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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18 Jun '04 10:19:30 AM

'Because philosophy is good for nothing, it is not yet outmoded.'

17 Jun '04 09:51:43 AM

Pac was born on Bloomsday!

17 Jun '04 07:27:58 AM

'You bid me rouse myself. Go, bid a man paralytic in both arms rub them briskly together, and that will cure him. Alas! (he would reply) that I cannot move my arms is my complaint.'

15 Jun '04 07:30:21 AM

'To provide the right background for the genuine change that Schleiermacher makes in the history of hermeneutics, let us consider a point which Schleiermacher himself does not and which, since Schleiermacher, has totally disappeared from the sphere of hermeneutics (its absence curiously narrows Dilthey's historical interest in the history of hermeneutics); nevertheless, it in fact dominates the problem of hermeneutics and must be taken into account if we are to understand Schleiermacher's place in its history. We begin with this proposition: "to understand means to come to an understanding with each other" (sich miteinander verstehen). Understanding is, primarily, agreement (Verständnis ist zunächst Einverständnis). Thus people usually understand (verstehen) each other immediately, or they make themselves understood (verständigen sich) with a view toward reaching agreement (Einverständnis). Coming to an understanding (Verständigung), then, is always coming to an understanding about something. Understanding each other (sich verstehen) is always understanding each other with respect to something. From language we learn that the subject matter (Sache) is not merely an arbitrary object of discussion, independent of the process of mutual understanding (Sichverstehen), but rather is the path and goal of mutual understanding itself. And if two people understand each other independently of any topic, then this means that they understand each other not only in this or that respect, but in all essential things that unite human beings. Understanding becomes a special task only when natural life, this joint meaning of the meant where both intend a common subject matter, is disturbed. Where misunderstandings have arisen or where an expression of opinion alienates us because it is unintelligible, there natural life in the subject matter intended is impeded in such a way that the meaning is given as the opinion of another, the opinion of the Thou or of the text, or in general as a fixed datum. And even then in general one attempts to reach a substantive agreement - not just sympathetic understanding of the other person - and this in such a way that one again proceeds via the subject matter. Only if all these movements comprising the art of conversation - argument, question and answer, objection and refutation, which are undertaken in regard to a text as an inner dialogue of the soul seeking understanding - are in vain is the inquiry detoured. Only then does the effort of understanding become aware of the individuality of the Thou and take account of his uniqueness. If we are dealing with a foreign language, the text will already be the object of a grammatical, linguistic interpretation, but that is only a preliminary condition. The real problem of understanding obviously arises when, in the endeavor to understand the content of what is said, the reflective question arises: how did he come to such an opinion? For this kind of question reveals an alienness that is clearly of a quite different kind and ultimately signifies a renunciation of shared meaning.'

12 Jun '04 05:11:29 AM

"That's Armenian for 'oh, shit'."

11 Jun '04 01:38:29 PM

Hey, nobody told me that Elvin died!

10 Jun '04 06:30:16 PM

(And the French.)

10 Jun '04 06:23:22 PM

I suppose it figures that the lyrics to 'International Colouring Contest' are so clear: as if by having a 'weird' theme they thought it was safe to come out from behind the cooing.

8 Jun '04 11:14:05 AM

Ray says that I am of the majority opinion (concerning Lost in Translation), and notes the well-established narrative convention of the autobiographical protagonist who is forecast a brilliant future.

1. I did like the movie, and I thought it was 'good' - or maybe I should say I 'thought it was good' - but my reactions to movies especially (other art forms too, though, depending) tend to be very hermetic.

2. I'm not sure how important the 'autobiographical' part was supposed to be. The people who seem to make a fuss about it are the ones who didn't like the movie, and when they bring it up it always seems as if they do so only so that they can sneer at the fact that the director enjoyed privilege.

3. I thought the scene in question (where Bob forecasts Charlotte's brilliant future) was played with a clear understanding (on our part, and on the characters' parts) of the existence of the convention, not just as an artistic convention, either, but a conversational, interpersonal, ethical one. It was the way it was played that I took to indicate how much faith Bob had in Charlotte's abilities. Or, well, not her abilities. But talking as they had been about whether or not life gets any better, or easier, he was in no position to assure her, given his own unsettled life.