Language • Corruption of language (Caleb Thompson)
• Corruption of language • Caleb Thompson „Philosophy and Corruption of Language“. Especially pp. 19-26.
What is corruption of language? • The possibility of an ordinary lie – and when that possibility no longer exists (words – events relations) • When words are used in such a way that they loose all meaning except the emotional (e. emotional content).
Thompson • Words become absolute and loose their meaning. • The repect for words is diminished. • You are a facist! (Sometimes means no more than: I don’t like you) • This is pure socialism! • He is a true hero!
Why is the corruption bad? • The voice of dissent is effectively silenced. • There can hardly be any dialogue, for there can be no agreement about the meanings of important words or about any procedure for settling differences. (22) • The corruption of language and a corrupt politician.
What can be done? • Clarity and concreteness. • Orwell: Let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way about. (24) • The essence of responsible language use must come to this: we must consider carefully what use of language is appropriate to our subject, whatever it is.(24)
Thompson • ... regeneration of the language ... does not consist simply of the establishment and imposition of some set of rules, but depends upon the awareness and good will of people using the language. No set of rules could guarantee that the language was not used for nefarious [svívirðilegur] ends. (24)
Concreteness and clarity • Orwell and Weil: Piecemeal way and close to human interest. • Logical positivist: General account and absoulute (devested of human interest)
Uses of language • The uses of language in human life are sufficiently diverse that taking any one of these uses as paradigmatic is likely to obscure that diversity and distort our vision of “non-standard” cases. (30)
What is to be done? • How is the word defined? • The context of the word. • Concreteness. • What are the relevant criteria for the application of the particular word?