Print

Print


In a message dated 6/10/01 1:33:04 PM, [log in to unmask] writes:

<< you confront me with rare exceptions, but ok... >>

    Oh, there are many exceptions.  How about "my aunt Teri"?  You don't know
what she looks like.  You don't even know what I look like, so you wouldn't
even be able to guess--especially since she isn't even related by blood to
me.  Yet, we have no problem understanding its concreteness.  Just like "the
man on Mars", "a loquacious beaver", or (to borrow from Nabokov) "a didactic
katydid".  But this is not easy to get around, though.  You trust that my
aunt Teri is a real person with a real body in this real world, and that's
enough.  (I suppose lying isn't allowed in this language?)

<<thats my opinion,
abstraction in this context is characterized through its
un-imaginableness.>>

    Here, you will run into problems again.  How about the word "bird"?  That
seems concrete enough, right?  But, just what is a bird?  A thing with wings
that flies?  What about penguins and chickens that don't fly?  What about
kiwis that don't have wings?  But aside from that, can you call up a picture
when confronted with the word "bird"?  I certainly can, but there is no bird
simply called "bird", and the image that most Americans conjure up with the
word "bird" is something like a sparrow (pasero domesticus).  Seems to be a
standard bird.  But really, how can this word "bird" exist if it refers to
this whole group of things, some of which are very, very different looking
(compare the crow and the ostrich)?  And how come we still come up with a
mental picture, even if some birds don't fit in with that picture?  So, I
posit the question: Is "bird" a concrete or abstract word?  Or, would you
avoid the mess by simply destroying all superordinate categories sucer I
mentioned this before, how, if uncurtailed, you would have to come up with a
different specific word for every living thing on the planet, including each
blade of grass, probably each atom, if you get down to the really basic
level.  Anyway, do you see what I'm getting at?

-David