Context as Other Minds: The Pragmatics of Sociality, by Talmy Givon

By Talmy Givon

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Additional info for Context as Other Minds: The Pragmatics of Sociality, Cognition and Communication

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The leaf serves to shelter the pericarp, the pericarp to shelter the fruit, while the roots of plants are analogous to the mouth of animals, both serving for the absorption of food. If then we have to give a general formula applicable to all kinds of soul, we must describe it as an actuality of the first kind of a natural organized body. That is why we need to dismiss as unnecessary the question of whether the soul and the body are one: it is as though we were to ask whether the wax and its shape are one, or generally the matter of a thing and that of which it is the matter [.

TTC, 2) Anybody who has ever puzzled over the semantics of antonymic pairs could only applaud. 2. Plato/Socrates The inclusion of Plato/Socrates in the line of descent of Pragmatism is at first surprising, given other facets of both Plato and Platonism (see ch. 2). Still, we noted that in Hippias Major Plato/Socrates concedes the pragmatic, context-dependent nature of the antonymic concepts such as ‘fine’ and ‘foul’, invoking Heraclitus: Don’t you know that what Heraclitus said holds good: The finest of monkeys is foul when put together with another class, and the finest of pots is foul put together with the class of girls [.

C. S. Peirce,“Pragmatism in Retrospect: The Last Formulation”, in Buchler ed. 1. The mystics In the somewhat catty but still generous words quoted above, the founder of modern Pragmatism pays homage to his illustrious antecedents. These antecedents, however, go further back within Western tradition, to the pre-Socratic dialecticians. The dialecticians’ program involved first the observation that reality was unstable, forever in flux and changing from one context to the next. This is rendered most vividly in the celebrated two fragments from Heraclitus of Ephesos: The river where you set your foot just now is gone — those waters giving way to this, now this.

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