I suppose.
K told me a joke he heard in Ireland the other week: "Those thermos flasks are marvellous things. They can either keep things cold or hot... But how do they know.