yak or tiff

The way of the warrior is the complement of rhetoric in the practice of persuasion. Humans being rule-bound animals, as with discursive eristic, the knack of empty hand combat is to determine the main rule that constrains your adversary, and embarrass him into submission by breaking it. And since more training redounds to more rules, he who broadcasts his practice, does so to his own strategic disadvantage. Which is to say that there can be no such thing as a martial art.
    ObBook: Gorgias
    Monday, 3 July 2000, 12:00 am

nothing can be said truly about that, which does not exist

Terms express concepts in their ordinary use. They denote concepts in the contexts of propositional attitudes. This analysis agrees with Frege and the Stoics, whereby, in the words of Alonzo Church, nothing can be said truly about that, which does not exist. As the Eleatic Stranger taunts Theaetetus, ὅτι μάλιστα δύνασαι συντείνας πειράθητι, μήτε οὐσίαν μήτε τὸ ἓν μήτε πλῆθος ἀριθμοῦ προστιθεὶς τῷ μὴ ὄντι, κατὰ τὸ ὀρθὸν φθέγξασθαί τι περὶ αὐτοῦ, try with might and main to say something correctly about not-being, without attributing to it either existence or unity or plurality. (Plato, Sophist, 239b)

without a dog

« Sa non-autonomie assumée fait du chien l’être le plus parfait de la création, avec quelques femmes très soumises. … Y a pas que les chiens. Les femmes aussi, c’est gentil. »
— Michel Houellebecq  

As every schoolchild knows, Aristotle’s Rhetoric is a compendium of examples illustrating general principles. In the Rhetoric 2.24, at 1401a22, within his discussion of homonymy or equivocation, Aristotle says that to be without a dog is most dishonorable: Continue reading without a dog

king nomos

The last and the toughest among Socrates’ adversaries in Plato’s Gorgias, Callicles invokes law the sovereign of all, mortals and immortals, “νόμος ὁ πάντων βασιλεὺς θνατῶν τε καὶ ἀθανάτων”, at 484b485d. He does so in support of his idea of natural justice, νόμος τῆς φύσεως. Callicles aims to distinguish what is conventionally fouler from what is naturally so. He seeks to undermine the authority of Socrates’ examination of justice by consigning all dialectical pettifoggery to the kindergarten. It is a fitting occupation for a lisping child, but when Callicles sees an elderly man still going on with philosophy and not getting rid of it, that is the man whom he thinks to be in need of a whipping: “ὅταν δὲ δὴ πρεσβύτερον ἴδω ἔτι φιλοσοφοῦντα καὶ μὴ ἀπαλλαττόμενον, πληγῶν μοι δοκεῖ ἤδη δεῖσθαι, ὦ Σώκρατες, οὗτος ὁ ἀνήρ.” Continue reading king nomos

righteous gentiles

The strike of February 1941, one of the few spontaneous mass protests in German-occupied Europe, expressed the Dutch revulsion at Nazi repression and persecution of the Jews. This does not mean every Dutchman was a friend of the Jews, merely that they did not like German interference in domestic affairs. The well-known slogan, Keep your dirty hands off our dirty Jews, expresses this sentiment aptly.
— Dick van Galen Last and Rolf Wolfswinkel, Anne Frank and After: Dutch Holocaust Literature in a Historical Perspective, Amsterdam University Press, 1996, p. 42

The slogan is indeed well-known, but documentary corroboration in regard to protective Dutch attitudes towards their vuile Joden is hard to come by. I recall a denial of this slogan as apocryphal in a symposium published in Harper’s Magazine around 1993. Can anyone corroborate it or cite similar slogans elsewhere?

Crossposted to [info]linguaphiles and [info]history.

metagraph redux

— for Chien-Ling Liu  

                             In a Time of Cuisine
                             A fact the gourmet
                             euphemism can’t silence:
                             vegetarians eat sex,
                             carnivores eat violence.
                             — Les Murray, April 2004

                  Fair Play
         Herbivorous scruples
         betoken the coward —
         men eat flesh on credit
         ere they get devour’d.

torkel franzén is dead

Looking back over fifteen years of Usenetting, I gratefully recall one man selflessly expending his time and effort on making it a better place. Torkel’s learned and benevolent presence single-handedly made up for a myriad ephemeral and persistent sophistical frauds striving to overwhelm our forum with self-serving nonsense. I am proud to have benefitted from his learning and character.
    Torkel Franzén earned his PhD in philosophy in 1987 for work on provability and truth, available online and in hard copy in the imprint of Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, deposited at university libraries worldwide. He was a world-class expert on incompleteness and inexhaustibility and an able and tireless expositor of the use and abuse of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems. Torkel will be remembered and celebrated for his incisive contributions to logic and his magnanimous bestowals of honesty and wisdom in public discourse. My condolences for this untimely loss go out to his friends and family.

metagraph

Marriage                                    
My wife and I — we’re pals. Marriage is fun.              
Yes: two can live as stupidly as one.              
— Philip Larkin, January 1954               

                                Poesy
My readers are my friends, my verses true enough.
If I can fool myself, the world will buy my bluff.

sprint pcs is searching for service

    He lies in bed recovering from a cold.
    He is holding a watch. He gave it away as a gift twenty-four years ago. Now he has it back. Its plastic crystal is melted away. Its face is scorched.
    He shakes the watch. The self-winding rotor turns and ratchets. The watch starts ticking.
    The phone rings. The voice is instantly recognizable. It resumes a conversation long since broken off.
    — Who is this?
    The voice carries on.
    — Who is this?
    Its rhythm remains unabated.
    — Is that you?
    The connection breaks up. The line is silent.