Eastern vs Western Philosophy

Discuss philosophical concepts and moral issues.
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DrZoidberg
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Post by DrZoidberg » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:23 pm

[quote=""ruby sparks""]
DrZoidberg;680316 wrote:Anybody from anywhere on this planet, thrown back in time to the year 1900 will find a bizarrely alien and unrelatable world. Human cultures have evolved extremely rapidly the last 150 years. That makes it a bit strange to talk about different essential characteristics in the culture.
Right. So....that's cultural relativism, yeah? Or am I confused?[/QUOTE]

Cultural relativism is best explained by the saying "it's right for you, but not for them"

Cultural relativism says that different culture operate on different morals. That they're all sophisticated systems that have evolved over time, which makes people in that culture different from you. A cultural relativist might say that Middle Eastern Muslims are more likely to rape women than westerners, because their morals are different. Or that Muslim men don't understand that beating your wife is wrong.

I think cultural relativistic statements almost always come out of the mouth of racists.

Moral universalists on the other hand maintain that Muslim men of course understand that rape and wife beating is wrong, and feel about the same amount of shame about it as any westerner would.

Something like that.
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/Dr Zoidberg

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Post by No Robots » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:26 pm

^What about polygamy and female circumcision?

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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:07 pm

[quote=""DrZoidberg""]
ruby sparks;680317 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680316 wrote:Anybody from anywhere on this planet, thrown back in time to the year 1900 will find a bizarrely alien and unrelatable world. Human cultures have evolved extremely rapidly the last 150 years. That makes it a bit strange to talk about different essential characteristics in the culture.
Right. So....that's cultural relativism, yeah? Or am I confused?
Cultural relativism is best explained by the saying "it's right for you, but not for them"

Cultural relativism says that different culture operate on different morals. That they're all sophisticated systems that have evolved over time, which makes people in that culture different from you. A cultural relativist might say that Middle Eastern Muslims are more likely to rape women than westerners, because their morals are different. Or that Muslim men don't understand that beating your wife is wrong.

I think cultural relativistic statements almost always come out of the mouth of racists.

Moral universalists on the other hand maintain that Muslim men of course understand that rape and wife beating is wrong, and feel about the same amount of shame about it as any westerner would.

Something like that.[/QUOTE]You are confusing moral relativism and cultural relativism. Cultural relativity by no means requires any specific moral position, and certainly not those that you describe.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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DrZoidberg
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Post by DrZoidberg » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:54 pm

[quote=""Politesse""]
DrZoidberg;680340 wrote:
ruby sparks;680317 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680316 wrote:Anybody from anywhere on this planet, thrown back in time to the year 1900 will find a bizarrely alien and unrelatable world. Human cultures have evolved extremely rapidly the last 150 years. That makes it a bit strange to talk about different essential characteristics in the culture.
Right. So....that's cultural relativism, yeah? Or am I confused?
Cultural relativism is best explained by the saying "it's right for you, but not for them"

Cultural relativism says that different culture operate on different morals. That they're all sophisticated systems that have evolved over time, which makes people in that culture different from you. A cultural relativist might say that Middle Eastern Muslims are more likely to rape women than westerners, because their morals are different. Or that Muslim men don't understand that beating your wife is wrong.

I think cultural relativistic statements almost always come out of the mouth of racists.

Moral universalists on the other hand maintain that Muslim men of course understand that rape and wife beating is wrong, and feel about the same amount of shame about it as any westerner would.

Something like that.
You are confusing moral relativism and cultural relativism. Cultural relativity by no means requires any specific moral position, and certainly not those that you describe.[/QUOTE]

You are correct that I meant moral relativism. But on the other hand, I think the distinction is unnecessary, because cultural relativism should be damn obvious to anyone.
"Sorry, you must have been boring"
/Dr Zoidberg

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DrZoidberg
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Post by DrZoidberg » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:58 pm

[quote=""No Robots""]^What about polygamy and female circumcision?[/quote]

I think polygamy is fine, and it's we in the west who should be ashamed of having outlawed it.

Female circumcision is always wrong. It was wrong back when it was common practice in Africa. The fact that it was common practice and lots of people attempted to justify it, doesn't make it moral. It was always immoral.

BTW, female circumcision is today illegal in all of Africa. it was common in East Africa half a century ago, and now it's not.

The reason they did it because they thought that it would make women more virtuous. Which is the same motivation to why Americans so often are circumcised. It didn't work for the African women, and sure as hell doesn't work for American men. The idea was that it would make them masturbate less.
"Sorry, you must have been boring"
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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:29 pm

[quote=""DrZoidberg""]
Politesse;680343 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680340 wrote:
ruby sparks;680317 wrote:
Right. So....that's cultural relativism, yeah? Or am I confused?
Cultural relativism is best explained by the saying "it's right for you, but not for them"

Cultural relativism says that different culture operate on different morals. That they're all sophisticated systems that have evolved over time, which makes people in that culture different from you. A cultural relativist might say that Middle Eastern Muslims are more likely to rape women than westerners, because their morals are different. Or that Muslim men don't understand that beating your wife is wrong.

I think cultural relativistic statements almost always come out of the mouth of racists.

Moral universalists on the other hand maintain that Muslim men of course understand that rape and wife beating is wrong, and feel about the same amount of shame about it as any westerner would.

Something like that.
You are confusing moral relativism and cultural relativism. Cultural relativity by no means requires any specific moral position, and certainly not those that you describe.
You are correct that I meant moral relativism. But on the other hand, I think the distinction is unnecessary, because cultural relativism should be damn obvious to anyone.[/QUOTE]

Well, then name it correctly, because cultural relativism is what I've been talking about for this whole thread.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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DrZoidberg
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Post by DrZoidberg » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:05 am

[quote=""Politesse""]
DrZoidberg;680352 wrote:
Politesse;680343 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680340 wrote:
Cultural relativism is best explained by the saying "it's right for you, but not for them"

Cultural relativism says that different culture operate on different morals. That they're all sophisticated systems that have evolved over time, which makes people in that culture different from you. A cultural relativist might say that Middle Eastern Muslims are more likely to rape women than westerners, because their morals are different. Or that Muslim men don't understand that beating your wife is wrong.

I think cultural relativistic statements almost always come out of the mouth of racists.

Moral universalists on the other hand maintain that Muslim men of course understand that rape and wife beating is wrong, and feel about the same amount of shame about it as any westerner would.

Something like that.
You are confusing moral relativism and cultural relativism. Cultural relativity by no means requires any specific moral position, and certainly not those that you describe.
You are correct that I meant moral relativism. But on the other hand, I think the distinction is unnecessary, because cultural relativism should be damn obvious to anyone.
Well, then name it correctly, because cultural relativism is what I've been talking about for this whole thread.[/QUOTE]

Point taken :)
"Sorry, you must have been boring"
/Dr Zoidberg

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Post by lpetrich » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:57 pm

As to Eastern vs. Western philosophy, there is a lot of variety in both, and I find it hard to see how one can make a simple statement about each one of them.

As to the Hopi language, I have not been able to find very much online about its grammar.

But (Wikipedia)Grammatical tense notes that some languages do not have verb tenses, that they use time adverbs or rely on context. Like Chinese. So someone naively looking at Chinese grammar might think that Chinese speakers have very little sense of time.

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Post by Hermit » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:24 pm

[quote=""DrZoidberg""]It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.[/quote] lol

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Post by subsymbolic » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:29 pm

[quote=""Hermit""]
DrZoidberg;680210 wrote:It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.
lol[/QUOTE]

But the mystical English really do have well over a hundred distinct words for mud.

Meanwhile, back at groundhog day, the fact is that either two conceptual
schemes have bridging rules or they don't. If they don't then there is literally nothing you can say about one conceptual scheme from another. If, however, they do, then they ain't so mysterious. There is no middle ground. Se also Davidson, Donald, On the very idea of a conceptual scheme (and last month's row).

The real problem is that once you let go of meaning, purpose, morality and so on coming from the deity of your choice then you are left with no criteria against which you can judge something wrong or right. Taking female, or indeed male, circumcision as an example, it's nice to say it is always wrong, was always wrong and so on, but the fact is that it is wrong relative to some sort of criteria and if you can't agree on that criteria then I can't see how you can motivate that and you are just left stating it by fiat.

Now I might think that naturalisation or eliminating suffering is the most important thing and we might even agree, but others might not and these really are just axioms and, at some point, the spade turns. The fact is that evolution is a meaningless process that gives rise to design, meaning and so on. What it doesn't do is allow one risen clump of meaning to claim dominion over another, Of course if one clump of meaning has guns then they can enforce their view on those without guns, but that doesn't make them right.

Meanwhile, I broadly agree that human brains are probably broadly the same wetware across the board. However, I'm less convinced that cultures and the specific radical reengineering of the brain they engender is even broadly the same. The fact that language, sitting on top of all that, allows us to pretend that it is broadly similar, doesn't mean it is. That's because how the brain processes information is, I rather suspect, a different conceptual scheme and thus something about which we can say nothing. We can, of course make judgements, in language, about the emergent processes of our brains as we become aware of them and, of course, the behaviour of others, but that doesn't look like a safe basis for making claims about what is going on underneath all of that.
Last edited by subsymbolic on Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by lpetrich » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:32 am

[quote=""DrZoidberg""]Modern research turns out that all languages are equally expressive. It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.[/quote]
What they have is words for different kinds of snow, much like speakers of other languages who live in snowy areas. Like English speakers:

snow, snowflake, snowdrift, snowpack, snowfall, snowstorm, snow crust, blizzard, avalanche, powder, hardpack, graupel, sleet, slush, hail, hailstone, ice, frost, hoarfrost, ice storm, iceberg, ice floe, glacier, ...

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:40 am

[quote=""lpetrich""]
DrZoidberg;680210 wrote:Modern research turns out that all languages are equally expressive. It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.
What they have is words for different kinds of snow, much like speakers of other languages who live in snowy areas. Like English speakers:

snow, snowflake, snowdrift, snowpack, snowfall, snowstorm, snow crust, blizzard, avalanche, powder, hardpack, graupel, sleet, slush, hail, hailstone, ice, frost, hoarfrost, ice storm, iceberg, ice floe, glacier, ...[/QUOTE]

Actually, what caught him out was that they had extended compound words for states of snow in much the same way as German. He was sloppy.

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BWE
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Post by BWE » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:27 am

O[quote=""subsymbolic""]
Hermit;680409 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680210 wrote:It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.
lol
But the mystical English really do have well over a hundred distinct words for mud.

Meanwhile, back at groundhog day, the fact is that either two conceptual
schemes have bridging rules or they don't. If they don't then there is literally nothing you can say about one conceptual scheme from another. If, however, they do, then they ain't so mysterious. There is no middle ground. Se also Davidson, Donald, On the very idea of a conceptual scheme (and last month's row).

The real problem is that once you let go of meaning, purpose, morality and so on coming from the deity of your choice then you are left with no criteria against which you can judge something wrong or right. Taking female, or indeed male, circumcision as an example, it's nice to say it is always wrong, was always wrong and so on, but the fact is that it is wrong relative to some sort of criteria and if you can't agree on that criteria then I can't see how you can motivate that and you are just left stating it by fiat.

Now I might think that naturalisation or eliminating suffering is the most important thing and we might even agree, but others might not and these really are just axioms and, at some point, the spade turns. The fact is that evolution is a meaningless process that gives rise to design, meaning and so on. What it doesn't do is allow one risen clump of meaning to claim dominion over another, Of course if one clump of meaning has guns then they can enforce their view on those without guns, but that doesn't make them right.

Meanwhile, I broadly agree that human brains are probably broadly the same wetware across the board. However, I'm less convinced that cultures and the specific radical reengineering of the brain they engender is even broadly the same. The fact that language, sitting on top of all that, allows us to pretend that it is broadly similar, doesn't mean it is. That's because how the brain processes information is, I rather suspect, a different conceptual scheme and thus something about which we can say nothing. We can, of course make judgements, in language, about the emergent processes of our brains as we become aware of them and, of course, the behaviour of others, but that doesn't look like a safe basis for making claims about what is going on underneath all of that.[/QUOTE]

I don't think it's really all that profound that it's possible to translate between paradigmatic axiomatic systems of naming. If it was easy using distinct algorithms , then it might be. But it isn't easy therefore Davidson is saying something that doesn't address much.

Eta: what's weird is that our statements are both making generally the same point. Maybe I missed Davidson 's point.

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Post by DrZoidberg » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:00 am

[quote=""Hermit""]
DrZoidberg;680210 wrote:It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.
lol[/QUOTE]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo_words_for_snow

Aleut languages have composite words. In your article the "-toq" bit is snow. The rest is adjectives or other words embedded to modify it.

Swedish/Norse languages work the same way. So I'm used to thinking this way. In your article they might as well have said that Eskimos have a million billion zillion words for snow. There's no upper limit to how much you can modify base words. At the root of all of them is just one or a couple of words for snow. Different Intuit languages and dialects have different words. But it's still wrong to try to pass off each composite words as a separate word. I don't think any contemporary linguist would.

But they explain that in the article. I think you just didn't get it. I think it's just a waffly and fun light entertainment article where they make no attempt to settle anything.

Edit:
Here's the Danish word for an angry Internet troll who makes a lot of posts quickly.

"Surforumshurtigtrollsinlæggspostare"
Last edited by DrZoidberg on Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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DrZoidberg
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Post by DrZoidberg » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:08 am

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
Hermit;680409 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680210 wrote:It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.
lol
But the mystical English really do have well over a hundred distinct words for mud.
[/QUOTE]

English doesn't have composite words. So they need more distinct words. In Swedish, German or Aleut if you need more precision in a word you can make more up on the fly, and it'll make perfect sense. Not allowed in English.

There's a rule of thumb in linguistics that the smaller the language the more illogical and convoluted the grammar. So if you think English is complicated.... I'm pretty sure Aleut is nightmarish.
"Sorry, you must have been boring"
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Post by plebian » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:10 pm

[quote=""BWE""]O
subsymbolic;680423 wrote:
Hermit;680409 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680210 wrote:It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.
lol
But the mystical English really do have well over a hundred distinct words for mud.

Meanwhile, back at groundhog day, the fact is that either two conceptual
schemes have bridging rules or they don't. If they don't then there is literally nothing you can say about one conceptual scheme from another. If, however, they do, then they ain't so mysterious. There is no middle ground. Se also Davidson, Donald, On the very idea of a conceptual scheme (and last month's row).

The real problem is that once you let go of meaning, purpose, morality and so on coming from the deity of your choice then you are left with no criteria against which you can judge something wrong or right. Taking female, or indeed male, circumcision as an example, it's nice to say it is always wrong, was always wrong and so on, but the fact is that it is wrong relative to some sort of criteria and if you can't agree on that criteria then I can't see how you can motivate that and you are just left stating it by fiat.

Now I might think that naturalisation or eliminating suffering is the most important thing and we might even agree, but others might not and these really are just axioms and, at some point, the spade turns. The fact is that evolution is a meaningless process that gives rise to design, meaning and so on. What it doesn't do is allow one risen clump of meaning to claim dominion over another, Of course if one clump of meaning has guns then they can enforce their view on those without guns, but that doesn't make them right.

Meanwhile, I broadly agree that human brains are probably broadly the same wetware across the board. However, I'm less convinced that cultures and the specific radical reengineering of the brain they engender is even broadly the same. The fact that language, sitting on top of all that, allows us to pretend that it is broadly similar, doesn't mean it is. That's because how the brain processes information is, I rather suspect, a different conceptual scheme and thus something about which we can say nothing. We can, of course make judgements, in language, about the emergent processes of our brains as we become aware of them and, of course, the behaviour of others, but that doesn't look like a safe basis for making claims about what is going on underneath all of that.
I don't think it's really all that profound that it's possible to translate between paradigmatic axiomatic systems of naming. If it was easy using distinct algorithms , then it might be. But it isn't easy therefore Davidson is saying something that doesn't address much.

Eta: what's weird is that our statements are both making generally the same point. Maybe I missed Davidson 's point.[/QUOTE]
Heh. there's a long thread about it from not too long ago. I'll try to find it.

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:33 pm

[quote=""BWE""]O
subsymbolic;680423 wrote:
Hermit;680409 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680210 wrote:It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.
lol
But the mystical English really do have well over a hundred distinct words for mud.

Meanwhile, back at groundhog day, the fact is that either two conceptual
schemes have bridging rules or they don't. If they don't then there is literally nothing you can say about one conceptual scheme from another. If, however, they do, then they ain't so mysterious. There is no middle ground. Se also Davidson, Donald, On the very idea of a conceptual scheme (and last month's row).

The real problem is that once you let go of meaning, purpose, morality and so on coming from the deity of your choice then you are left with no criteria against which you can judge something wrong or right. Taking female, or indeed male, circumcision as an example, it's nice to say it is always wrong, was always wrong and so on, but the fact is that it is wrong relative to some sort of criteria and if you can't agree on that criteria then I can't see how you can motivate that and you are just left stating it by fiat.

Now I might think that naturalisation or eliminating suffering is the most important thing and we might even agree, but others might not and these really are just axioms and, at some point, the spade turns. The fact is that evolution is a meaningless process that gives rise to design, meaning and so on. What it doesn't do is allow one risen clump of meaning to claim dominion over another, Of course if one clump of meaning has guns then they can enforce their view on those without guns, but that doesn't make them right.

Meanwhile, I broadly agree that human brains are probably broadly the same wetware across the board. However, I'm less convinced that cultures and the specific radical reengineering of the brain they engender is even broadly the same. The fact that language, sitting on top of all that, allows us to pretend that it is broadly similar, doesn't mean it is. That's because how the brain processes information is, I rather suspect, a different conceptual scheme and thus something about which we can say nothing. We can, of course make judgements, in language, about the emergent processes of our brains as we become aware of them and, of course, the behaviour of others, but that doesn't look like a safe basis for making claims about what is going on underneath all of that.
I don't think it's really all that profound that it's possible to translate between paradigmatic axiomatic systems of naming. If it was easy using distinct algorithms , then it might be. But it isn't easy therefore Davidson is saying something that doesn't address much.

Eta: what's weird is that our statements are both making generally the same point. Maybe I missed Davidson 's point.[/QUOTE]

His point was that there is no middle ground. Either translation is utterly possible or it is utterly impossible. He was objecting to all those people who try to inhabit the middle ground.

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Post by Politesse » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:05 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
. . .

Meanwhile, I broadly agree that human brains are probably broadly the same wetware across the board. However, I'm less convinced that cultures and the specific radical reengineering of the brain they engender is even broadly the same. The fact that language, sitting on top of all that, allows us to pretend that it is broadly similar, doesn't mean it is. That's because how the brain processes information is, I rather suspect, a different conceptual scheme and thus something about which we can say nothing. We can, of course make judgements, in language, about the emergent processes of our brains as we become aware of them and, of course, the behaviour of others, but that doesn't look like a safe basis for making claims about what is going on underneath all of that.[/quote]
His point was that there is no middle ground. Either translation is utterly possible or it is utterly impossible. He was objecting to all those people who try to inhabit the middle ground.
That last strikes me as wrong. I mean, it wouldn't work for actual languages; mutual intelligibility is often scalar and context-driven. Whether something can be understood "correctly" by an outsider is often a deeply subjective question rife with dispute. And not only are "bridge" dialects a thing, they characterize many situations of language contact, ie you can talk easily with your neighbors (even if their "code" is quite different) but not their neighbors (even if their "codes" are similar to each other) as per the work of Heinz Kloss. I think we should probably think of transmissibility of symbols generally as a matter of degree whether than kind, something potentially negotiable.

To your other points quoted above - ie similar "wetware" and language giving rise to possibly false estimations of similarity in conception, I quite agree with. Even between individuals, the practical differences in the mechanisms of cognition are likely wider than we intuitively assume.
"The truth about stories is that's all we are" ~Thomas King

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Post by plebian » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:28 pm

[quote=""subsymbolic""]
BWE;680484 wrote:O
subsymbolic;680423 wrote:
Hermit;680409 wrote: lol
But the mystical English really do have well over a hundred distinct words for mud.

Meanwhile, back at groundhog day, the fact is that either two conceptual
schemes have bridging rules or they don't. If they don't then there is literally nothing you can say about one conceptual scheme from another. If, however, they do, then they ain't so mysterious. There is no middle ground. Se also Davidson, Donald, On the very idea of a conceptual scheme (and last month's row).

The real problem is that once you let go of meaning, purpose, morality and so on coming from the deity of your choice then you are left with no criteria against which you can judge something wrong or right. Taking female, or indeed male, circumcision as an example, it's nice to say it is always wrong, was always wrong and so on, but the fact is that it is wrong relative to some sort of criteria and if you can't agree on that criteria then I can't see how you can motivate that and you are just left stating it by fiat.

Now I might think that naturalisation or eliminating suffering is the most important thing and we might even agree, but others might not and these really are just axioms and, at some point, the spade turns. The fact is that evolution is a meaningless process that gives rise to design, meaning and so on. What it doesn't do is allow one risen clump of meaning to claim dominion over another, Of course if one clump of meaning has guns then they can enforce their view on those without guns, but that doesn't make them right.

Meanwhile, I broadly agree that human brains are probably broadly the same wetware across the board. However, I'm less convinced that cultures and the specific radical reengineering of the brain they engender is even broadly the same. The fact that language, sitting on top of all that, allows us to pretend that it is broadly similar, doesn't mean it is. That's because how the brain processes information is, I rather suspect, a different conceptual scheme and thus something about which we can say nothing. We can, of course make judgements, in language, about the emergent processes of our brains as we become aware of them and, of course, the behaviour of others, but that doesn't look like a safe basis for making claims about what is going on underneath all of that.
I don't think it's really all that profound that it's possible to translate between paradigmatic axiomatic systems of naming. If it was easy using distinct algorithms , then it might be. But it isn't easy therefore Davidson is saying something that doesn't address much.

Eta: what's weird is that our statements are both making generally the same point. Maybe I missed Davidson 's point.
His point was that there is no middle ground. Either translation is utterly possible or it is utterly impossible. He was objecting to all those people who try to inhabit the middle ground.[/QUOTE]

I think that depends a lot on your definition of "utterly". The idea that someone could learn the cultural context required requires a lot of lucky breaks along the way and has no guarantees. If you mean 'utterly' as 'theoretically' then I guess I'm following. Maybe I misunderstood BWE's post. I think he's saying that without a given algorithm to accomplish this translation, it falls distinctly outside the normal venn diagram of typical uses of the word utterly. In fact, it falls close to the center of the venn diagram of typical uses of the phrase "practically impossible in many, or maybe even most cases".

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Post by subsymbolic » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:08 pm

I think we did this to death last time.

Not Gavagai.

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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:33 pm

[quote=""DrZoidberg""]
subsymbolic;680423 wrote:
Hermit;680409 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680210 wrote:It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.
lol
But the mystical English really do have well over a hundred distinct words for mud.
English doesn't have composite words. So they need more distinct words. In Swedish, German or Aleut if you need more precision in a word you can make more up on the fly, and it'll make perfect sense. Not allowed in English.

There's a rule of thumb in linguistics that the smaller the language the more illogical and convoluted the grammar. So if you think English is complicated.... I'm pretty sure Aleut is nightmarish.[/QUOTE]

English DOES have composite words. A fair number of them. They do tend to call them 'compound' words, but....same thing.
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:41 pm

[quote=""DrZoidberg""]
subsymbolic;680423 wrote:
Hermit;680409 wrote:
DrZoidberg;680210 wrote:It was the same deal with the Eskimos having 50 words for snow. They don't.
lol
But the mystical English really do have well over a hundred distinct words for mud.
English doesn't have composite words. So they need more distinct words. In Swedish, German or Aleut if you need more precision in a word you can make more up on the fly, and it'll make perfect sense. Not allowed in English.

There's a rule of thumb in linguistics that the smaller the language the more illogical and convoluted the grammar. So if you think English is complicated.... I'm pretty sure Aleut is nightmarish.[/QUOTE]

English DOES have composite words. A fair number of them. They do tend to call them 'compound' words, but....same thing.
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DrZoidberg
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Post by DrZoidberg » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:34 am

[quote=""Roo St. Gallus""]
DrZoidberg;680489 wrote:
subsymbolic;680423 wrote:
Hermit;680409 wrote: lol
But the mystical English really do have well over a hundred distinct words for mud.
English doesn't have composite words. So they need more distinct words. In Swedish, German or Aleut if you need more precision in a word you can make more up on the fly, and it'll make perfect sense. Not allowed in English.

There's a rule of thumb in linguistics that the smaller the language the more illogical and convoluted the grammar. So if you think English is complicated.... I'm pretty sure Aleut is nightmarish.
English DOES have composite words. A fair number of them. They do tend to call them 'compound' words, but....same thing.[/QUOTE]

There's a huge different to what we're talking about. The difference is that you can't do it on the fly. It's not allowed. All English words you use have to be found in a dictionary (unless your name is William Shakespeare, in which case all the words you make up will be added to later editions of dictionaries). In a Swedish dictionary we don't have the compound words. We only have the root words. In English you list the compound words as well, as separate words. That's why English has close to 200 000 words and Swedish has less than 80 000. Yet Swedish is more expressive. There's no limit to how precise you can get. In English, unless you have a word for it, you're screwed

It's a radically different way to think of language. English is related to Scandinavian languages. English used to be part of the Norse world. Window is a Norse composite word. It's two parts. "Vind" and "Uge". It literally means, windy hole in the wall. So a hole in the wall that the wind gets through.

When you play scrabble in Swedish you can score points by making up new compound words. You can't in English.
"Sorry, you must have been boring"
/Dr Zoidberg

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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:35 pm

New compound words are invented all the time. It's called slang.

Slang is not listed in most dictionaries.
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subsymbolic
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Post by subsymbolic » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:04 pm

I disagree twice.

1 portmanteau

2 when I can’t think of a word, I merely describe it. Swedish may be more compact, but both have infinite generative grammars.

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