Re: MD On Faith+understanding (Rorty/Bhaskar)

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Date: Mon Oct 25 2004 - 23:15:28 BST

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    Hello Chris:

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Chris Vlaar" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Monday, October 25, 2004 6:59 AM
    Subject: Re: MD On Faith+understanding (Rorty/Bhaskar)

    > Hi David:
    > On Sun, 24 Oct 2004 12:46:45 +0100,

    David Morey (earlier):
    > Often the teacher will be able to tell the student that they
    > > have the wrong interpretation
    > > from the generally accepted one and will try to guide them towards
    making a
    > > new leap until
    > > if they are lucky they get it. This seems to be the dynamic component
    > > relating to the individual
    > > with respect to attaining what we otherwise may look on as
    > > structures
    > > of meaning.
    > Chris:
    > In my opinion this has nothing to with a dynamic component - what is a
    > dynamic component anyway? - relating to the individual, all the more
    > likely is it, to me, and some others, that this has everything to do
    > with the 'dynamic nature' of words itself: everytime we use a word it
    > has a different meaning, some analytical philosophers such as Searle
    > believe that texts have a fixed meaning and we have access to it, or
    > that names 'rigidly designate' (Kripke), or that words in general
    > 'refer' to something in the world, this seems a fundamental
    > misunderstanding of what language is, and is based on the idea that we
    > are the 'father of language', or that words are somehow an instrument
    > freely for us to use.

    You have made an interesting pivot from the process of
    discovery in an individual to the meaning in language.
    Hopefully language successfully carries an interpretation
    of the meaning which generates a statement or larger
    unit of structure, paragraph...etc. However, an author's
    use of language is a highly dependent thing, as you've
    pointed out, but apprehension of meaning so mediated is
    ever so more so by the student.

    Odd last point though...regardless of who fathered language,
    we ARE free to use the instrument howsoever we choose.
    Like Miles or Dizzy with their instruments, we can riff-the-shit
    out of language and often do.

    Think of the language use by poets, physicists, psycho-babblers,
    marketers, politicians, children, and pedants...very different

    > David:
    > 'Bhaskar also points out the realist assumption that there is an
    > undivided/
    > uninterpreted real world to which we relate our interpretations and will
    > either fit or
    > resist our interpretations'

    > Chris:
    > This point Baker makes sounds plausible, but I am not too sure whether
    > this world he mentions is somehow undivided, and if so, how to say
    > something about this undivided world; rather, to me it seems, it is
    > the present 'structure' of language that hinders fundamental changes.
    > This is not a FIXED structure but more like a varying paradigm. A
    > paradigm which cannot be SUBJECTed to change, but is nevertheless
    > changing - much like inflation.
    > I don't know if this makes any sense to you?

    Language can only communicate to the extent of sufficient
    shared experience for it to refer to. That very dependency
    must resist TOO MUCH change or connotation fails. It is
    not structure that hinders, but usage/experience.

    We use language, each of us, from our own point of view
    in the universe NOW. Ten minutes later, much of that
    matters little. Whether the world is undivided or it is
    uninterpreted, or its converse, is in some ways less
    important than the change of our point of view.

    The paradigm of A language can me subjected to change,
    albeit by process rather than intent. As a relevant aside,
    years ago a Japanese student who specialized in
    interpreting old text and letters in Japanese explained an
    interesting effect of processes of change from Perry opening
    Japan and accellerated post WW-II.

    Letters written by the current generation's grandparents or
    great-grandparents are often incomprehensible to the modern
    Japanese mind. They often appear as random, unrelated
    observation with strange circularity and oblique referents.

    This student was raised by his grandparents and so from
    the cradle absorbed the "old Japanese mind." He also did
    attend modern schools and absorbed the modern way of
    thought. At school he discovered this phenomenon when
    he could explain to his fellow students what the content was
    in their letters from those older relatives.

    He later made a career out of "Saving what would be lost" in
    writings of the period from 1865 to present by that unremarked
    change in the use of language.

    Modern Japanese has become comparatively more
    concrete and techno-driven than the social poetry of old.


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