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Old 09-24-2010, 10:08 PM   #46
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Re: Breaking the will of the ego.

Keith Larman wrote: View Post

Please, carry on. I'll go back into my cave and quietly stare at the shadows some more...
Hello Keith,

Have you ever come across the writings of John Langshaw Austin? He was a powerful influence on the philosophy of language just after World War II. I cite him here because his writings are very relevant to what you wrote in Post #45. However, Austin had no time for the dialectic of Plato and his shadows in the cave, preferring Aristotle's much more robust and this-worldly ideas, which were rooted in the language spoken by educated Greeks.

We had a discussion of onegaishimasu last night in my rhetoric class. One student gave the usual 'deep meaning' explanation, beloved of some Japanese. Then we added 'yoroshii' and 'yoroshiku' to the mix (for 'yoroshiku onegaishimasu' is much more frequently heard here) and he was off, flying through the Japanese linguistic firmament. This student, who did kendo in his youth, also believes that the 'real' meaning of BU 武 is 'stopping spears'. Why? 'Because the Japanese are essentially peaceful.'

Relevance to this thread? None at all, really, except that Austin was a contemporary of Wittgenstein, who once wrote:

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." (Ogden translation.)
"What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence." (Pears & McGuiness translation.)

Wittgenstein intended this proposition (No. 7 of his Tractatus) to apply to mystical and ethical statements. I do not believe he was right in this regard, but Austin's approach, that of detailed language analysis, is much more congenial to me. I think this is not really possible in a forum discussion such as this. So the opening poster's statements have to stand, but only for what they are worth.

Best wishes,


Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 09-24-2010 at 10:14 PM.

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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