This is a conversation my friends and I had a couple of years ago on the question of whether a hot dog counts as a sandwich; the question of a hot dog's sandwichness continues to reappear online occasionally (recent example: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/07/19/correction-hot-dog-not-sandwich/489349001), so I thought I'd post this here to immortalize our significant contribution to the debate.
Ryan: G., an interesting question came up on the Daily Show the other day
Issue: Does a hotdog count as a sandwich?
Star: It's pretty much just a subway sandwich. But the meat is tubular
Ryan: More generally, what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for something being a sandwich?
Star: I think necessary is just something on bread
You can have lettuce sandwiches
Doctor G: Necessary condition: some food item must be sandwiched between another food item
Star: You can have an open-faced sandwich
Doctor G: or sandwiched between food ITEMS
Star: That’s still no account for open face
Doctor G: Okay: it must be possible to sandwich the food item that sits atop the other food item
Star: Can you explain it without the verb “sandwich” ?
Ryan: I never understood open faced sandwiches
Doctor G: An open face sandwich is just a sandwiched that hasn't been closed yet
Ryan: I don't think they're sandwiches at all
Star: G has a point
Ryan: It’s just a useful term
Star: Open implies they can be closed
Ryan: It's like saying a bachelor is a husband that just hasn't been married yet
Doctor G: Not sure about hotdogs
I don't think so, though
Ryan: Like, eggs on toast would qualify as an open faced sandwich, wouldn't it?
But eggs on toast isn't a goddamn sandwich
Doctor G: Agreed.
The open face sandwich is just a sandwich that's been opened
Ryan: Hmmm, interesting
Star: How many degrees do we have?
Doctor G: Hahaha
Star: Now we have more!
Ryan just got another
Ryan: Yeah I guess you can take a sandwich apart, and then put it back together, and each part will count as one side of the sandwich
Doctor G: Oh yeah, congrats on that!
Ryan: It's almost like there's some Ship of Theseus/teleporter-identity shit going on with a sandwich that's been taken apart
Taking a sandwich apart can't annihilate it entirely
Ryan: It's still a sandwich
It's the sandwich paradox:
-Eggs on toast is not a sandwich, but maybe if you put another piece of bread on top it would become one.
-And what happens if you then subsequently remove the new top piece of toast?
(1) Eggs on toast != a sandwich
(2) Eggs on toast + extra slice toast = sandwich
Then what about
(3) (Eggs on toast + extra slice added at t1) minus the extra slice at later t2 == ??
Is the result a divided sandwich, or does it revert to being mere eggs on toast?
We should all co-author a paper
Star: Yes. I was just thinking that exact thing
Ryan: The Sandwich Paradox, publish it in Analysis
Doctor G: If you subsequently remove the top piece, you've simply removed the top piece of your sandwich and are left with a sandwich without the top piece
This sort of example illustrates the futility of trying to figure out necessary and sufficient conditions for our concepts
Wittgenstein was right (as usual)
Star: That bastard
Star: So, J (associate at the firm) says that though it's true that a hot dog meets the necessary conditions of food stuff between other food stuffs, no one would ask you if you wanted a sandwich, and then upon an affirmative response hand you a hot dog.
She also adds that bread is a necessary condition because when it's not bread it is always indicated as such
So something between bread, is necessary, but not sufficient
A lettuce sandwich is a pseudo sandwich
It's gotta be a food item between bread
Doctor G: Hahaha
I wonder, though, if the concept of a sandwich is malleable enough that a legit sandwich can be made without bread
Star: I don't think so
Doctor G: Does it have to be bread? as opposed to a bun? Or is a bun a kind of bread?
Star: I think if someone offered you a sandwich, and then handed you one with lettuce, you’d be like where the fuck is the bread?
Bun is bread
Doctor G: Hmm... Yes, bun is bread
I was hmming about the non-bread sandwich
Star: I know
Doctor G: But here's a head scratcher: if I asked for a sandwich and someone gave me a burger, I'd be amused
Doctor G: We go for sandwiches and we go for burgers...and when someone says 'let's get a sandwich', we never think 'Ah, burger.'
Star: When someone says let's go for a burger you don't think "Ah, sandwich."
Doctor G: If I cut up a hot dog and put it between two slices of bread, I've made a sandwich
But if I put a whole hot dog in a hot dog bun, I've made a hot dog
Doctor G: If I cut up a hot dog and put it in a hot dog bun, do I still have a hot dog?
Star: I'm not sure
Doctor G: No, it seems that shape is relevant to the status of a hot dog
We ought to write a paper
Star: I think so but am trying to come up with a way to argue it is still a hot dog
For instance, if I put the pieces back in the bun so that they were glued back together with ketchup and mustard, I'd say that's still a hot dog
Doctor G: A hot dog is made with a particular meat (hot dog meat); not so for sandwiches, which can be made with any meat or any foodstuff
Star: There's no such thing as hot dog meat. The traditional ones are made of pig parts I think.
And then now you have different ones, but when not pig they specify; chicken hot dogs, bean hot dogs etc.
I think it's the wiener that makes it a hot dog. Hahah wiener
If you take out the wiener and put in anything not shaped like that, it's just a long sandwich
Ryan: I dunno if that's true; I think it would just be food in a hotdog bun, not a sandwich
Star: I think it's a sandwich using a hot dog bun, like a small sub
But it's definitely not a hot dog
Ryan: I guess that's a question on its own
Now I'm suspicious that a sandwich can be made from a hot dog bun at all, which would preclude your standard hot dog from being a sandwich ■