Tag: language

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Science, Knowledge and Consciousness

    by Mark English A number of factors are pushing me to do a bit of intellectual stocktaking; to review and assess what I have been saying over the last few years. One trigger for this process is the closing down of Google+ where I had, since 2016, posted quite a lot of material. I recently […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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) […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Reflections on Relativism, Reputations, Language and Morality

    by Mark English 1: The dangers of relativism 1.1  Some recent discussions about the French far right got me thinking about narratives, morality, rhetoric and reputations. 1.2  It was suggested that moral relativism was an insidious force that opened the way for collaborationism in the past and threatens today to return us to a depraved […]

  • Ordinary and Scientific Views of the World and the Nature of Language

    by Mark English I have been engaged in some private and public discussions recently about the extent to which a scientific worldview relates to our ordinary non-scientific view of the world, and I want to pull together some provisional thoughts on the matter, especially as it relates to language. Science and ordinary thinking As I […]