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November 15, 2005


Hey -- love the literary discussion about the many ways to say snow in Eskimo or lie in our lingo.

There is an interesting point here. I don't know any eskimo words (or Inuet or Aluet -- sorry to be culturally imprecise), so I cannot point to any examples. But the concept is that whereas one people culturally do not bother to develop complex lingo for a phenomena, others do. And its handy to have more precise words.

As for snow, having done a fair amount of mountaineering, I know the importance of understanding and having words for the many different appearances of snow. English has a few, though we are mostly reduced to identifying types of snow (i.e., rotten snow or corn snow).

One good example -- sastruggi, which we had to borrow from another language.

I would guess eskimos have many words of the sastruggi type, but I don't know.

As for lying, I think the key point is words that distinguish between the various mental states of the speaker of false words -- ones that specify the levels of motivation for the falsehood, which is what really matters about lying. The English language seems to be short in this area, as opposed to many ways of saying "falsehood."

I am indebted to past posters (which, I unfortunately cannot credit by name due to faulty memory) pointing out this (Frankfurt) or this, which makes the point and suggests "bullshit" as a stand in for a type of common falsehood that seems different from the normal concept of lying.

But I think the Bushies get credit for the full blown variety -- the deliberate spouting of phony baloney with the specific intent to deceive the listeners into believing and acting in reliance on their garbage.

Beats me. I have as little idea of your priorities there as you have of what the priorities are of folks you disagree with.

My priorities: I am for a smaller, sustained War on Terrorism (and against Baathists, Taliban, Hezbollah, and Hamas, etc.), that I think is being fought at this time and can be "won", rather than the armegeddon type war that I think is a real possiblity.

I am also in favor of the Typepad war against "automated robots", by the way.

"But before taking the substantial risk to life that is inherent in any war, mass slaughter should be taking place or imminent."

Which does bring to mind the fact that we're all nicely morally non-involved in fighting in Darfur (among a variety of places I could name). Does that make everyone feel morally comfortable?

We're not fighting. Is that sufficient to be morally correct?

As I just said over here:

But I wish people would make no mistake: whether you were for the war in 2003, or against it, or agonizingly ambivalent, you were in favor of people dying terribly. It's just a matter of picking which grouping of people would so die,, and trying to judge which would be worse. Those are the only choices there were. None were morally innocent, and I've never understood how any were morally pure, and something to be nothing but purely confident in the moral righteousness of it. I've never understood how any of the choices were morally pure.

Which is why I tend to lack sympathy with anyone, whatever their position about Iraq in 2003, who is particularly morally righteous about their stance. I don't see how anyone is entitled.

Because whatever you were for, innocent people were going to die horribly. That's not something I see as something to be morally righteous at others about, no matter how much one think's of their own opinion and wisdom over the obvious stupidity of those with a different view.

Not the best phrasing, but, you know, fresh.

Gary links to a very good thread currently at 280 comments about the justifications for the Iraq war. Recommended.

"It may not be most useful to regard, consider, or speak of "the administration" as a homogenous entity with a single mind. More useful might be discussing those individuals whose views controlled, and what they believed, although determining what anyone actually believes is a bit problematic."

Gary, this level of required precision is somewhat intimidating, and I contend would make posting, commenting, and most political discourse too difficult to be useful.

Attribution missing. The above of 3:21 GF at unfogged in the thread Gary linked at 1:21.

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