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The meaning of terms

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  • Hugh Bygott
    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
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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
      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:

      (a) When I am dead, I am dead.
      (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, Bashô,
      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
      "dead body."]

      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]
    • lbolenyc
      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
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        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:
        >
        > (a) When I am dead, I am dead.
        > (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, Bashô,
        > 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
        > "dead body."]
        >
        > 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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