Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Language and Truth

Reading China Miéville's latest book, Embassytown, one has the gruesome thought that Ursula Le Guin and Jack Vance have decided to play a terrible joke by sending young Miéville a bunch of the naughtiest linguistic ideas ever and letting him run wild.

What if language could only express truth as perceived by a sentient biological mind (how ever defined)? There are enormous consequences — for a start, you could use successful communication as a test for sentience of the biological sort, or for mind. And you would be able to trust any language-based communication too.

The idea is so large it boggles the mind. Wittgenstein would have risen from his grave to see this happening.


Quote of the day: "It made sense that they would try. It would have been an elegant imperial manoeuvre. Counter-revolution through language pedagogy and bureaucracy."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been through it a coupla times now, plus a few repeated segments. It's been such a great sem thinking about these and doing a coupla linguistics classes and a philosophy class about vagueness and referencing.

Monday, November 04, 2013 7:36:00 pm  

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