Is languageness the essence of language?
By the same token, black-ravenness is the essence of black ravens (cfr.
Reichenbach, "All blacks are raven -- except albino ones.")
In a message dated 1/17/2016 12:39:11 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
"The Popper-Buehler functions of language are non-essentialist in several
Or ways, as I prefer. Usually, there are two senses: spin and anti-spin,
while ways are almost infinite: the four cardinal points, N, S, E, and W, and
all their combos.
McEvoy goes on
"An interesting aspect of the Popper-Buehler thesis is that it takes the
only function of language that is necessarily always present - the expressive
function - as a trivial or trite aspect of language, and not "essential"
in that its presence reveals anything deep about linguistic function [as
Popper explains, even a clock or a burp must "express its own state", and so
any use of language must be expressive in this sense]. In other words, only
the very lowest function of language is essential and it is not essential
in any way that reveals anything interesting about the nature of language -
rather it is essential because (as a metaphysical and supra-linguistic
truth) 'objects' cannot help expressing their own state."
Actually, Grice claims that
i. Grice burps.
can be simulated. I.e. Grice can FAKE a burp -- ("In some Eastern cultures,
a burp is simulated to signal that you liked the food you were offered."
He was a very travelled man).
Geary refers to this as the 'implicature' of a burp.
"This Popper-Buehler thesis is supplemented by Popper's theory of W3,
where it is the vital function of language to access W3 content - but this
vital function is not an 'essence' but a contingent and emergent metaphysical
fact (that emerged from complex W1 and W2 interactions, mediated by 'natural
"Vital" must be metaphorical. Only living beings have vital properties, and
surely Shakespeare is dead, but what he wrote is linguistic. To say that
Shakespeare's language has a 'vital' function Shakespeare may find it
metaphorical enough to include it in one of his love sonnets to the Earl of
Southampton (who loved a simile, alas).
To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html