vulcanism

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jipno se kerlo

re mei re mei degji kakne


On SWism, la xod describes what, following his lead, And Rosta will call Vulcanism:

  • I caricature the opposite approach, which may or may not be hardlinerism but is certainly marked by a disdain for SW effects in preference for "logical" usage, seljvajvo, Gismu Deep Structure, and an overriding emphasis on semantic unambiguity (in addition to and distinct from grammatic unambiguity!) as a "plastic soul" dorky notion that spoken language can be significantly purified. Apart from resulting from excessive youthful adoration of Star Trek Vulcans and Ayn Rand, it is philosophically corrupt but can be cured with the sting of the harsh rod of Logical Positivism, whereby the student realizes that all spoken languages are hopelessly sloppy and can never be coerced into anything resembling a formal system. Give up your dream, kids: the vast majority of sentences contain ill-defined concepts and unprovable relationships (as distinct from those provable but unproven), and this includes Lojban and even Objectivist Scripture. If you want a formal system, look to mathematics. If Lojban could help you, jboske would be generating theorems instead of endless, muddled, circular debates, year after grinding year.

This caricature may apply to some, but I feel that it grossly (though not offensively) misrepresents or misunderstands my position, arch-jboskeist though I am.

  • a disdain for SW effects -- I vigorously champion metaphysical neutrality in Lojban; it should be consistent with any worldview, and linguistic devices that serve to express worldviews that we are unaccustomed to are especially welcome.
  • seljvajvo, Gismu Deep Structure -- neither of these have ever been discussed on Jboske or on Lojban list by the principal jboskeists. I disagree with the Gismu Deep Structure Hypothesis. As for jvajvo, I think the baseline has it right: it is a recommendation, to aid mutual comprehension, but not a rule.
  • an overriding emphasis on semantic unambiguity (in addition to and distinct from grammatic unambiguity!).
    1. In some respects -- chiefly tanru and zo'e -- Lojban is well-equipped to do vagueness, so vagueness doesn't have to be argued for. If there are areas of meaning where Lojban is incapable of allowing vagueness, then I favour creating mechanisms to allow vagueness in these areas. But semantic unambiguity is so precious because it is the one thing that a logical language offers that natural language doesn't, and it is the reason why I look beyond natural language to manmade ones. I do complain about logically sloppy usage, but only out of fear that logically sloppy usage in a Naturalistically evolving language will undermine the logical foundations. Sloppy usage in formal writing is much more reprehensible than in (written or oral) conversation.
    1. I don't believe in the distinction between semantic and grammatical ambiguity. I believe they are one and the same, even though the official Lojban line is that they are distinct.
  • it is philosophically corrupt but can be cured with the sting of the harsh rod of Logical Positivism, whereby the student realizes that all spoken languages are hopelessly sloppy and can never be coerced into anything resembling a formal system. Give up your dream, kids: the vast majority of sentences contain ill-defined concepts and unprovable relationships (as distinct from those provable but unproven), and this includes Lojban and even Objectivist Scripture. If you want a formal system, look to mathematics.
    1. Logic is that aspect of thought that does resemble a formal system. I believe that it is both possible and desirable for a language to be able express logical meanings unambiguously in a practical (i.e. adequately concise) way. Natural language is sloppy because it is no more precise than is necessary for successful communication. Since most communication is conversation among nonvulcans, it has not evolved to cater for the needs of vulcans or drafters of legal or philosophical texts.
    1. A logical language does not buy you an absence of ill-defined concepts, but it does fence ill-defined concepts into grammatically-delimited categories. Nor does it buy you a specific metaphysics or a mechanism for deducing truths. My motives for wanting a logical language are not a yearning for a particular philosophy but rather a simple desire to be able to unambiguously and explicitly say what I mean.
  • If Lojban could help you, jboske would be generating theorems instead of endless, muddled, circular debates, year after grinding year.
    1. To the very very limited extent that jboske is susceptible to deductive reasoning, jboske does generate theorems (of the sort "if X means F then Y must mean G"). Jboske has made many achievements so nowadays get taken for granted. Some made it into CLL; others have occurred since CLL. The debate is endless because there is so much to debate, but debates of particular issues drag on either because they are very difficult or because we have not created decent processes for recording the arguments. This means that we sometimes forget what has already been said, and newcomers are unable to find out what has already been said. This does lead to some circularity. But not every recurrence of a debate is circular; often progress is involved. (Consider lo'e which got settled Sept-Dec 2002, after many recurrences dating back at least 8 years.) The debates are muddled because we can't all be crystal clear all of the time. And the grindingness is sometimes due to a friction between certain participants; for A and B, debate can be grinding, while for A and C is can go with perfect smoothness.

--And Rosta