14 May 2007

Schmonz's Theorem

I have discovered the following very important theorem.

SCHMONZ'S THEOREM: Everything is the same as something else, except for something.

Example #1: THE CHEESEBURGER. The cheeseburger is the same as the hamburger, except that it also contains cheese. Schmonz's Theorem holds. An equivalent true statement can be formulated in terms of the hamburger. Normative formulations are also possible: The cheeseburger is the same as the hamburger, except that it's more awesome.

Example #2: TWO OTHERWISE IDENTICAL CHEESEBURGERS. The one cheeseburger is the same as the other cheeseburger, except that it is not the same instance of cheeseburger as the other. Schmonz's Theorem holds. Note that this is a more subtle application of Schmonz's Theorem. We are willing to assume the theoretical identicality of cheeseburgers (apart from their individual identities qua cheeseburger, of course) and Schmonz's Theorem is shown to hold even in this edge case.

Example #3: TALKING ABOUT CHEESEBURGERS TO ILLUSTRATE ABSTRACT CONCEPTS. Talking about cheeseburgers to illustrate abstract concepts is like eating cheeseburgers, only the satisfaction is intellectual rather than gustatory. Schmonz's Theorem holds.

Corollary #1: GENUS-DIFFERENTIA DEFINITION. The genus-differentia definition of Aristotle is just like Schmonz's Theorem, only more original.

Misguided Criticism #1: It has been claimed that Schmonz's Theorem lacks predictive power and can only be used retroactively to describe two things which are similar, yet different. Those who make this claim have not read Schmonz's Theorem carefully. Schmonz's Theorem clearly states that, given any two things, they will always be similar, yet different. This particular criticism is therefore like a valid criticism, only not.

Exercise #1 (for advanced students only): SCHMONZ'S SECOND THEOREM. Schmonz's Second Theorem is defined in terms of Schmonz's First Theorem. What must Schmonz's Second Theorem be?

While you're working on that, I'm a go get a cheeseburger.


dewey said...

I can has cheezburger?

schmonz said...

With such a happy coincidence, one can only conclude that the world is ready for Schmonz's Theorem.

tormp said...

an important corollary to schmonz's theorem: two things which are not different, are the same.

this is my favorite.

tormp said...

more on things and their similarities

schmonz said...

A couple more cases of Schmonz's Theorem in the wild:

* Ingmar Bergman (found by truist)
* Overheard dudes

schmonz said...

I have been made aware of Proposition 2.0233 of Wittgenstein's Tractatus: "Two objects of the same logical form are only differentiated from one another in that they are different." (Blockquoted halfway down this page.)

schmonz said...

"Van Sant's perversely faithful remake of Psycho engages in a much less elegant, playful form of cinematic grave robbery. Van Sant famously vowed to make a shot-by-shot remake of Psycho that would be exactly like the original, except, of course, for the parts that would of course be different. It would be entirely the same, only not the same."

A.V. Club review

schmonz said...

Professor: All the students in the classroom are all the same -- no one moves out of their little box.
Blonde: Everyone is the same unless they are different, except that they are the same.

Overheard at NYU

schmonz said...

more on proof by cheeseburger