30 December 2009

Found Meaning

Filed under: Ktismata, Reflections — ktismatics @ 2:37 pm

Seven books sit together on a shelf near the chair I’m sitting in. I’m going to flip to a random page in each of them and type the seventh sentence on that page. Assembling those seven sentences, I will construct a meaning for my 201o. And so it begins…

Yet in such daydreams as these the past is very old indeed.

And it looked angry.

I think I have shown that all the propositional attitudes require a background of beliefs, so I shall concentrate on conditions for belief.

“Is that not what it means to know Me?” declares the Lord.

However, it is not possible to describe all the relations that may emerge in this way without some guide-lines.

Thus he is given almost equal status to Peter, who sits in a similar position to the right of Christ, and they are distinguished from the other disciples in being accompanied by two female figures, one representing the church of the Jews and the other the church of the Heathen, offering wreaths to Christ.

These are: intention-reading and cultural learning, which account for how children learn linguistic symbols in the first place; schematization and analogy, which account for how children create abstract syntactic constructions out of the concrete pieces of language they have heard; entrenchment and competition, which account for how children constrain their abstractions to those that are conventional in their linguistic community; and functionally based distributional analysis, which accounts for how children form paradigmatic categories of various kinds of linguistic constituents.

I have to say that I like these sentences. I’m sure I could conjure up some way in which the seven of them, extracted from their original contexts, collectively produce a meaningful trajectory propelling me into the new year. Instead I think I’ll take them up one by one, in context, and write what comes to mind about them as separate posts.



  1. 201o? Curious typo.

    I only really cared (as you might guess) about the first sentence, which we should all have been so lucky to write. Although the last one is good because you lose interest in the content and only want to hear ‘which account for how children’. Well, you’d want to pay attention to it, at this point the word ‘cognitive’ is even giving me a headache. Others I wish to resolve for the new year are ‘object-oriented ontology’, which I’ve only skimmed while the rest of you immersed yourselves and got either clean or dirty, my impression is that ‘cognitive’ is tedious and that ‘object-oriented ontology’ is retarded.


    Comment by butch cazza — 1 January 2010 @ 12:50 pm

  2. I agree that only the first sentence is artful. Surely I’ll have something to say about cognitivism in response to the last quote, though I’ve already done that at various times on the blog. I’m probably more enthusiastic about both cognitivism and OOO than many who read this blog.

    “…which I’ve only skimmed while the rest of you immersed yourselves and got either clean or dirty” — this is a beautiful phrase, Butch.


    Comment by john doyle — 4 January 2010 @ 12:30 pm

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