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You Sure Like Each Other, Huh?

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Posted by Michael Levine on July 24, 2003 15:51:25 UTC

As for me, I have not yet understood what Dick's argument is about. He says physics has problems - no news to me. He says the meaning of words cannot be acquired from a dictionary - anyone who ever tried to learn a foreign language knows that. He says his perspective is so foreign that no one would listen to him - I believe we have all experienced that same feeling many times through our lives.

The only thing I noticed so far is that he seems to have enormous difficulties with the ambiguousness that is a vital part of human language. The story about his childhood experience with the teacher and the dictionary is strikingly curious. Most people seem to realize from a very early age that, in some strange sense, most sentences are lies (including this one... go figure!). Even tautologies can express a lie sometimes as in, for instance, "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do". That the popular saying can actually convey information, when it's not supposed to, reveals the fact that there's far more in a sentence than the words themselves. So it's only natural, to me and apparently to most people, that you should never use a word in its own definition, unless you have to.

Anyway, it's too premature for me to say much about someone I barely know. I hope he's not upset my with speculations.

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