language

Philosophy News | The Gettier Problem: A Study

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Philosophy News | The Gettier Problem: A Study.

I haven't read this yet, but my take on "Gettier" problems is that they break on the issue of "justified" rather than "belief". (And further that the break is so obvious that the seriousness with which they are discussed undermines my respect for the discipline of academic philosophy.) Basically, that the justification required to qualify a belief as knowledge is a lot stronger than that required to protect the believer from censure as intellectually irresponsible. Will read further and maybe comment more later. ...more »

Born on a Blue Day

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Coincidentally I read 'Born on a Blue day' just yesterday - i.e. one day before zac at squareCircleZ posted his summary review - (having been led to the order the book after watching a video posted - also at SqCZ I think - a couple of months ago). My only difference with the review is that I would reverse what Zac says about the last quarter and the finale. (And anyone who reads any of my views about climate etc may rightly suspect that I couldn't help having reservations about the breeding practices of Daniel's parents - admirable though their parenting may have been.)

Standards of Accuracy?

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Toronto Star reporter Lesley Ciarula Taylor took issue with the idea of a language test for immigrants, citing a silly question about whether standard-of-living should be said to increase or to rise, but blogger Brett disputes the source of the question. Arnold Zwicky clearly doesn't understand how to evaluate sources. The question was reported in print in a newspaper with professional writers and editors, so it must be real. That the denial comes in a mere "blog" makes it inherently less credible. If Zwicky had taken the trouble to read the real book 'Cult of the Amateur' written by Andrew Keen he would have understood this and could have joined happily in the chorus of dismay about the silly test question.
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Grammar Needs Abandoned?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Columnist Jan Freeman defends the habit, common in some regions, of using the past participle in place of the gerund or infinitive phrase - ie saying "t'lawn needs cut" rather than "the lawn needs to be cut".

The main issue here is that the past participle is an adjective and the problem with using an adjective as a noun is that we seem to have a built in syntax checker that works independent of semantics. So if in "I work fed" the adjective applies to the subject, then it should also do so in "I need fed", which therefore means that after being fed I apparently still need something else!

... of course the fact that in English the gerund (noun) has the same form as the present participle (adjective) also needs fixing - and if Jack was hungry when he got to the top of the beanstalk he would be as leery of saying "I need eating" as of "I need eaten". I do like eating though....

But it should be clear by now that I don't need confused since I already am!

Times Less

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

In Do the math - The Boston Globe columnist Jan Freeman dismisses objections to the common usage of "three times less than" to mean equal to one third of.

But the Merriam-Webster editors (per JF) are completely off base if they claim that "times less" has never been misunderstood. ...more »

Even the New Yorker Gets it Wrong

Friday, July 27th, 2007

ok, This may be a picayune comment in the context of a serious issue, but in David Remnick's Letter from Jerusalem: The Apostate: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker he refers to Avram Burg's "flouting of the fact that he holds a French passport". Of course the common ignorami more often go the other way and have angry demonstrators "flaunting authority" so at least favouring the more hi-toned word is consistent with the New Yorker's self-perceived station in the world. But perhaps this flaunting of editorial incompetence may encourage others to flaut the magazine's presumed authority.