[lit-ideas] Re: What a day! Context is everything

  • From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2012 11:14:15 +0900

The relation between propositional content and context is intriguing. Is it
ever possible to have one without the other? I think, just brainstorming
mind you, of the recent discussion of saying versus showing. I wonder if
it's ever possible to say without showing. Consider mathematical
abstraction. Does anything happen in abstraction that requires more than
creating a special context in which only the abstracted propositional
content is highlighted, the equivalent of focusing a lens with minimal
depth of field? Can ambiguity be accounted for as a state in which the
relevant showing required to make the proposition pop into focus has not
yet been supplied?



On Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 6:12 AM, Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Donal wrote
>  That the court noted [without citing Robert Paul] 'context is
>> everything' was reported elsewhere:
>> http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/**2012/jul/27/twitter-joke-**
>> trial-high-court<http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jul/27/twitter-joke-trial-high-court>
>> Personally, I would advise anyone to heed the words of warning from the
>> lawyer at the end of the report. Courts need quite some context to
>> accept that something was just a joke: certainly those who tried to run
>> a 'just a joke' defence, for inciting others to riot on social media,
>> last year received short shrift. And in a case some twenty years it was
>> held that while not giving your name at all could not be regarded as
>> 'obstructing the police in the course of their duty' (where the police
>> asked for it in the course of their duty), it was obstruction if you
>> answered 'Micky Mouse' (and your name was not Micky Mouse). The High
>> Court did not make clear whether this result is because 'Micky Mouse' is
>> a name of extant persons (and so might not obviously be a joke) or
>> simply isn't funny enough.
> From a 2004 SCOTUS ruling
> 'Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004),
> held that statutes requiring suspects to disclose their names during police
> investigations did not violate the Fourth Amendment if the statute first
> required reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement.
> Under the rubric of Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the minimal intrusion
> on a suspect's privacy, and the legitimate need of law enforcement officers
> to quickly dispel suspicion that an individual is engaged in criminal
> activity, justified requiring a suspect to disclose his name.
> 'The Court also held that the identification requirement did not violate
> Hiibel's Fifth Amendment rights because he had no reasonable belief that
> his name would be used to incriminate him; however, the Court left open the
> possibility that Fifth Amendment privilege might apply in a situation where
> there was a reasonable belief that giving a name could be incriminating.'
> No mention of giving a false name, e.g. Donal Trump, to a constable. As
> for the 'law of contexts,' see Paul v. Anscombe, Nebraska CR0W0416
> A1396Z5, in which it was held that 'I'd like a cup of mud,' uttered in a
> crowded theater, needed no Anscombian context in order to have sense, and
> that those passages in Intention, which held that it did, were themselves
> null, void, and part of das Mystische. [See Mutton College Law Journal,
> vol. 35, number 7 Jan 1998]
> Robert Paul
> Mutton College
> Sheepskin, Nebraska
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John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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