josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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28 Mar '06 10:41:16 AM

'On mathematics: "Your concept is wrong. - However, I cannot illumine the mater by fighting against your words, but only by trying to turn your attention away from certain expressions, illustrations, images, and towards the employment of the words."'

28 Mar '06 10:39:43 AM

'(The philosopher is not a citizen of any community of ideas. That is what makes him into a philosopher.)'

28 Mar '06 10:30:47 AM

'In philosophizing we may not terminate a disease of thought. It must run its natural course, and slow cure is all important. (That is why mathematicians are such bad philosophers.)'

22 Mar '06 07:24:09 AM

'I'd rather have my exuberance affirmed'...

20 Mar '06 05:06:06 AM

'Popeye is still very much alive in oral tradition, but for some reason he chiefly features in verses which are obscene.'

- Iona and Peter Opie, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren

20 Mar '06 04:48:59 AM

Critics are not the only critics.

20 Mar '06 04:36:56 AM

(The author appears to take his own words to mind: 'The 'Contents' list of any great didactic work, such as the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Ethics of Spinoza, or the Ecclesiastical Polity of Hooker, will admirably illustrate this skeleton structure.')

20 Mar '06 04:24:13 AM

Sometimes I like to think carefully about the contents page of a book. Some are more useful than others (some, because the works they introduce already have a more schematic structure):

Introduction
Prose and Poetry - pure prose - interest.

Part I: Composition

I Words
Quality - sound - echo - onomatopoeia - alliteration - association - congruity - suggestion - use and disuse - jargon - affectation.

II Epithets
Appropriateness - necessity - complexity - metaphorical overtones.

III Metaphor and Other Figures of Speech
Limited function in prose - simple comparison - simile - analogy - illumination and decoration - riddles - kennings - other types of periphrasis - personification.

IV The Sentence
Its unity - construction - order of words - the period - balance - punctuation - rhythm - the aphorism.

V The Paragraph
Unity - liveliness - dignity - rhythm - configuration.

VI Arrangement
Instinctive: the essay - required effect - exordium.
Constructional: scaffolding - the novel.

Part II: Rhetoric

VII Exposition
Reasoning - arrangement of ideas - emotional bias - system.

VIII Narrative
Active and passive - visual actuality - speed - concreteness - trimness - history - biography - travel.

IX Fantasy (Fancy)
Imagination and Fancy - objectivity and arbitrariness - the fairy tale - utopias - possibilities of fantasy.

X Imagination or Invention
Primary and secondary imagination - romanticism and classicism - decoration - duration - density.

XI Impressionism
Sensation or emotion plus thought - intuition - emotion and rhythm - simulated moods - mysticism - sincerity - empathy - the interior monologue.

XII Expressionism
Idiosyncracy - sensibility - sentimentality - humours - fluidity.

XIII Eloquence
Elegance - wit - irony - words and ideas - the theme - false eloquence - persuasion - character.

XIV Unity
Unity and predominating passion - the strain of address - taste - corporate sense - pattern - discipline - uniformity - universality.

20 Mar '06 04:11:51 AM

'Comparable devices are used in military operation orders, where absolute precision of meaning is a matter of life or death.'

(Preceding, not quoted: the end of the sixes in the Tractatus, given as an example in which 'the logical structure is indicated by a system of paragraphing accompanied by an enumeration'.)