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Re: Pragmatic Hermeneutics

From: Jon Awbrey <jawbrey@oakland.edu>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 23:30:03 -0500
Message-ID: <3A6D08CB.C03CA4B2@oakland.edu>
To: Arisbe <arisbe@stderr.org>, Conceptual Graphs <cg@cs.uah.edu>, RDF Logic <www-rdf-logic@w3.org>, SemioCom <semiocom@listbot.com>, Dietrich Fischer <fischer@DARMSTADT.GMD.DE>, Mary Keeler <mkeeler@u.washington.edu>, Jack Park <jackpark@VERTICALNET.COM>, John F Sowa <sowa@bestweb.net>
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RDF Logic SIG:

Correcting a few typos in my last installment on this thread --
although they are obvious enough to any sort of a charitable
and/or reasonable interpreter, I fear that I must try to fix
them before a certain type of person seizes the opportunity
that is instanced by them to pounce on my infelicities of
expression in yet another of those off-list ambuscades
that I have come to expect from that direction --
and then moving on ...

Jon Awbrey wrote:
> 
> 才~~~~~~~~才~~~~~~~~才~~~~~~~~才~~~~~~~~才~~~~~~~~
> 
> RDF Logic SIG:
> 
> At the instance of an off-list querent regarding
> this author's intention, parentage, and state of
> mind in writing his most recent contributions to
> the PH-thesis that you find newly instanced here,
> I find myself instanced to add this new gloss to
> the preceding instances of the theme in question:
> 
> instance 'vt'
>   1 : to illustrate or demonstrate by an instance,
>   2 : to mention as a case or example : CITE.
> [Webster's]
> 
> Further, in accord with a very common and general, if a sometimes
> colloquially applied rule for transforming certain types of nouns
> into verbs, say, whereby "instanced" is easily understood, by any
> interpreter who choses to do so, as a rough but a brief semantic
> equivalent to the periphrastic formula "made an instance", the
> only question of interpretation then remaining is what sense
> of the noun "instance" might reasonably and/or charitably be
> expected to make the most fitting contribution of sense to
> the context in question.  So, one may consider this data:
> 
> instance 'n'
>   1a : (archaic) urgent or earnest solicitation,
>   1b : INSTIGATION, REQUEST,
>   2a : (archaic) EXCEPTION,
>   2b : an illustrative case,
>   2c : (obsolete) SIGN, TOKEN,
>   2d : (obsolete) CIRCUMSTANCE, DETAIL,
>   3  : the institution and prosecution of a lawsuit : SUIT,
>   4  : an event that is part of a process or series.
> [Webster's]
> 
> Given the inkling, that I imagine most folks hereabouts
> have probably gathered by now, that one of this author's
> missions in life is to recycle, to revive, and to reuse
> archaic and obsolete, but perfectly good senses of words --
> think of it as "software re-usability, the early years" --
> you may easily suspect that no sense of the term should
> go unturned in the pursuit of its most fitting meaning.
> 
> But I will no doubt try again,
> until I find a way to pose it
> that works for whatever forms
> of common sense abilities are
> the most prevailing ones here.
> 
> Like I said before, and will no doubt say again:
> It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.
>
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A friendly and reflective observer had already warned me
that this might happen, but of course I already knew that,
and still I did not feel that I had any other choices left,
so the best that I can do now is to offer you some additional
reasons why I think that I must try to continue under this new,
this strange, and this apparently all too inflammatory oriflamme.

So let me adapt to the current and the far more instigatory instance
the little bit of explanation that I gave for myself on the occasion
of another precursive but far less stinging or stigmatizing instance.

As to my choice of the phrase "pragmatic hermeneutics" (PH):

Believe me, this was a desperate measure! --
my druthers have always been just to call
the whole thing "pragmatics", but folks who
have read no more than an excerpt or two of
Morris have rendered my preferences here quite
impossible to actualize in these "modern times".

And you can see from the dates on my assembled excerpts,
how well it went over in the SUO forum, and how long it
took me to work up the nerve to try this strategy again.

And now that I have shifted from my ontological and substantial foot,
so bruised and blistered, to my instrumental and methodological foot --
did you know that the muscles that we use for lifting our feet are
called "abductor muscles"!? -- well, the prevailing dogma is back
again and nipping at my heels, and aided to boot by the fact that
I cannot use any of my favorite words without being inundated by
the "sea of troubles" that is constantly being refilled by the
periodic remodulations of this modern "horror of history" (HOH),
and in which tide of confusions our modern decadence is ever so 
ultimately-periodically threatening to drown itself and its kin.

Now, I am not trying to characterize Peirce's entire philosophy,
for which the name of "self-critical common-sensism" aptly fits,
and yet, as you probably already suspect, is not likely to sound
flashy enough to fire up the Youth, but I am only trying to find
a way of keeping before the "sensus communis" more than one facet
of a sign relation at a time, namely:

1.  There is the "denotative" aspect, for which I would use "semantic"
    if I could, but I am prevented by self-styled "Fregeans" who have
    apparently never bothered to read Frege, or not with very much
    care to read what he actually wrote, or as I see it, at least.

2.  There is the "connotative" aspect, for which I have tried to use "semiotic",
    on account of its connotations of "process", but I failed miserably at this.

And my choices are informed a bit by the knowledge that at least a few
brave souls in the computer science community have begun to warm up to
the psyche-promptings of the divine messenger that we blazon as Hermes.
And if I cannot get people to remember all of what "pragma" originally
meant, before the Romans butchered it all to bits in their precursory
circuses of the intellect, indifferent to all of its joints, to all
of its muscles, and to all of its essentially tensioned tendons,
well, then the whole Enterprise is probably doomed, anyway.

Oh well, I do not imagine that it will be the last thing that I try!

And with all further adieu,
I wish to get back to work,

Jon Awbrey

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Received on Monday, 22 January 2001 23:32:24 GMT

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