The meaning of terms

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• Dear Larry and Gabi Some terms are precisely defined in specialist fields. Some terms have variable meanings across languages. Does anyone disagree that both
Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1, 2006
Dear Larry and Gabi

Some terms are precisely defined in specialist fields. Some terms have
variable meanings across languages. Does anyone disagree that both
these statements are true?

I was careless in using the term trivial. It has a special meaning in
philosophy. To see how this comes about, we need to look at four other
terms used in philosophy. These are contingent, necessary, analytic,
and synthetic. The first pair concern the status of being, and the
second pair concern a classification of statements. With two items in
the first group and two items in the second group, we have four
mathematical possibilities.

(1) analytic and contingent
(2) analytic and necessary
(3) synthetic and contingent
(4) synthetic and necessary

Here are some examples. Of course, they are all statements since one
of the groups is used to classify statements.

(A) The Pacific Ocean is larger than the Atlantic Ocean.

This is an empirical fact. It can be established as true by studying
both oceans. This is synthetic and contingent.

(B) Black cats are black. This is analytic and necessary. You don't
have to go around testing all black cats to see if you find a black cat
that is not black. This is what philosophers call a trivial statement.
It is not a VALUE judgement.

Now we may have trouble finding examples of the other two possibilities.

If analytic means being able to see whether a statement is true by
examining the statement alone, we are not going to be able to get an
example of class (1) since contingent is related to our experience.

The really interesting class is (4) Kant made a great study of this
type. I think that he is right. His well-known example is:

Every event has a cause.

This is not trivial. It cannot be seen to be true by examining the
statement alone. You have to experience events. David Hume, disputed
this idea. He claimed that all you can observe is one event later than
another.

I was using trivial as applied to Shiki's first death haiku in the
sense that philosophers use the term.
If "hotoke" only means "a dead body" then two implied statements from
the haiku are:

(b) When I am dead, my body will be filled with phlegm.

The first statement is analytic and necessary. It is a true statement.
The second statement is synthetic and contingent. It is a false
statement.

If "hotoke" means a new Buddha in the spiritual sense, then the matter
is quite different. Having read many of Shiki's haiku, I am convinced
that Shiki's relation to religious belief is quite ambiguous. I
decided to open the series, Twentieth Century Japanese Philosophical
Haiku with Shiki since he wrote the poem in 1902. I thought that Shiki
may have thought that his earlier views about life after death were
mistaken. Perhaps there is a spiritual life.
I chose Shiki's haiku because I thought it was not trivial, in the
philosopher's sense of the word. I said nothing about the sadness of
Shiki's death circumstances that suggested that the circumstances were
trivial in the non-philosopher's use of the term. [I wonder Larry, if
you could collect together some of the other death haiku, BashÃ´,
Chiyo-ni, Buson, Issa and others. I would like to believe that
Shiki's is also there, in the sense that "hotoke" does not simply mean

Now let use turn to Hisajo's dark Buddha. It is easy to find many
examples of buddhas sculptured in dark stone or becoming dark when wet.
Is that what Hisajo meant? I put her two haiku together in the
context of her religious thinking. What is the time sequence here? Is
the Dark Buddha haiku before or after the Loneliness after Reading the
Bible haiku? What do these haiku really mean?

Returning at last to Blyth, there is a serious problem in haiku
poetics. Why should anyone believe that haiku are not poems as James
Kirkup and Patricia Donegan believe? Why should anyone believe that
abstract thought and emotion do not belong to haiku as Blyth does? Is
modern haiku poetics in disarray?

I agree absolutely with Shiki's belief that haiku are part of serious
literature.

Hugh Bygott
________________________________________________________________________
________________

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
• Dear Hugh, Plato was right to banish poets and poetry from the ideal Republic, since we are such illogical thinkers, Aristotle s arguments notwithstanding. As
Message 2 of 2 , Aug 1, 2006
Dear Hugh,

Plato was right to banish poets and poetry from the ideal Republic,
since we are such illogical thinkers, Aristotle's arguments
notwithstanding.

As Plato pointed out, not only do poets lie, but they "lie in an ugly
fashion"!

Shiki, for one, was SUCH a lier!

the gourd flowers bloom,
but look--here lies
a phlegm-stuffed Buddha! (tr. Beichman)

Indeed! I say to Shiki, "Lier, lier, pants on fire, tongue as long as
a telephone wire..." LOL

Larry

--- In translatinghaiku@yahoogroups.com, Hugh Bygott <hughbyg@...>
wrote:
>
> Dear Larry and Gabi
>
> Some terms are precisely defined in specialist fields. Some terms
have
> variable meanings across languages. Does anyone disagree that
both
> these statements are true?
>
> I was careless in using the term trivial. It has a special meaning
in
> philosophy. To see how this comes about, we need to look at four
other
> terms used in philosophy. These are contingent, necessary,
analytic,
> and synthetic. The first pair concern the status of being, and
the
> second pair concern a classification of statements. With two items
in
> the first group and two items in the second group, we have four
> mathematical possibilities.
>
> (1) analytic and contingent
> (2) analytic and necessary
> (3) synthetic and contingent
> (4) synthetic and necessary
>
> Here are some examples. Of course, they are all statements since
one
> of the groups is used to classify statements.
>
> (A) The Pacific Ocean is larger than the Atlantic Ocean.
>
> This is an empirical fact. It can be established as true by
studying
> both oceans. This is synthetic and contingent.
>
> (B) Black cats are black. This is analytic and necessary. You
don't
> have to go around testing all black cats to see if you find a black
cat
> that is not black. This is what philosophers call a trivial
statement.
> It is not a VALUE judgement.
>
> Now we may have trouble finding examples of the other two
possibilities.
>
> If analytic means being able to see whether a statement is true by
> examining the statement alone, we are not going to be able to get
an
> example of class (1) since contingent is related to our experience.
>
> The really interesting class is (4) Kant made a great study of
this
> type. I think that he is right. His well-known example is:
>
> Every event has a cause.
>
> This is not trivial. It cannot be seen to be true by examining
the
> statement alone. You have to experience events. David Hume,
disputed
> this idea. He claimed that all you can observe is one event later
than
> another.
>
> I was using trivial as applied to Shiki's first death haiku in the
> sense that philosophers use the term.
> If "hotoke" only means "a dead body" then two implied statements
from
> the haiku are:
>
> (b) When I am dead, my body will be filled with phlegm.
>
> The first statement is analytic and necessary. It is a true
statement.
> The second statement is synthetic and contingent. It is a false
> statement.
>
> If "hotoke" means a new Buddha in the spiritual sense, then the
matter
> is quite different. Having read many of Shiki's haiku, I am
convinced
> that Shiki's relation to religious belief is quite ambiguous. I
> decided to open the series, Twentieth Century Japanese
Philosophical
> Haiku with Shiki since he wrote the poem in 1902. I thought that
Shiki
> may have thought that his earlier views about life after death
were
> mistaken. Perhaps there is a spiritual life.
> I chose Shiki's haiku because I thought it was not trivial, in the
> philosopher's sense of the word. I said nothing about the sadness
of
> Shiki's death circumstances that suggested that the circumstances
were
> trivial in the non-philosopher's use of the term. [I wonder Larry,
if
> you could collect together some of the other death haiku, BashÃ´,
> Chiyo-ni, Buson, Issa and others. I would like to believe that
> Shiki's is also there, in the sense that "hotoke" does not simply
mean
>
> Now let use turn to Hisajo's dark Buddha. It is easy to find many
> examples of buddhas sculptured in dark stone or becoming dark when
wet.
> Is that what Hisajo meant? I put her two haiku together in
the
> context of her religious thinking. What is the time sequence
here? Is
> the Dark Buddha haiku before or after the Loneliness after Reading
the
> Bible haiku? What do these haiku really mean?
>
> Returning at last to Blyth, there is a serious problem in haiku
> poetics. Why should anyone believe that haiku are not poems as
James
> Kirkup and Patricia Donegan believe? Why should anyone believe
that
> abstract thought and emotion do not belong to haiku as Blyth
does? Is
> modern haiku poetics in disarray?
>
> I agree absolutely with Shiki's belief that haiku are part of
serious
> literature.
>
> Hugh Bygott
>
______________________________________________________________________
__
> ________________
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>
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