[lit-ideas] Re: Interpretation and Elision

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2005 22:13:06 -0600

O woe! how parochial has become our philosophy! Mental states indeed! What became of the universe in a grain of sand? Of infinite space in a nutshell? Why the philosophers got hold of it all, that's what. Fie, fie on philosophy. Give me but a blade of grass and I'll not ask for reasons why. Never mind that the next time Mount St. Helens blows there might not be any Sitka spruce left anywhere (assuming it really, really blows, like in Wow!). And just because Robert Paul can't see the "logical relations between snow's being white, and my arm's being bent when I touch my nose with the tip of my finger" doesn't mean there is none, it means merely that he's still stuck on the elephant's trunk. There are more things, Horatio, etc., etc. I really do hate philosophers. Have I mentioned that lately? That goes for you too, Phil Enns, not to mention Mike Chase and Richard Henninge and all future philosophers such as Erin Holder. Fie on you all. Talk to me, Andy.

Mike Geary
understanding the universe in Memphis





----- Original Message ----- From: "Robert Paul" <robert.paul@xxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 9:10 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Interpretation and Elision



Mike Geary wrote:

Or, expanding on Eric's thought, isn't every statement, perhaps even every thought, an exclusion of the whole truth?

The whole truth about what? he wondered.

Shouldn't every thought include the universe itself, the universe in which it is nestled and only within which it truly has any meaning?

Some of us think that thoughts are mental events, and that the universe is mostly the other kind of stuff, no matter how far out you go. And some outlaw band of us thinks that Brentano was right when he noted that mental states (including thoughts) are of, or about something. My thought of Mount St. Helens is about Mount St. Helens, not about The World's Tallest Sitka Spruce. And, even if he wasn't right, we believe that material things like those just mentioned are not about anything. (Marx wasn't wrong because the true Revolution didn't happen; he was wrong from the start, because there are no logical relations between objects and states of affairs.)


> Every interpretation carries the baggage of the whole universe.

So, he wondered further how interpretations, which are thoughts, expressed in words or other noises carry this baggage, seein' as how it's doubtful that there are logical relations between snow's being white, and my arm's being bent when I touch my nose with the tip of my finger: I mean, the stuff in the universe doesn't carry it—why should my thoughts about and interpretations of interpretable things carry it?

Robert Paul
amazed at the simplicity of it all
Reed College
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