On English As The Language Of Ethics

(cross posted for archival purposes)

[E]nglish is a very precise and technical language. Probably the most empirically framed language we have. As such it’s burdensome. The verb “to-be” problem (the problem of ‘is’, and solved with E’) evolved and exists largely as an operational simplifier in an already burdensome language.

Secondly it’s an emotionally unloaded language – very german. And so we have to invent all sorts of devices to add emotion to an emotionally unloaded language. We used to do that with artistry – riddle, poetry, rhyme, insinuation, innuendo, and allegory. I think that with the rise of mass education, marketing, military and technical language, as well as cultural diversity those more artistic means of adding emotional content have been replaced by simplistic exaggeration and euphemism as you’ve mentioned above.

[N]ow, assuming that we want to eliminate mysticism, platonism, postmodernism, obscurantism, and various forms of loading and framing, so that we can construct a scientific language of ethics, morality, law and politics (a logic of cooperation), in which it is impossible to obscure involuntary transfers (thefts); and assuming that the performative theory of truth is correct and that it requires an individual to possess not only knowledge of use, but knowledge of construction; and assuming that with such knowledge one can, and must, and assuming that the only means by which we can test both transparency of transfers and and knowledge of construction, and therefore the only means of speaking honestly is with E’ in operational language; then the burden on the speaker is quite high. Extraordinarily so.

This set of ethical and moral constraints upon language of produces a few very interesting consequences:
(a) Because of that high burden, similar to the burden of memorization placed on ‘wise men’ in oral tradition societies, it severely limits the number of people who can participate in public discourse – effectively recreating our druidic ancestors.
(b) it makes it possible for anyone to prosecute obscurantists of all kinds for conspiracy to commit fraud, under the common law. Public intellectuals, attempted statists, lawyers, judges, and the common folk included.

Actually, I don’t think it’s possible to state a logic of ethical, moral, legal, and political argument in any language OTHER than English or German – and I’m not sure about German. (I only studied it for one year and I can’t speak it at all. I just understand its structure.)


Jeannine DiPerna, Michael Pattinson and Eric Field like this.

Curt Doolittle (hat tip to Paul Bakhmut)

    Two more thoughts:

    I don’t really care what languages we make use of but I only know how to solve the problem of obscurantism in English by relying upon E’, and operational language that demonstrates knowledge of construction – each step of which is open to subjective testing via sympathy as a test of involuntary transfer.

    The language not as important as the central observations that (a) this solution would reduce and create demand for, those who could demonstrate knowledge of construction and thereby avoid obscurantism. And (b) that it wold be possible to regulate such speech under the common law.


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