[lit-ideas] Re: Trapped in the Basement of Language

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2012 16:07:51 -0700

18. Do not be troubled by the fact that languages (2) and (8) consist only of orders. If you want to say that this shews them to be incomplete, ask yourself whether our language is complete;---whether it was so before the symbolism of chemistry and the notation of the infinitesimal calculus were incorporated in it; for these are, so to speak, suburbs of our language. (And how many houses or streets does it take before a town begins to be a town?) Our language can be seen as an ancient city: a maze of little streets and squares, of old and new houses, and of houses with additions from various periods; and this surrounded by a multitude of new boroughs with straight regular streets and uniform houses.

In a message dated 10/2/2011 12:42:59  P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx  writes:
I  don't relate to language intellectually as most philosophers seem to.
I'm  much more attracted to the ways that words in combination awaken worlds
in  us.  The basement of language -- linguistic philosophy?

---- R. Paul should be able to expand (as to what he meant,
metaphorically). For Grice, metaphors are falsities, so 'basement of language'  
involves a category mistake (Grice's example, "You are the cream in my
coffee" -- hardly used literally, Grice notes).

A house is not a home. A basement is not an attic. Perhaps linguistic
philosophy is the right expression. There are other metaphors usually used (sic)
  with lingo: berths, deep berths of language (Grice uses), 'seas of
language'  Kripke uses (and Dummett acknowledges). The fact of 'being trapped' 
is a
  resolution by R. Paul of Witters's (Wittgenstein's) point about 'language
on  holiday', betwitched by language. Trapped without a key, he means.

Witters said that a language is like an old city (I think he meant
Amsterdam): where you get lost easily. Unlike Washington, DC, say. This he said 

Finally, back to Geary's point about linguistic philosophy. The idea indeed
  that the philosopher's job is to demistify (if that's a verb) the
_categorial_  structure of lingo. Grice and many others (e.g. Sapir and his 
'lover',  Whorf) thought that this categorial structure reflects a deeper
ontological if  not cognitive structure.

"Sometime", sometimes, all time, all times, no time, every time, etc. all
reflect ways -- hence R. Paul's point that while both 'sometime' and
'sometimes'  (sic) are BOTH adverbial, he still feels trapped in the basement of
language, by  which he meant English (rather than Latin, where 'sometimes' is
untranslatable  -- cfr. modern Italian).



   -- from the Open Loggia of Language, overlooking IT

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