Monday, August 04, 2008

Today's must read ...

... Thought Experiment. (I just checked one of my email accounts, and see that Dave Lull not only sent me a link to Bryan's post, but also thought I might have something to say about it.)

As I have said before, journalism lures one into an illusion of knowledge which, as the years go by, is increasingly undermined by one's increasing awareness of great ignorance.

This is true, but only of really good journalists like Bryan. And really good journalists are, of course, in the minority.

If he were to say 'I have a pain', then his accuracy would be unchallengeable by any authority, even though, as Wittgenstein pointed out, the grammar of the sentence is wrong; it should be something like, 'There is a pain in the room.'

Wittgenstein may have pointed this out, but that doesn't make it true. And I don't think it is true.

It is necessary to act as if truth is possible. This is a form of faith and, I suspect, the reason the personal has become so fashionable is because people find such faith increasingly hard or unacceptable. The personal, in short, is the secular.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "There is a pain in the room" though is about as useful as saying there is a pain in the universe. If we are using language with the intent of what is said signifying some specific localised sense of reality, "I have a pain" defeats the room statement by an, if not infinite, enormously finite distance. The room staetment obviously needing much qualification before it starts to become a reasonable linguistic vehichle for the desired phenomenon. If for some reason we required a variant on the language, perhaps "There is a pain in the body, which for convenience sake "I" call mine," or alternatively "I experience a pain." One is unlikely to meet too many people confused by the use of I in the given statement.