Magilla Gorilla as philosophical inspiration

A cartoon gorilla.

Magilla Gorilla (c) Hanna-Barbera

The spark that ignites one’s lifelong pursuit…you never know where it will come from.

MIT philosophy professor Stephen Yablo has a rather unusual story, as told in his recent interview with 3AM Magazine.

3:AM: What made you become a philosopher?

Stephen Yablo: Hmmmm. I guess it was Hebrew school. The teacher said that we must never judge God, since we don’t know a thing about him. I was in love at the time with Magilla Gorilla, a cartoon character. He struck me as a higher sort of being. This sounded nutty, I realized, and I kept it to myself. Then on hearing that nothing was known about God, I inferred that in particular it wasn’t known that he was not my loveable ape. I was told on raising this question in class that one thing was known after all; God was not Magilla. This confused me enough to start me down the road to philosophy. Read more >

[As reported in Said and Done, the monthly newsletter of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.]

You can sample Prof. Yablo’s teaching in these OCW courses.


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