RE: MD food for thought

From: Erin Noonan (
Date: Sun Sep 15 2002 - 03:53:21 BST

Hi Scott,

George wants an apple.
An apple is wanted by George.

I don't know why George would be considered the topic more then the apple.
We talk in the first form because George is the subject and
an apple is the object and English is Subject-verb-object language.

I do have Barfield on my list to read but this list is growing
so fast each day don't know when I will get to it.

I think it is possible that Homer didn't have concepts of
subject and object. It's just that having it is not really
a historical thing to me as much as a personal development.
I can imagine some educated elite individuals having it
during Homer's time. I guess I am not comfortable completely ruling
it out as a privilege of our times just yet.


>A correction: our grammar is subject/predicate based, not subject/object
>based. The grammar fulfills the general pragmatic function of first
>stating the topic (or subject) to be discussed, and then saying
>something about it (the comment or predicate). (In other words,
>different meanings of the word "subject" (and "object").)
>But on philosophical subjects and objects, I read somewhere that the
>first philosophic use of the terms "subjective" and "objective" (or
>there Greek equivalents) was among the Stoics, i.e., post-Aristotle, and
>read somewhere else (I need a better filing system) that the locus of
>the two switched between medieval times and ours, that is, the objective
>was ideational, the subjective phenomenal.
>And, of course, my oft-mentioned Barfield gives a well-argued thesis
>contrary to your thoughts about Homer having any concepts like "subject"
>and "object", and couldn't have, since consciousness didn't evolve into
>subject/object form until later.
>- Scott
>Erin Noonan wrote:
>> Our whole grammar depends on 'subject's and 'objects" but
>> volition is more of a 'nuance meaning'.
>> I think it is unclear whether Artistotle had the concept
>> of volition without the exact term.
>> It reminds me of when there isn't an exact translation
>> for a word in a foreign language. To explain this word
>> sometimes people will give a short anecdote to what this
>> word means. The person gets the word without having a term
>> for it. Do they have that concept? I don't know, I can
>> see how you would argue both ways.
>> the subject and object is more then just nuance terms to me
>> they are how our brain is cutting up reality.
>> Although I am thinking what you say is true it still just
>> doesn't suprise me that Homer doesn't use these terms.
>> How many modern novels of fiction use those terms in their
>> writing? I guess i still see it just being an implicit assumption
>> that doesn't really get talked about until modern day fields
>> that exam this assumption.
>> erin
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