On Language

The Mind Map

Content:

Language

 

1 The understanding of lanaguage

1.1 The principles of reasoning in language and Circular reasoning

1.1a The proof

1.1b Induction

1.1c Absurdity

1.1d Truth

2 Relativity and Perssuasion

2.1 Expose the unsoundness of Dogmas 

2.2 Relativity

2.2a Relativity in dogmas

2.2b Relativity in soul

2.2c Relativity in sense

2.2d Relativity in space

2.2e Relativity in purity

2.2f Relativity in beauty

2.2g Relativity in sign

2.2h Relativity in time

2.2i Relativity in human conceptions

2.3 To Believe in disbelief

2.3a Inexistence of teaching

2.3b Inexistence of existence

2.3c Inexistence of God

2.3d Inexistence of Time

2.3e To conclude

3 Rethoric

3.1 How to speak properly

3.2 How to give weight

3.2a Maxim

3.2b Metaphor

3.2c Topic

3.2d Euthymeme

3.3 Examples of perssuasive premisses

3.3a Truth

3.3b There is no falsehood

3.3c Contradiction

4 Arts

4.1 Poetry

4.2 People in action

4.3 Representation

4.4 Beauty

4.5 Tragedy

4.6 Othe improvisations

4.7 The story

4.7a The length 

4.7b Audience

4.8 Comedy

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Language

1 The understanding of lanaguage

‘Does P exist? What is P? What kind of thing is P? (...) ‘ If they are coloured, we have informed you about them.’ ‘ My ears say: ‘If they made any sound, we were responsible for telling you.’ My nostrils say: ‘If they gave off any odour, they passed our way. ‘ The sense of taste also says: ‘If they are tasteless, do not ask me.’ Touches says: ‘If the object is not physical, I have no contact with it, and if I have no contact, I have no information to give on the subject.’ Then how did these matters enter my memory? I do not know how. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.189)

The answer must be that they were already in the memory, but so remote and pushed into the background, as if in most secret caverns, that unless they were dug out by someone drawing attention to them, perhaps I could not have thought of them. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.189)

Moreover, the memory contains the innumerable principles and laws of numbers and dimensions. None of them has been impressed on memory through any bodily sense-perception. They give out no sound or odour. They cannot be tasted or touched. I have heard the sounds of the words which signify these things when they are the subject of discussion. But the sounds are one thing, the principles another. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.190)

1.1 The principles of reasoning in language and Circular reasoning

1.1a The proof

So, then, proof ought to be an argument which is deductive and true and has a non-evident conclusion which is discovered by the potency of the premises: and because of this, proof is defined as “an argument which by means of agreed premises discovers by way of deduction a non-evident inference”. It is in these terms, then, that are in the habit of expanding the concept of proof. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 143)

Consequently, proof will also be unreal; for it is conceived together with the act of proving, and were if not apprehended it would be unable to prove. Wherefore will not exist. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 157)

So that if proof is defined as “ an argument which by deduction, that is conclusively, reveals a non-evident inference by means of certain premises agreed to be true”, while we have shown that there exists no argument either conclusive by means of evident premises or serves to reveals its conclusion, - then it is apparent that proof is without real existence. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 153)

1.1b Induction

But if they review some, the induction will be insecure, since some of the particulars omitted in the induction may contravene the universal; while if they are to review all, they will be foiling at the impossible since the particulars are infinite and indefinite. Thus on both grounds, as I think, the consequence is that induction is invalidated. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 164)

1.1c Absurdity

So whenever such an argument is propounded to use we shall suspend judgment regarding each premise, and when finally the whole argument is propounded we shall draw what conclusion we approve. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 182)

Shall he, then affirm the truth of the proof adopted to establish the criterion after having judged if or without judging it? If without judging, he will be discredited: but if after judging, plainly he will say that he has judged it by a criterion; and of that criterion we shall ask for a proof, and of that proof again a criterion. For the proof always requires a criterion to confirm it, and the criterion also a proof to demonstrate its truth; and nether can a proof be sound without the previous existence of a true criterion nor can the criterion be true without the previous confirmation of the proof. So in this way both the criterion and the proof are involved in the circular process of reasoning, and thereby both are found to be untrustworthy; for since each of them is dependent on the credibility of the other, the one is lacking in credibility just as much as the other. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 50)

An example of inconsistency is when the premises are not logically coherent with each other and with the inference, as on the argument “If it is day, it is light; but in fact wheat is being sold in the market; therefore Dion is walking”. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 144)

1.1d Truth

“The true is said to differ from truth in 3 ways: in essence, composition, potency. In essence, since the true is incorporeal (for it is judgment and expression) while truth is a body (for it is knowledge declaratory of all things, and knowledge is a particular state of the regent part, just as the first is a particular state of the head, and the regent part is the body: for according to them it is breath). (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p.122)

And how could it be other than absurd to assert that definitions are of use for apprehension or instruction or elucidation of any kind, when they involve us in such a fog of uncertainty? Thus, for instance, “O rational mortal animal, receptive of intelligence and laughter, with broad nails and receptive of political science, with his (posterior) hemispheres seated on a mortal animal capable of neighing, and leading a four-footed animal capable of barking?”(...) So then we must declare that, so far as we may judge by this, the definition is useless. (...) For in fact, in there desire to propound a definition of the definition they plunge into an endless controversy. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 166)

2 Relativity and Perssuasion

2.1 Expose the unsoundness of Dogmas 

Thus Aenesidemos furnishes us with eight modes by which, as he thinks, he tests and exposes the unsoundness of every dogmatic theory of causation. The first, he says, is that which shows that, since ethology as a whole deals with the unapparent, it is unconfirmed by any agreed evidence derived from appearances. The second mode shows how often, when there is ample scope for ascribing the object of investigation to a variety of causes, some of them account for it one way only. The third shows how to orderly events they assign causes which exhibit no order. The forth shows how, when they have grasped the way in which appearances occur, they assume that they have also apprehended how unapparent things occur, whereas, through the unapparent may possibly be realized in a similar way to the appearance. In the fifth mode it is shown how practically all these theorists assign causes according to heir own particular hypotheses about the elements, and not according to any commonly agreed methods. In the sixth it is shown how they frequently admit only such facts as can be explained by their own theorise, and dismisses facts which conflict there with through possessing equal probability. The seventh shows how they often assign causes which conflict not only with appearances but also with their own hypotheses. The eight shows that often, when there is equal doubt things seemingly apparent and things under investigation, they base their doctrine about things equally doubtful upon things equally doubtful. Nor is it impossible, he adds, that the overthrow of some of there theories of causation should be referred to certain mixed modes which are dependent on the fare going. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 68)

2.2 Relativity

2.2a Relativity in dogmas

For since there exist great divergence in respect of the intellect- for the intelligent of Gorgias, according to which he states that nothing exists, is one kind, and another kind is that of Heraclitus, according to which he declares that all things exist, and another that of those who say that some things do and others do not exist - we shall have no means of deciding between these divergent intellects, nor shall we be able to assert that it is right to take this man’s intellect as our guide but not that men’s. For if we venture to judge by any one’s intellect, by thus agreeing to assent to one side in the dispute we shall be assuming the matter in question; while if we judge by anything else, shall be falsifying the assertion that one ought to judge objects by  the intellect alone. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 115)

2.2b Relativity in soul

In respect of the soul: one thing is pleasing to one man, another thing to another. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 41)

2.2c Relativity in sense

Consequently we are unable to say what is the real nature of each of these things, although is possible to say what each thing at the moment appears to be. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 44) 

The third mode is, we say, based on differences in the senses. That the senses differ from one another is obvious. Thus, to the eye painting seem to have recesses and projections, but hot so to the touch. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 43) 

2.2d Relativity in space

The fifth argument is that based on position, distances, and locations; for owing to each of these the same objects appear different; for example, the same porch when viewed from one of its conner appears curtailed, but viewed from the middle symmetrical on all sides. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 51)

2.2e Relativity in purity

When, However, we have thus established that all things are relative, we are plainly left with the conclusion that we shall not be able to state what is the nature of each of the objects in its own real purity, but only what nature it appears to possess in its relative character. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 57)

2.2f Relativity in beauty

The sun is, of course, much more amazing than a comet; yet, because we see the sun constantly but the comet rarely, we are so amazed by the comet that we even regard it as a divine portent, while the one causes no amazement at all. If, however, we were to conceive of the sun as appearing but rarely and setting rarely, and illuminating everything all at once and throwing everything info shadow sullenly, then we should experience much amazement at the sight. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 58)

2.2g Relativity in sign

If that through which an object is apprehended must always itself be apprehended through some other things, one is involved in a process of circular reasoning or in regress ad infinitum. And if, on the other hand, one should choose to assume that the thing through which another object is apprehended is itself apprehended through itself, this refuted by the fact that, for the reasons already stated, nothing is apprehended through itself. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 67)

2.2h Relativity in time

Some define time as “the interval of the motion of the whole” (meaning by “whole” the universe), others as “the actual motion of the universe”: Aristotle (or some say, Plato) as “the number of the prior and posterior in motion”; Strato (or, as some say, Aristotle) as “the measure of motion and rest”; Epicuros (according to Demetrios the Laconian) as “ a concurrence of concurrence, concomitant with days and nights and seasons and affections and non affections and motions and rests”. and, in point of substance, some have affirmed that it is corporeal - for instance, Aenesidemus, arguing that it differs in nothing from being and the prime body-others, that it is incorporeal. Either, then, all these theories are true, or all false, or some true and some false;but they cannot all be true (most of them being in conflict), nor will it be grounded by the dogmatists that are false. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 235)

2.2i Relativity in human conceptions

Hence, it is the nature of things naturally existent to move all men alike, whereas the things said to be evil do not move all alike, nothing is naturally evil. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 253)

Moreover, prostitution is with us a shameful and disgraceful thing, but with many of the Egyptians it is highly esteemed; at least, they say that those women who have the greatest number of lovers wear an ornamental ankle ring as a token of their proud position. And with some of them the girls marry after collecting a dowry before marriage by means of prostitution. Moreover, with us tattooing is held to be shameful and degrading, but many of the Egyptians and Sarmatians tattoo their offspring. Also, is a shameful thing with us for men to wear earring, but amongst, some of the barbarians, like the Syrians, it is a token of nobility. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 257)

With us, also, the law enjoys that the fathers should receive due care from their children; but the Scythians cut their throats when they get to be over sixty years old. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 259)

2.3 To Believe in disbelief

2.3a Inexistence of teaching

Of existing things some, they say, are sensible, others intelligible, and the latter are apprehended by the reason, the former by the senses, and the senses are “simply-passive”, while the reason proceeds from the apprehension of sensible to the apprehension of intelligible. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 203)

2.3b Inexistence of existence

Just as Plato speaks of bodies as “becoming but never being”, - I am perplexed as to how this controversy about body is to be settled, as I see that it cannot be settled, because of the difficulties stated a moment ago, either by a body or by an incorporeal. Neither, then, is it possible to apprehend the incorporeal by reason. And if they are neither objects of sense nor apprehended by means of reason, they will not apprehended at all.  (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 206)

2.3c Inexistence of God

How shall we be able to reach a conception of God when we have no agreement about his substance or his form or his place of abode. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 187)

For if they say that he fore-thinks all things they will be declaring that god is the  cause of what is evil, while if they say that he fore-thinks some things or nothing they will be forced to say that god is either malignant or weak, and obviously this is to impious language. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 190)

2.3d Inexistence of Time

So then time is not limited (...) Neither, then, is time divisible. But if it is neither indivisible nor divisible, it does not exist. (Sextus Empiricus Outlines of Pyhonism p. 237)

2.3e To conclude

So whenever the sceptic says “ I determine nothing” what he means is “ I am now in such a state of mind as neither to affirm dogmatically nor deny any of the matters now in question. So whenever the sceptic says “ All things are undetermined”, he takes the word “are” in the sense of “appear to him”, and by “all things” he means not existing things but such of the non-evident matters investigated by the dogmatists as he has examined, and by “undetermined” he means not superior in point of credibility or incredibility to things opposed, or in any way conflicting. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 75)

²⁸ So whenever the sceptic says “ I determine nothing” what he means is “ I am now in such a state of mind as neither to affirm dogmatically nor deny any of the matters now in question. So whenever the sceptic says “ All things are undetermined”, he takes the word “are” in the sense of “appear to him”, and by “all things” he means not existing things but such of the non-evident matters investigated by the dogmatists as he has examined, and by “undetermined” he means not superior in point of credibility or incredibility to things opposed, or in any way conflicting. (Sextus Empiticos Outlines of Pyhonism p. 75)

3 Rethoric

Aristotles defines rhetoricas “ the ability to see, in any given case the possible means of persuasion”. (Aristotles The art of Rhetoric Oxford p.xxxii)

The value of rhetoric, however, lies, first, in the fact what is true and what is right are naturally stronger than their opposities. Second, for speaking with knowledge is teaching, but when that is impossible one has to construct proofs and arguments on the basis of generally accepted notions. (Aristotles The art of Rhetoric Oxford p. 5)

The whole teaching of the Sophists is summed up in the art of rhetoric (The Sophists by W. K. C. Guthrie p.20)

3.1 How to speak properly

How to give weight to language: Describe a thing do not just refer to it by name (exception when brevity is required) Use metaphors Express a singular as plural. Include connectives. Describe a things by means of properties if it does not have “little wind-sweep knoll”. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p. 129)

Language will be appropriate if it expresses emotion and character, and is proportionate if it expresses emotion and character, and is proportionate to the actual facts. Proportion is a matter of speaking about weighty issues in an offhand manner, not speaking about everybody issues in a dignified manner, and not embellishing words that describe everyday things. The listener always sympathize with someone who speaks emotionally even if he is talking nonsense. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p.130)

Too much linguistic precision is lost on a large, boisterous audience, and delivery - that is, the rhythm, volume, intention, and emphasis of the speakers voice, and the physical gestures of his fingers, hands, eyes, face and body - can convey rich layers of meaning where the language itself is simple and barely structured. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p.xxi)

3.2 How to give weight

3.2a Maxim

A maxim, then is an assertion, but one whose subject is nothing particular, such as Iphicrates character, but a generalization. But a maxim is not concerned with every kind of generalization. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p.98)

The use of maxim is appropriate for speakers of more advanced years or in contexts where a speaker knows what he is talking about. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p.98)

3.2b Metaphor

Metaphor can create the impression of vividness, in which an object is put before one’s mind as if it were put before one’s eyes. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p.liii)

3.2c Topic

Beyond its status as a pattern of argumentation, a topic has the capacity of generating multiple particular arguments that belong to or mimic the pattern. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p.xxxviii)

3.2d Euthymeme

An euthymeme based on signs is derived from the notion that x is a sign of y; for instance, that fever is a sign of sickness. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p. xxxvii)

I have already said that euthymeme is a kind of deduction, differs from a dialectical deduction - the difference being due to the facts that on euthymeme should not involve a long chain of reasoning or include all the steps that lead to the conclusion, length would induce confusion. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p.101.)

Some enthememes are demonstrative of what is or is not the case, and others are refutation, euthymeme infers a conclusion on the basis of premises. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p.103) Ex: if indeed it is wrong to get angry with those who harmed us without intent, then we need feel no debt of gratitude to a man who is forced to do us good. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p. 116)

Euthymeme are made up of four different kinds of materials: probability, example, evidence, and sign. (Aristotle The art of Rhetoric Oxford p. 117)

3.3 Examples of perssuasive premisses

3.3a Truth

Truth and knowledge are illusions. (The Sophists by W. K. C. Guthrie p. 180)

3.3b There is no falsehood

In three Platonic passages, Euthydemus 284a–c, Theaetetus 188d–189a and Sophist 236e–237e. According to this argument falsehood is impossible, since to say what is false is to say what is not (legein to mē on), whereas anyone who speaks has to say something that is (on ti); hence saying what is not is saying what is not anything, i.e., not saying anything. Hence, since of contradictory statements one must be false, it is not possible to contradict (ouk estin antilegein (Euthydemus 286b)

Parmenides’ claim (DK 28B2) that ‘You could not know what is not … nor could you say it.

3.3c Contradiction

(Imitation of the wise): In private and in short speeches compels the person who is conversing with him to contradict himself. (Plato Sophists p.162)

4 Arts

4.1 Poetry

And later in Poetics itself Aristotles praises Homer for teaching poetics the right way to tell falsehood. (Aristotles Poetics Oxford p.xxviii)

For this reason peotry is more philosophical and more serious than history; poetry utters universal truths, in accord with probability or necessary. (Aristotles Poetics Oxford p28)

4.2 People in action

The object of representation, he tell us, are people in action. Representation may be effected in two different modes, the narrative (as in epic) or the dramatic (as in tragedy) (Aristotle p.xvii Poetics Oxford)

Why, we are asked, do we feel more pleasure in listening to narratives in which the attention is concentrated on a single point than in hearing those which are concerned with many subjects. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.xxv)

Representation comes naturally to human beings from childhood, and so does the universal pleasure in representations. Indeed, this marks off humans from other animals: man is prone to representation beyond all others, and learns his earliest lessons through representation. A common phenomenon is evidence of this: even when things are painful to look upon-corpuses, for instance, or the shapes of the most revolting animals- we take pleasure in viewing highly realistic images of them. The further explanation of this is that learning is frightful not only to philosophers but to ordinary people as well. (....) That is why people like seeing images, because as they look at them they understand and workout what each item is, for example, “this is so-and-so”. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p20)

4.3 Representation

Aristotle obsession with biology as the model for every scientific discipline. (...) Tragedy, Aristotle tells us, went through many changes and then ceased to evolve. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.xviii)

4.4 Beauty

Beauty consists in scale as well as order. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.26)

So, just as physical bodies and living organisms need to be on an appropriate scale that allows them to be taken in by the eye, likewise stories should have an appropriate length, which is such as to enable them to be held in memory (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.26)

If you had to arrange a competition for a hundred tragedies you would time them by water clocks. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p27)

4.5 Tragedy

Definition of tragedy: It is a representation of an action of superior kind-grand, and complete in itself-presented in embellished language, in distinct forms in different parts, performed by actors rather than told by a narrator, effecting, through pity and fear, the purification of such emotions. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.xviii)

4.6 Othe improvisations

Tragedy: Certainly its origin took shape out of improvisation. (...) Then it developed gradually as people exploited new possibilities as they come to light. The number of actors was first increased from one to two by Aeschylus (...) The third actor and the practice of scene-painting were introduced by Sophocles. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p21)

Aristotle tells is, the story gradually gets more complicated until a turning-point is reached, which Aristotle calls “reversal” (peripatetic). That is the moment at which the apparently fortunate hero falls to disaster, perhaps through a “discovery” (anagnorisis), namely his coming into possession of some crucial but hithero unknown piece of information. The reversal marks the end of the complication (deesis) of the plot, which is followed by its explication (lusis) in which the twists earlier introduced are gradually unravelled. The most important of the six elements of tragedy are, the story and the morality of the character. The third item, is called by Aristotle dianoia “thought “idea”. By this means the intellectual element of the dialogue is closely related to the forth element of the tragedy, style (lexis), which is the direly quality of its expression. The fifth element is called by Aristotle opposites, which is literally “vision appearance”. This with the sixth element, music. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.xxi)

The two things that bring out the genius of a tragic poet are called by Aristotle mouths and ethos. Muthos is often translated “plot” the putting together of events. Ethos is often translated “character”, better “moral element”. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.Xix)

Six things are necessary for a tragedy: the story, the moral element, the style, the ideas, the staging and the music. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.xix)

4.7 The story

Aristotle invented one device, however, which remains popular among teachers and critics of literature today: change one word in a line of a canonical author, and see what effect this has on the impact of the verse. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p. xxxiii)

So the story is the foundation and as it were the soul of tragedy, while moral character is secondary (The like holds in painting: if someone were to apply the most beautiful colours to a surface at random, he would give less pleasure than if he had sketched a portrait in black in white. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p25)

By the story I mean the plot of the events. Moral characters is what makes us evaluate agents in particular ways, while ideas are what is expressed in the speeches used to prove a case or enunciate a truth. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.24)

The story should be put in such a way that even without seeing the play a person hearing the series of events should feel dread and pity. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p33)

Reversal is a change of direction in the course of events, as already stated, taking place, as we insist, in accord with probability or necessary. Discovery, as the term implies, is a change for ignorance to knowledge, and thus to either love or hate, on the part of those destined for good or bad fortune. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p30)

The deed may be perpetrated in full knowledge and awareness. It is also possible for the terrible deed to be done in ignorance (...) A third is when a person is on the point of unwittingly doing some irreparable deed, but realizes the situation in time to desist.. (...) Of these the worst is being on the point of doing the deed knowingly, and then not doing it. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p34)

Discovery: First there is identification by signs and tokens (...) Third there is identification through memory (...) forth there is identification by inference. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p37)

4.7a The length 

To give a general formula: an adequate limit of length is a size that permits a transformation from adversity to prosperity, or from prosperity to adversity, in probable necessary sequences of events. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p27)

4.7b Audience

It is the pleasure that we take in feeling these normally depressing emotions that is the pleasure peculiar to tragedy. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.xxvi)

Pity and fear are the emotions to be taken into account when evaluating the role of tragedy. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.xxvii)

One of those sentiments, namely pity, has to do with undeserved misfortune, and the other, namely fear, has to do with someone who is like ourselves. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p32)

4.8 Comedy

Comedy is, as we said, representation of people who are inferior but not wholly vicious: the ridiculous is one category of the embarrassing. (...) But the early history of comedy is unknown because no serious interest was taken in it. It is not known who introduced masks, prologues, multiple actors, and the like. Comic stories, however, originated in Sicily; among Athenians. It was Crates who first abandoned the Arabic style and began to compose stories and plots of a general kind. (Aristotle Poetics Oxford p.22)

 
 
 
 

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