Whiteland’s butterknife states that:
The butterknife has been forged by a lifetime of experience in which reality repeatedly fails to seize upon the marvellous, contrived or fanciful explanations provided for it.
It’s a philosophical tool, graciously made available to humankind for widespread use to eliminate overthinking. In this regard it is like the other razors, paraphrased below, but less incisive.
By way of an example, consider how the butterknife slices to the truth of the familiar scenario of “Why Someone Might Not Have Phoned”. Speculation (often parental) may posit hypotheses such as:
Swish! Butterknife applied: you forgot to phone.
Whiteland’s butterknife is both a handy mind-tool for daily life, and also a profound subscription to the idea that the ordinary world is so consistently underful of adventure, intrigue and maverick chance that you can actually save yourself a lot of effort by relying on its dullness.*
If you’re a proper good thinker, like what real philosophers are, then you’ll recognise this is really about probability. Or to put it another way, is Whiteland’s Butterknife a hitherto overlooked universal truth that somehow nobody had discovered until the 21st century? Or it’s actually not so much true as usually true? AROOGA AROOGA! Butterknife claxon! Yes, Whiteland’s Butterknife can be applied to explain its own existence. Proper recursion, like real deep stuff.
Unlike other blades, including philosophical razors, rapiers of wit, or barbed insults, the butterknife does not require frequent attention to retain its incisive sharpness. It is instrinsically blunt. So even if you rarely use it, when you need it you can reach for in the cutlery drawer of reason confident it will work as well as it ever did.
It is not part of a set. There is no Whiteland’s Spork.
Whiteland’s butterknife can rightfully be found at the bottom of
To learn more about this collection, see Wikipedia’s page of razors.
the simplest solution is the right one
say what you need, and not a word more
extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity
if it can’t be proved, it doesn’t need to be disproved
Newton’s flaming laser sword
(a.k.a. Alder’s razor)
if you can’t experiment it, it’s unworthy of debate
the dullest hypothesis is the right one
If, at the moment you reach for the butterknife, you are actively engaged in adventure, otherworldly exploration and research, or acts of deliberate derring-do, then obviously you are not participating in the “ordinary world” in which the tool belongs. Leave it. It is, at that instant, not for you.