Larousse Concise Woke-English/English-Woke Dictionary

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ Every culture and sub-culture develops and employs its own distinctive terminology and sometimes even its own language. At times, these linguistic innovations may be difficult to understand, especially in the absence of competent bilinguals. Perhaps one of the best contemporary examples of such a language is that of the Woke (WL).  While WL’s semantic and […]

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Time and Language

by Mark English ____ There is the physics of time, and then there is time as we experience it. Natural languages provide quite complex mechanisms for expressing the latter, but it would be a mistake to think that they could ever provide adequate tools for dealing with the former. Physicists cannot dispense with ordinary language, of course, but any satisfactory […]

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Metaphysics, Metacognition, Language and Number

by Mark English The logical positivists took a very hard anti-metaphysical line. They were right, in my view, to see traditional metaphysics as being futile and pointless. The essential problem with metaphysics is epistemic. How (given a basically scientific view of the world) can purely metaphysical statements be justified? Rudolf Carnap and most of his Vienna Circle colleagues didn’t think […]

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Random Reflections on Intellectual History, Abstraction and Social and Political Values

by Mark English Complexities Terms like “pragmatism” as it applies to philosophy and the history of ideas – most isms really – are intrinsically vague and useful only to the (necessarily limited) extent that they help to bring out persistent or more fleeting strands or commonalities in thinking within or across populations. Even the views of individuals are often difficult […]

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and The English Language

by David Ottlinger ___ However else we might evaluate her burgeoning career, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been a great success in inspiring think-pieces. The freshman congresswoman has been a gift to all political writers in search of a subject. Whether one agrees with her and the causes she champions is a matter of complete indifference. Either way, it has become almost […]

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Some Things to Keep in Mind When Engaging with the Gender Identity Debate

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ The political battle over sex and gender continues to escalate, with increasingly consequential results. Adolescents and pre-teens are finding themselves confronted with opposite-sexed bodies in changing rooms, toilets, and other places where they undress.[1] Female athletes are watching their potential fortunes dim in competition. [2] Homosexuals are being criticized and often berated for being same-sex, […]

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Inventing Religion

by Mark English Nouns and adjectives like ‘religion’ and ‘religious’ can be seen as more or less useful classificatory terms. More – or less – useful, as I say. The standard view is that there are various sets of practices (customs and rituals) and grand narratives and beliefs (concerning spiritual or magical beings and powers) to which different human groups […]

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Notes on Culture and Language

by Mark English Having written recently about shared narratives and their role in creating a common culture, I thought it might be worthwhile to try to develop a few of the points I have been making and to clarify the foundation – personal and intellectual – upon which my claims rest. Now, the idea of a common culture – whether […]

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Language and Meaning

by Mark English The topic of eliminative materialism (or ‘eliminativism’ as its current manifestation is usually called) has been the focus of some recent debate. What prompted this piece, however, was a brief discussion in a comment thread about a very specific kind of eliminativism which applies to language and which is known as semantic (or meaning) eliminativism. My original […]

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