Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I spy with my little eye an 'I'

From the SJGames forum.

I would continue to assert that language structure still affects thought, at least in terms of patterns of reasoning. Furthermore, there are certain assumptions inherent in language that prefigure modes of philisophical speculation and discourse. Indeed, much of academic philosophy these days is an attempt to move philosophy beyond the strictures imposed by language, or to open up language so that it can better serve the needs of philosphy.

One of the more basic problems is that language is capable of formulating questions that can't be answered by philosophy, science, or art. Mostly because the language makes assumptions that aren't necesarilly logically required. "Who made the sky?" is a well formed utterance in English, but humans have spent 6,000+ years chasing the answer, mostly without asking themselves if it makes any logical sense.

Most Indo-European languages assume that every verb has an explicit or implied subject; that every action has something that performs that action. But that's not necessarily the case in 'objective reality', at least it's hard to prove that is the case. Does 'making' require a 'maker'? And if not, then what happens to poor DesCartes when 'thinking' (or 'doubting' to be more accurate) doesn't require a 'thinker' or a 'doubter'?

Neitzsche has gone on at some lengths on this topic, of course.

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1 comment:

Doc Anne said...

From the other side, aren't there experienced for which there are no words? Can one truly describe a completely transcendent experience? I don't have words to adequately describe the feeling of seeing your newborn for the first time. All the words you might use don't quite contain the 'meaning' the experience includes. There are other episodes in life that can't be painted with words. Perhaps that is why we have visual arts?