[lit-ideas] Re: America's Greatest Word

  • From: jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2011 13:29:08 -0500

McEvoy goes American and writes:

"the concept of 'ok' is arguably not a very precise one compared with '3',
usually conveying a meaning that achieves only o.k. levels of precision"

He is having in mind Tarski:

"Snow is white is true" iff snow is white.

"This is ok" iff this is ok.

Alla Tarski, "A semantic conception of truth", originally published in Polish -- and cited by Popper, as "one of the best papers in philosophy, by a Polish logician, of all people".

"ok" is ok.


A: Do you like it?
B: It is ok.

A: Did you like it.
B: It was ok.

"The food of ok"

Unlike "dead", "ok" allows for adverbial modification, adjectival modification:

"The food was _just_ ok"

(cfr. the oddity, "He is just dead").

----- In general, "ok" should not be used metalinguistically. A teacher is not expected to grade her students´s papers with "OK". It should not be used by politicians, either.

Grice proposed a formal logic for "ok" statements, but he lost that paper.


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