Vendredism is the philosophical school of thought based on the doctrine of eminent philosopher Rebecca Black. Vendredism, heavily influenced by the philosophical legacy of Aristotelianism, has broad implications in the areas of metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, and, most importantly, philosophy of time. Defended by an impressive array of contemporary scholars such as Clarence Jay and Patrice Wilson, Vendredism has itself been described as "fun, fun, fun, fun." The word vendredism is derived from the French word for Friday, vendredi, an homage to Black's most famous work in philosophy of time, It's Friday: A Reassessment of the Reality of Time.
The great philosopher Rebecca Black was born in the Soviet Union, but grew up reading the works of Plato, Aristotle, and the great Islamic and Scholastic thinkers who built upon the two. Upon considering the great philosophers' works, including Aristotle's inspiring Metaphysics, Black began to formulate her own theories regarding the nature of time, space, the mind, and existence.
After graduating from Oxbridge University with eleven Ph.D.s in different areas of philosophy, and one in 12th century Han Dynasty art, Black's dissertations were acclaimed worldwide. As the great Vendredist and historian Devin Fox notes in his seven-volume A History of Vendredism, "[...] it was at this time Rebecca Black truly realized her potential within the ancient discipline." Upon publication of her most famous work, the aforementioned It's Friday, Black's work in the A-theory of time essentially changed temporal thought overnight. Black later published numerous works in nearly every area of philosophy, but shocked the world after her sudden death due to letting 12-year olds drive her around. Since this tragedy, Vendredistic philosophers such as Patrice Wilson have commented on Black's works and defended her philosophical ideas.
Following Aristotle, Black believed that motion, or change, is the actualization of a potential. Black gives a few examples in her paradigm-shifting work, Gotta Go Downstairs: A New Approach to Aristotelian Motion, such as "everybody's rushing," "cruising so fast" on a "highway," among others.
However, building upon Aristotle's basic metaphysical structure, Black advances a causally deterministic model of actuals and potentials, one that regards the result of any given antecedent conditions as absolutely certain. To substantiate her deterministic thesis, the prominent metaphysician describes the following situation: "gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal." To elucidate, Black claims that, ceteris paribus, given the antecedent condition of "hav[ing] my bowl," the consequent of "hav[ing] cereal" necessarily follows. As such, Black views the actualization of the potential state of affairs "hav[ing] cereal" as absolutely guaranteed, given the initial conditions of the Universe. Thus Black diverges from the common Aristotelian outlook of indeterminism.
However, despite its deterministic outlook on motion, Vendredism supports compatibilism with respect to free will. In one of her later papers, Which Seat Can I Take? Common Sense Free Will, Black argues that her causal determinism and the general philosophical support of free will are consistent. Modern Vendredists point to Black's rather short scenario, where she depicts a person confronted with a mental dichotomy: the choice between the "front" or "back" seat of an automobile. Subsequently, she asks, "Gotta make my mind up. Which seat can I take?" Hence, though Black believes the result is necessarily pre-determined by the condition, she holds that a person has a cognitively verifiable effect on how that condition is determined.
Vendredism has been classified by modern epistemologists as essentially empiricist in nature. After reviewing Aristotle's thoughts on the mind's grasping of reality through the senses, Black famously declares, "I see my friends." Though Black seemingly had no issue with the mind's understanding of intangible concepts, such as when she declares that she "think[s] about fun," Black held that we must first experience "fun" before noetically grasping it. Also following from Aristotle, Black understood knowledge to be an immaterial form, and as such affirmed hylemorphism -- the dualistic nature of the Universe as a composite of matter and form. This can be easily seen when she proclaims, "I got this, you got this," implying that distinct minds can grasp the same concept through a shared form.
Black affirmed the utility of inductive reasoning; that is, inferring the truth of something through repeated examples. In her famous It's Friday, for instance, Black notes that on the basis of experiencing prior weekends after experiencing Friday, one can infer the truth of its necessity, such that one is "lookin' forward to the weekend" on Friday. In this way Black celebrates Aristotle's use of induction as the base of the sciences.
Deviating from advancements in propositional logic, Black believed that a proposition which consisted of a subject without a predicate is still cognitively meaningful. Though many Vendredists dispute Black's claim here, some still cling to this minority opinion, exemplifying this with the statement that "we we we so excited" expresses a meaningful proposition, even in the absence of the "being" predicate, which most logicians would attach to "excitement" to form a complete thought. Nevertheless, critics have repeatedly called this into question, especially in debates with vocal Vendredists such as Devin Fox.
Though Black rarely diverged from the great ancient Greek philosophers, the prominent thinker abandoned virtue ethics and instead subscribed to a form of consequentialism. In her only work on ethical theory, Black declared that the good of "fun, fun, fun, fun" intrinsically justifies "partyin, partyin, yeah." Hence Vendredistic ethics advocates egoism, as Black argues partying in proportion to one's own "fun" self-interest. Black's work in ethical theory has traditionally been thought to be her weakest, though it has a substantial following among demented teenagers.
Philosophy of time
Black's most widely-read work is, of course, in the philosophy of time. In It's Friday, Black explicitly argues for the A-theory of time, and advances several arguments supporting this position. Each of these arguments has been widely acclaimed, and, as Vendredist Patrice Wilson has noted, can be expressed as "tick tock, tick tock," noting Black's common-sense employment of our sense of the passage of time. Each of the three major arguments Black advances attempts to prove that the present moment is the only temporal reality, and that other moments, such as the past and future, do not exist in the way the present does. These three major arguments have been lauded throughout philosophical literature.
In the first few chapters of It's Friday, Black describes the patently obvious shift in our cognitive experience. She notes that "[at] seven a.m.," she "wak[es] up in the morning." Black presents this as one's self-awareness with respect to her altered mental state: an advance from mental state A, sleep, to mental state B, wakin' up in the morning. She notes that this is a change in mental states, since she was not aware of her mental state while asleep, but is aware of her mental state as she awakens. Thus she concludes that this shift in her cognitive self-awareness could not occur if there were not some process to bring her from state A to state B. Hence she concludes that the passage of time is a real phenomenon.
Next, Black argues from cognitive experience, but distinguishes the experience of passage of time based in two distinct temporal points, sleep and wakin' up in the morning, from the experience of passage of time based in only one moment. Black notes that at "7:45," she is "drivin' on the highway," and only at this moment, she "want[s] time to fly," most likely because she is engaging in the historically bad habit of letting middle schoolers drive her down the fucking interstate. However, she argues that even in a single moment, she experiences the passage of time, not because she reflects on an altered mental state between two discrete points as in her earlier thesis, but that she induces her present passage based on the continuous nature of the experience. Patrice Wilson aptly summarizes this, as mentioned earlier, "tick tock tick tock."
Easily the most famous of the three arguments Black formulates, the tensed argument for Vendredistic time infers the passage of time from the tensed nature of language. Black distinctively declares four statements that are nearly universally accepted by philosophers:
- Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
- Today it is Friday, Friday
- Tomorrow is Saturday
- And Sunday comes after ... wards
Consequently, Black defends the "tensed" nature of these propositions. She notes that "yesterday was Thursday," and that "Sunday comes aferwards" thus noting the cognitive preconception of these events as having an unreality, until the moment we experience them. Thus, all three of Black's arguments rely on our cognition, and how we experience the passage of time. Black's repeated assertion that "it's Friday," which shares the title of the work, continues to establish throughout philosophy that the present moment, "Friday," is indeed a fundamental reality.
- Black, Rebecca. I See My Friends: Perception and a Posteriori Knowledge. p. 4.
- Black, Rebecca. It's Friday: A Reassessment of the Reality of Time. p. 8.
- Fox, Devin. A History of Vendredism. p. 15
- Black, Rebecca. Gotta Go Downstairs: A New Approach to Aristotelian Motion. p. 16.
- Black, Rebecca. Which Seat Can I Take? Common Sense Free Will. p. 23.
- Black, Rebecca. You Know What It Is: Mind and Epistemology. p. 42.
- Black, Rebecca. We So Excited: A Critique of Propositional Logic. p. 4.
- Wilson, Patrice. The Ark Music Introduction to Symbolic Logic. p. 8.
- Black, Rebecca. Partyin: Consequentialist Normative Ethics for a Modern Civilization. p. 15.
- Wilson, Patrice. Check My Time, It's Friday: In Support of Rebecca Black. p. 16.