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"There is nothing extravagant, spiritual, or mysterious in beginning to describe religious talk in this way. We are used to other, perfectly mundane forms of speech that are evaluated not by their correspondence with any state of affairs either, but by the quality of the interaction they generate from the way they are uttered. This experience—and experience is what we wish to share—is common in the domain of “love-talk” and, more largely, personal relations. “Do you love me?” is not assessed by the originality of the sentence—none are more banal, trivial, boring, rehashed—but rather by the transformation it manifests in the listener, as well as in the speaker. Information talk is one thing, transformation talk is another. When the latter is uttered, something happens. A slight displacement in the normal pace of things. A tiny shift in the passage of time. You have to decide, to get involved: maybe to commit yourselves irreversibly. We are not only undergoing an experience among others, but a change in the pulse and tempo of experience: kairos is the word the Greeks would have used to designate this new sense of urgency."

— Bruno Latour, “Thou Shall Not Freeze-Frame” or How Not to Misunderstand the Science and Religion Debate

(Source: bruno-latour.fr)

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"Wittgenstein shows not just that all language is vague, but that we should not deplore this fact. Vagueness is not necessarily a defect of language… No improvement is made by adding something to a signpost that removes a possible misunderstanding that nobody has. The adequacy of explanation is to be judged by everyday practical standards, not by some arcane theoretical ones. It is absence of agreement in a practice that is a defect of language, not the mere possibility that there might be irresolvable disagreements which never in fact arise. Wittgenstein seems to push the bidding even higher: that vagueness is impossible to eliminate even in principle and is indispensible to the efficient use of language for communication."

— GP Baker and PMS Hacker, Wittgenstein: Meaning and Understanding pp215-16

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"And we must always be particularly wary of the philosophical habit of dismissing some of (if not all) the ordinary uses of a word as ‘unimportant’, a habit which makes distortion practically unavoidable. For instance if we are going to talk about ‘real’, we must not dismiss as beneath contempt such humble but familiar expressions as ‘not real cream’; this may save us from saying, for example, or seeming to say that what is not real cream must be a fleeting product of our cerebral processes."

— J.L. Austin, Sense and Sensibilia p63-4

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Saying “I think…” is not just describing an inner state

Even if we take as half-way houses, say, ‘I hold that…’ as said by a non-juryman, or ‘I expect that…’, it seems absurd to suppose that all they describe or state is something about the speaker’s beliefs or expectations. To suppose this is rather the sort of Alice-in-Wonderland over-sharpness of taking ‘I think that p' as a statement about yourself which could be answered: 'That is just a fact about you.' ('I don't think…' began Alice: 'then you should not talk' said the Caterpillar, or whoever it was).

- J.L. Austin, How to Do Things With Words, p89-90

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"Philosophy is not an extension of science. It is not a kind of conceptual scullery maid for the sciences, as Locke supposed. Nor is it superior to the sciences – a super-science of all possible worlds, to be investigated by means of ‘thought-experiments’ from the comfort of the armchair, as contemporary revisionists suppose. (Thought-experiments are no more experiments than monopoly money is money.) It is, as Kant intimated, the Tribunal of Sense. So: back to the linguistic turn. The aim of philosophy is the clarification of the forms of sense that, in one way or another, are conceptually puzzling – for they are legion. The charge of philosophy – a Sisyphean labour, to be sure – is the extirpation of nonsense. There is, Heaven knows, enough of it, both in philosophy and in the empirical and a priori sciences. The prize is not more knowledge about anything. Rather it is a proper understanding of the structure and articulations of our conceptual scheme, and the disentangling of conceptual confusions."

— Peter Hacker, “Analytic Philosophy: Beyond the linguistic turn and back again”

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"Does philosophy not result in conceptual truths – and is that not a cognitive achievement? That would be misleading … these conceptual truths are not statements of fact. They are descriptions of normative connections within the web of concepts that constitute our form of representation. They are said to be true. Indeed, they are often said to be necessary truths. That, of course, is correct –- but misleading. Their truth is akin to that of the proposition that the king in chess moves one square at a time. What we realize when a philosophical insight dawns on us is a feature of our form of representation. We attain an understanding of the way in which our familiar modes of description of things hang together."

— Peter Hacker, “Philosophy: A contribution not to human knowledge, but to human understanding”

(Source: info.sjc.ox.ac.uk)

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"Havelock (1982) and Snell (l960) noted the ways that notions like *idea*, *mind*, and *word* developed and the ways in which words from the common vocabulary suddenly became the subject of analysis and reflection in classical Greek culture. Whereas for the Homeric Greeks notions like *justice* and *courage* were exemplified in the deeds of gods and hero, for the literate Greeks they became philosophical concepts. The writing system, Havelock argued, was partly responsible."

— David Olson, “How Writing Represents Speech”

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"Writing systems provide the concepts and categories for thinking about the structure of speech rather than the reverse. Awareness of linguistic structure is a product of a writing system, not a precondition for its development. If that is so it will not do to explain the evolution of writing as the attempt to represent linguistic structures such as sentences, words or phonemes for the simple reason that pre-writers had no such concepts… Writing systems are developed for mnemonic and communicative purposes but because they are ‘read’ they provide a model for language and thought. We introspect on language and mind in terms of the categories prescribed by our writing systems."

— David Olson, “How Writing Represents Speech”

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Languages are much more diverse in structure than cognitive scientists generally appreciate. A widespread assumption among cognitive scientists, growing out of the generative tradition in linguistics, is that all languages are English-like but with different sound systems and vocabularies. The true picture is very different: languages differ so fundamentally from one another at every level of description (sound, grammar, lexicon, meaning) that it is very hard to find any single structural property they share. The claims of Universal Grammar, we argue here, are either empirically false, unfalsifiable, or misleading in that they refer to tendencies rather than strict universals. 

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"Our language-game only works, of course, when a certain agreement prevails, but the concept of agreement does not enter into the language-game."

— Ludwig Wittgenstein, Zettel 430

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"The poet is someone who is permanently involved with a language that is dying and which he resurrects, not by giving it back some triumphant aspect but by making it return sometimes, like a specter or a ghost: the poet wakes up language and in order to really make the ‘live’ experience of this waking up, of this return to life of language, one has to be very close to the corpse of the language."

— Jacques Derrida (via sarahburgoyne)

(via deactiavtedhookedonsemiotics)

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"No, words are not made to designate things. They are there to situate us amongst things. If one sees them as designations, one demonstrates the most impoverished idea of language. And the most common. It is the combat, but as it always has been, of the poem against the sign. David against Goliath. Goliath, the sign."

— Henri Meschonnic, The Rhythm Party Manifesto (via sonofapritch)

(Source: thinkingverse.com, via deactiavtedhookedonsemiotics)

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"But is there not also the inexpressible? Yet what can it mean to say that there are facts that we cannot in principle express? That we are incapable even in the extended sense of expressing? What could debar us from expressing such facts? The limitations of our minds? Or the limitations of language? It is unclear that our language has limitations, if we understand its scope in the extended sense."

— Michael Dummett, Thought and Reality

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"If we misprepresent reality as we apprehend it as no more than a picture, then the reality as it is in intself of which we take ourselves to have a picture is a conception projected solely by analogy: it must be to reality as we apprehend it as a painting is to a painted landscape. We know what it is to view a real landscape; but a reality that we can never apprehend, because any apprehension of it will neccessarily be no more than a picture, is a phantasm produced by pushing analogy beyond its legitimate limits."

— Michael Dummet, Thought and Reality

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Philosophical Investigations #304

"But you will surely admit there is a difference between pain-behaviour accompanied by pain and pain-behaviour without any pain."

—Admit it? What greater difference could there be?

"And yet you again and again reach the conclusion that the sensation itself is nothing.”

—Not at all. It is not a something, but not a nothing either! The conclusion was only that a nothing would serve just as well as a something about which nothing could be said.