Saturday, February 23, 2008

On the Very Idea of an Internet Meme

Well, not really, but in the spirit of procrastinating, I'll play along with this so-called meme, which has been evolving across some blogs here, here, and here (where I was tagged):
  1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
  2. Open the book to page 123
  3. Find the fifth sentence on that page
  4. Post the next three sentences
  5. Tag five people
And here is what we get. Donald Davidson's Essays on Actions and Events, and at page 123 we find:
I dream of a theory that makes the transition from the ordinary idiom to canonical notation purely mechanical, and a canonical notation rich enough to capture, in its dull and explicit way, every difference and connection legitimately considered the business of a theory of meaning. The point of canonical notation so conceived is not to improve on something left vague and defective in natural language, but to help elicit in a perspicuous and general form the understanding of logical grammar we all have that constitutes (part of) our grasp of our native tongue.

In exploring the logical form of sentences about actions and events, I concentrated on certain features of such sentences and neglected others.
I guess my dreams are are a bit more exciting than Davidson's. This is from some of his comments about his essay, "The Logical Form of Action Sentences." Davidson's book was not the first one I grabbed. Strawon's Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties was the obvious choice, but it only has 98 pages.

I hereby tag: Selbsttatigkeit, Carubou, Spontaneity&Receptivity, The Brooks Blog, and The Ends of Thought. Let's see what happens.

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