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"Disputes about words belong rather to grammarians than philosophers, but philosophers ought not to escape censure when they corrupt a language, by using words in a way which the purity of language will not admit" (Thomas Reid, EIP, I, 11).

(I hear Eliot in this: "to purify the language of the tribe.")
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"To expect sense from two mentalities of such extreme viewpoints would not be logical" --Spock, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.
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"This thing you call language: you depend on it for so very much, but is anyone ever really its master?" --Spock as Kollos the Medusan
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“In this box are all the words I know,’ he said. “Most of them you will never need, some of them you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions that have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is use them well and in the right places” --King Azaz the Unabridged in The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, 98-99.


Nov. 24th, 2014 01:47 am
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"Do you know what lights remind me of? They remind me of all the people in the world waiting for other people to come to them."

I've always thought so. Including LEDs on radios, because radios are somehow oceanic.

Kate (played by Rita Tushingham) in The Girl with Green Eyes (1964).
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I'd forgotten that Austin said anything like this. (How could I have?!)

"Although it will not do to force actual language to accord with some preconceived model, it equally will not do, having discovered the facts about 'ordinary usage' to rest content with that, as though there were nothing more to be discussed and discovered. There may be plenty that might happen and does happen which would need new and better language to describe it in. Very often philosophers are only engaged on this task, when they seem to be perversely using words in a way which makes no sense according to 'ordinary language.' There may be extraordinary facts, even about our everyday experience, which plain men and plain language overlook" (J.L. Austin, "The Meaning of a Word").

That might as well be my motto.


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