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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: November ::
Re: Politics and Interpretation
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0825.  Wednesday, 13 November 1996.

(1)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Nov 1996 19:34:16 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0820 Politics

(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Nov 1996 22:15:20 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0815  Re: Interpretation


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 Nov 1996 19:34:16 -0800
Subject: 7.0820 Politics
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0820 Politics

Sydney Kasten wrote

> Locomotion does not require the rhythms and the sequences of dance to
> be useful and language does not require narrative.  Thus human modes
> of movement display an innate capacity do construct dance and
> "languages do -in fact- display an innate ability to construct
> narratives"

Dances are made of movement and narratives are made of language. But it's not a
'fact' to rephrase this into the assertion "movements do -in fact- display an
innate ability to construct dances" if you've defined dances as being made of
movement. It really is called tautology. Honestly.

Earlier in the same posting, Kasten wrote

> I would submit that the greater part of human intercourse,
> including the volumes of opinion and information exchanged
> on this list comprise some form of language distinct from
> narrative.

Of course. But if narrative was NOT POSSIBLE in this communication, it would
not be language we were doing. So, Bishop's "fact" that all human societies
construct narratives is tautology because we would not call them societies if
they did not use language and we would not call it language if it couldn't be
made in narrative. Presumably being aphasic is horrible precisely because one
is cut off from human society by the loss of narrative-making ability. 'I am
the person who....' is a narrative which I need to be able to tell myself.

Tom Bishop asks:

> If we deny that Basic is a sort of language (a computer langauge)
> what are we to make of our impulse to call it one in the first place?
> Were we wrong? Joking? Stupid?

We were making a metaphor. If BASIC was really a language, programming
computers would be as easy as instructing assistants.

Gabriel Egan

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 12 Nov 1996 22:15:20 -0500
Subject: 7.0815  Re: Interpretation
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0815  Re: Interpretation

Tom Bishop writes:

> My visual
>cortex (and most other people's) is very good at distinguishing edges, changes
>in contour, color and so forth, particularly where faces are concerned.
>Neurology can explain this process in detail. I suppose one could call this
>hard-wired neurological activity "interpretation", but I'm reluctant to use
>that term because I find it conflates it with a much more deliberate and
>conscious activity which seems to me qualitatively different.  I'm inclined to
>want to say that "interpretation" proper arises when there is a puzzle,
>question or dispute (this can be at any stage of perception), but that failing
>any puzzle what we have is better named "perception". I do not "interpret" my
>mother's face at the breakfast table, unless I'm unsure how she's feeling today
>and want to know.  Otherwise I merely perceive and recognize my mother.

Norm Holland disguises this phenomenon in terms of looping.  See, e.g., Norm's
_The I_, Chapter 6: A Model of Mind.  Of course, identifying a rock is
different from analyzing a passage of complex poetry and reaching a judgment as
to its literary quality, but both procedures are accomplished by using the
human perceptual systems.

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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