May 1, 2010

Damn you, Aristotle

"If our language is full of two-valued terms, like "up"/"down," "black"/"white," "good"/"bad," "either"/"or," "always"/"never," then will we not inevitably begin to think in such terms? Will we not perceive the universe itself, and human beings, and values, as being this or that, yes or no, A or Not-A, with only two choices possible? And--the universe, human beings, and value being rather more slippery and less divisible than that--will we not inevitably come to misunderstand, oversimplify, and reduce what we perceive?"

From How Language Works.

1 comment:

  1. Thought provoking...says a lot about how culture and language guide our perceptions of things, and how sometimes, immerse ourselves for years and process as we will, we can't slip into another culture or language and feel it the way a native can. Something to bear in mind. Interesting.


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