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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14 Apr '06 08:39:08 AM

'In all three cases, the audience is clearly indicated. Rousseau addresses those who have entertained the attacks on him by philosophes as important as David Hume. Newman tells us that he addresses the charges of Charles Kingsley, answering anyone who believes in those charges. Adams admits that his book, privately printed under no author's name, is for a narrow circle of Americans capable of entertaining his dark views. None of these men addresses humankind in general. They have specific people in mind, and they speak directly to them. Augustine, by contrast, does not address any human person. He has an audience of one - God. The entire book is a prayer to him - a point he keeps before his (and our) mind by frequent apostrophe to "Lord" or "God" or "Lord God" or "God my Lord." His language often has the form of liturgical incantation, and the narrative is arranged according to his theological concepts. When he reflects on the fact that his prayer is being taken down by scribes (10.3-6), it is only to remark that all men's testimony to God (by word or act) is observable by others, for their own edification, disgust, or self-examination. In The Teacher 2, he notes that those who recite psalms in church are praying to God, though they are also reminding each other of God's role in their life. "My heart's fellow will love in me what you, Lord, tell us is lovable, deplore in me what you tell us is deplorable" (10.5).

It is hard to take seriously enough the nature of the book as prayer. This sets it off from autobiographies, and answers the principal objection made to it, those having to do with its structure, veracity, and unity.'

14 Apr '06 07:33:46 AM

'It is a way of saying, I want you, too, to have this experience, so that we are more alike, so that we are closer, bound together, sharing a point of view - so that we are "coming from the same place."'

14 Apr '06 07:06:26 AM

'There is the city, there is the country. There is the capital, there is the province. Apparently the problem in the mother country is the same. Let us take a Lyonnais in Paris: he boasts of the quiet of his city, the intoxicating beauty of the quays of the Rhône, the splendor of the plane trees, and all those other things that fascinate people who have nothing to do.'

11 Apr '06 07:16:31 PM

My favorite bay area (yay area) slang, today:


11 Apr '06 06:25:32 PM

'I'll make the sun come out in the middle of a hurricane.'

28 Mar '06 10:43:18 AM

'The treatment of all these phenomena of mental life is not of importance to me because I am keen on completeness. Rather because each one casts light on the correct treatment of all.'

28 Mar '06 10:42:36 AM

'The pedigree of psychological concepts: I strive not after exactness, but after a synoptic view.'

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.)'