Topic: Linguistics/Philosophy of language
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. At various points in his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, although he also confessed that his sceptical nature had led him to feel that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense." Russell was born in Monmouthshire into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the United Kingdom.
In the early 20th century, Russell led the British "revolt against idealism". He is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege, colleague G. E. Moore and protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein. He is widely held to be one of the 20th century's premier logicians. With A. N. Whitehead he wrote Principia Mathematica, an attempt to create a logical basis for mathematics, the quintessential work of classical logic. His philosophical essay "On Denoting" has been considered a "paradigm of philosophy". His work has had a considerable influence on mathematics, logic, set theory, linguistics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science (see type theory and type system) and philosophy, especially the philosophy of language, epistemology and metaphysics.
Russell was a prominent anti-war activist and he championed anti-imperialism. Occasionally, he advocated preventive nuclear war, before the opportunity provided by the atomic monopoly had passed and he decided he would "welcome with enthusiasm" world government. He went to prison for his pacifism during World War I. Later, Russell concluded that war against Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany was a necessary "lesser of two evils" and criticised Stalinist totalitarianism, attacked the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War and was an outspoken proponent of nuclear disarmament. In 1950, Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought".
- "Bertrand Russell" | 2019-05-05 | 12 Upvotes 5 Comments
Bullshit (also bullcrap) is a common English expletive which may be shortened to the euphemism bull or the initialism B.S. In British English, "bollocks" is a comparable expletive. It is mostly a slang term and a profanity which means "nonsense", especially as a rebuke in response to communication or actions viewed as deceptive, misleading, disingenuous, unfair or false. As with many expletives, the term can be used as an interjection, or as many other parts of speech, and can carry a wide variety of meanings. A person who communicates nonsense on a given subject may be referred to as a "bullshit artist".
In philosophy and psychology of cognition the term "bullshit" is sometimes used to specifically refer to statements produced without particular concern of truth, to distinguish from a deliberate, manipulative lie intended to subvert the truth.
While the word is generally used in a deprecatory sense, it may imply a measure of respect for language skills or frivolity, among various other benign usages. In philosophy, Harry Frankfurt, among others, analyzed the concept of bullshit as related to, but distinct from, lying.
As an exclamation, "Bullshit!" conveys a measure of dissatisfaction with something or someone, but this usage need not be a comment on the truth of the matter.
- "Bullshit asymmetry principle" | 2018-10-10 | 85 Upvotes 37 Comments
The hypothesis of linguistic relativity, part of relativism, also known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis , or Whorfianism is a principle claiming that the structure of a language affects its speakers' world view or cognition, and thus people's perceptions are relative to their spoken language.
The principle is often defined in one of two versions: the strong hypothesis, which was held by some of the early linguists before World War II, and the weak hypothesis, mostly held by some of the modern linguists.
- The strong version says that language determines thought and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories.
- The weak version says that linguistic categories and usage only influence thought and decisions.
The principle had been accepted and then abandoned by linguists during the early 20th century following the changing perceptions of social acceptance for the other especially after World War II. The origin of formulated arguments against the acceptance of linguistic relativity are attributed to Noam Chomsky.
- "The reason why Blub programmers have such a hard time picking up more powerful languages." | 2007-09-29 | 7 Upvotes 28 Comments
Long-time nuclear waste warning messages are intended to deter human intrusion at nuclear waste repositories in the far future, within or above the order of magnitude of 10,000 years. Nuclear semiotics is an interdisciplinary field of research, first done by the Human Interference Task Force since 1981.
A 1996 report from Sandia National Laboratories recommended that any such message should comprise four levels of increasing complexity:
- Level I: Rudimentary Information: "Something man-made is here"
- Level II: Cautionary Information: "Something man-made is here and it is dangerous"
- Level III: Basic Information: Tells what, why, when, where, who, and how
- Level IV: Complex Information: Highly detailed written records, tables, figures, graphs, maps and diagrams
Colorless green ideas sleep furiously is a sentence composed by Noam Chomsky in his 1957 book Syntactic Structures as an example of a sentence that is grammatically correct, but semantically nonsensical. The sentence was originally used in his 1955 thesis The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory and in his 1956 paper "Three Models for the Description of Language". Although the sentence is grammatically correct, no obvious understandable meaning can be derived from it, and thus it demonstrates the distinction between syntax and semantics. As an example of a category mistake, it was used to show the inadequacy of certain probabilistic models of grammar, and the need for more structured models.
- "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" | 2021-02-06 | 15 Upvotes 18 Comments