11
   

if a lion could speak, we couldn't understand it

 
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 06:58 am
@thack45,
thack45 wrote:
I'm sure Wittgenstein had some higher philisophical point here, but if a lion could speak, it would never be inclined to say anything as it does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion, and it would never seek to exploit the emotion of others as that is what speech does.
To START with anyway,
let's take cognizance of the fact that, like ALL mammals,
lions can be only male or female; hence the neuter gender pronoun
is the only one that is ridiculous. That is the pronoun that we know is rong.





David
thack45
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 07:15 am
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

thack45 wrote:
I'm sure Wittgenstein had some higher philisophical point here, but if a lion could speak, it would never be inclined to say anything as it does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion, and it would never seek to exploit the emotion of others as that is what speech does.
To START with anyway,
let's take cognizance of the fact that, like ALL mammals,
lions can be only male or female; hence the neuter gender pronoun
is the only one that is ridiculous. That is the pronoun that we know is rong.





David
I'm sorry... What? Confused
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 07:32 am
Thack45 wrote:
I'm sorry... What?

It takes an exceptionally endowed brain to understand these Mensa guys...
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 07:35 am
@thack45,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

thack45 wrote:
I'm sure Wittgenstein had some higher philisophical point here, but if a lion could speak, it would never be inclined to say anything as it does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion, and it would never seek to exploit the emotion of others as that is what speech does.
To START with anyway,
let's take cognizance of the fact that, like ALL mammals,
lions can be only male or female; hence the neuter gender pronoun
is the only one that is ridiculous. That is the pronoun that we know is rong.





David
thack45 wrote:
I'm sorry... What? Confused
It is illogical to refer to a living mammal using the pronoun "it".





David
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 07:45 am
@OmSigDAVID,
Very well. I'll submit my edited reply here:
thack45 wrote:

I'm sure Wittgenstein had some higher philisophical point here, but if a lion could speak, a lion would never be inclined to say anything as a lion does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion, and a lion would never seek to exploit the emotion of others as that is what speech does.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 08:43 am
Not having read much Wittgenstein, I can only surmise that his point is similar to Thomas Nagel's in his essay "What is it Like to be a Bat?" -- i.e. we couldn't understand a talking lion because we can't understand what it's like to be a lion. Since language is shaped by culture, and a lion's culture is totally alien to us, we wouldn't be able to understand its language, in much the same way that we can't imagine what it would be like to be a bat -- the best we can do is imagine what it would be like for a human to have bat-like characteristics.
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 10:30 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
Since language is shaped by culture, and a lion's culture is totally alien to us, we wouldn't be able to understand its language, in much the same way that we can't imagine what it would be like to be a bat
Let's take the example of Sawney Bean, regardless of whether or not, historically, there was a Sawney Bean, we have a choice:
1) we are part of his culture and could understand his language
2) we are irreconcilably separate from his culture but could understand his language
3) something else.
What's your position?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 10:34 am
@ughaibu,
Who the hell is Sawney Bean?
Francis
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 10:43 am
@joefromchicago,
Sawney Bean
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 11:32 am
@Francis,
Many thanks, Francis. Up until now I had been blissfully ignorant of the Sawney Bean story. I'm much more of an Alferd Packer man myself.

Now, to ughaibu's question:

ughaibu wrote:
Let's take the example of Sawney Bean, regardless of whether or not, historically, there was a Sawney Bean, we have a choice:
1) we are part of his culture and could understand his language
2) we are irreconcilably separate from his culture but could understand his language
3) something else.
What's your position?

I doubt that Sawney Bean was so isolated in his cave that he was completely separate from Scottish society or that he and his clan had developed their own language or means of communicating. As such, my guess is that (1) is the best option, with the proviso that no one from the 15th or 16th century could, strictly speaking, be a part of our current culture. Nevertheless, speaking to a human from 1500 would still be easier than speaking to a lion from the present.
ughaibu
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 11:39 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
my guess is that (1) is the best option, with the proviso that no one from the 15th or 16th century could, strictly speaking, be a part of our current culture. Nevertheless, speaking to a human from 1500 would still be easier than speaking to a lion from the present.
Okay, but it doesn't reduce to a question of culture, in that case.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 11:41 am
@thack45,
thack45 wrote:

Very well. I'll submit my edited reply here:
thack45 wrote:

I'm sure Wittgenstein had some higher philisophical point here,
but if a lion could speak, a lion would never be inclined to say anything as a lion does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion, and a lion would never seek to exploit the emotion of others as that is what speech does.

Is there evidence that lions r incapable of emotion ??
That seems unlikely.

I dispute the premise that:
" . . . a lion does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion. . .".





David
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 04:20 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

thack45 wrote:

Very well. I'll submit my edited reply here:
thack45 wrote:

I'm sure Wittgenstein had some higher philisophical point here,
but if a lion could speak, a lion would never be inclined to say anything as a lion does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion, and a lion would never seek to exploit the emotion of others as that is what speech does.

Is there evidence that lions r incapable of emotion ??
That seems unlikely.

I dispute the premise that:
" . . . a lion does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion. . .".





David
To be clear, I don't mean for this to be anything more that a light-hearted conversation (my last post reads rather a-holeish). Embarrassed It is also a little ridiculous (and off topic), but what are gonna do? Laughing

I don't know if there is evidence for or against lions having emotion but I don't see any indication. What is an example?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 04:47 pm
@thack45,
thack45 wrote:

OmSigDAVID wrote:

thack45 wrote:

Very well. I'll submit my edited reply here:
thack45 wrote:

I'm sure Wittgenstein had some higher philisophical point here,
but if a lion could speak, a lion would never be inclined to say anything as a lion does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion, and a lion would never seek to exploit the emotion of others as that is what speech does.

Is there evidence that lions r incapable of emotion ??
That seems unlikely.

I dispute the premise that:
" . . . a lion does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion. . .".





David
To be clear, I don't mean for this to be anything more that a light-hearted conversation (my last post reads rather a-holeish). Embarrassed It is also a little ridiculous (and off topic), but what are gonna do? Laughing

I don't know if there is evidence for or against lions having emotion but I don't see any indication. What is an example?


I once stood in front of a lion cage and one of the lions began to roar at me, and make as to leap at me. I'll tell you, that lion clearly was not friendly.
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 07:53 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:

thack45 wrote:

I don't know if there is evidence for or against lions having emotion but I don't see any indication. What is an example?


I once stood in front of a lion cage and one of the lions began to roar at me, and make as to leap at me. I'll tell you, that lion clearly was not friendly.
All right. Good point. But what if that lion could speak? What would be necessary for him to be compelled to do so?

Maybe it isn't emotion - or cognitive emotion(?) - at all. But that lion would have to be aware of another's awarness in order to be inclined to speak. Right?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 07:59 pm
@thack45,
thack45 wrote:

kennethamy wrote:

thack45 wrote:

I don't know if there is evidence for or against lions having emotion but I don't see any indication. What is an example?


I once stood in front of a lion cage and one of the lions began to roar at me, and make as to leap at me. I'll tell you, that lion clearly was not friendly.
All right. Good point. But what if that lion could speak? What would be necessary for him to be compelled to do so?

Maybe it isn't emotion - or cognitive emotion(?) - at all. But that lion would have to be aware of another's awarness in order to be inclined to speak. Right?


The issue of this thread is Wittgenstein's view that lions cannot speak. But you are supposing they can, and asking how he could do it. What would we understand by the idea of a lion speaking? We have to settle that first. A human voice coming out of a lion saying something like, "What a lovely evening"? What are you imagining, and does what you are imagining make sense?
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 08:07 pm
@thack45,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

thack45 wrote:

Very well. I'll submit my edited reply here:
thack45 wrote:

I'm sure Wittgenstein had some higher philisophical point here,
but if a lion could speak, a lion would never be inclined to say anything as a lion does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion, and a lion would never seek to exploit the emotion of others as that is what speech does.

Is there evidence that lions r incapable of emotion ??
That seems unlikely.

I dispute the premise that:
" . . . a lion does not seem to possess the capacity of emotion. . .".





David
thack45 wrote:
To be clear, I don't mean for this to be anything more that a light-hearted conversation (my last post reads rather a-holeish). Embarrassed It is also a little ridiculous (and off topic), but what are gonna do? Laughing

I don't know if there is evidence for or against lions having emotion but I don't see any indication.



What is an example?
I 'm not an expert on lions,
but I 've seen them express emotion, to wit:

1. threatening anger

and

2. friendly good will.

No surprize there; my own cats n dogs have shown plenty of emotions -- clear n unmistakeable.

Tho thay r not able to pronounce English words,
thay HAVE figured out ways to communicate their tacit ideas.


I am perfectly confident in asserting
that if a lion were endowed with the power to speak English,
he 'd address matters of concern to his comfort n contentment,
e.g., questions of food n water (or such other beverages as appeal to his taste) n where r the (leonine) chicks hanging around?





David
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 09:23 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:

jeeprs wrote:
welll if you can handle some input from someone not at all well read in Wittgenstein, what I would say he is commenting on is the 'human' nature of our reality. You might assume that the world is just given, just is as it is, but in fact, it is as it is to us with the particular types of senses we have, and the types of intentions we have towards it. A lion represents such a wholly different type of consciousness-of-the-world that if.....and so on.

As I say, that is probably not the answer of someone well read in Wittgenstein, but it is my intepretation of what the statement means.
The basic needs of lions r the same as ours:
water, food n air, etc. If we knew what thay were saying,
presumably their comments woud relate thereto.

Additionally, their plans must relate to co-ordinating hunting tactics
and social commentaries among themselves.





David


I bet they do a lot of back-biting, too.
0 Replies
 
Im Confused
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jul, 2010 09:57 pm
thanks to all for the fascinating input

I've never got to grips with Wittgenstein, but he does know how to get a debate going

it is fascinating that despite being surrounded by humans for hundreds of years now that apes, be they in zoos or safari parks or wherever, have shown no progress in picking up our language AFAIK

although i believe under 'laboratory conditions', some types of communication have emerged with some chimpanzees

it seems to defy common sense that we could never understand a talking lion, but 'common sense' is far from perfect in its understanding of the world.

OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Jul, 2010 06:54 am
@Im Confused,
Im Confused wrote:

thanks to all for the fascinating input

I've never got to grips with Wittgenstein, but he does know how to get a debate going

it is fascinating that despite being surrounded by humans for hundreds of years now that apes,
be they in zoos or safari parks or wherever, have shown no progress in picking up our language AFAIK

although i believe under 'laboratory conditions', some types of communication have emerged
with some chimpanzees

it seems to defy common sense that we could never understand a talking lion,
but 'common sense' is far from perfect in its understanding of the world.


I don 't see a problem:
if the lion coud speak, then he 'd express his desires,
e.g. for food n water, reasonable temperature, etc.

We know that he is interested in these from observation
of his behavior in Nature.





David
 

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