If a equals a (A=A) and a equals b (A=B), how come A=A ≠ A=B. What informs A through B which A doesn't inform itself?

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Tags: conundrum

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As for economists, don't get me started



I'm sitting back, just nodding my head in agreement.  I don't know that I'd say that philosophy is completely useless, but mostly out of politeness.

It's a semantic problem, and possibly epistemological as well.


I'll give you the wikipedia entry as a launch point if you decide you want to explore the issue further:  Sense and Reference - Gottlob Frege

Thanks Kris, Herr Frege is added to my "to read" list.

Even looks like Russell has taken a beating in that debate, which isn't commonplace. Btw, it's reminds me about the whole können/denken debate which don't have good immediate translations into English.

As a side note: In Norwegian it is kunne/tenke (from verbal German) and Sinnet/Betenkning. Especially interesting is Bedankung, since the most common usage of the word is when knowledge based game shows (i.e. $64k Question) contestants gets betenkningstid (concideration or thought time). Can't recall hearing such a phrase in English game shows I used to watch in my game show addicted youth. Time to concider is not exactly the same as concideration time, just as schooltime is not exactly the same as time for school. The derivational suffix '-tion' changes the meaning of the base word.

Btw, it's reminds me about the whole können/denken debate which don't have good immediate translations into English.


I've never heard of that as a debate.  Both words have a very literal translations into English, which should hold up in most contexts.

"which should hold up in most contexts."

I wouldn't say philosophical discourse would classefy as "most context". :)

That doesn't really matter. The debate should still be translatable under reasonable circumstances, or at least you should be able to provide some reference point.  I know I didn't use a question mark, but my previous statement should have been taken as a point of inquiry.

It truly matters because they are non-integrated into English:

foreign word = non-integrated word from a foreign language, spelt as is, e.g. E café (from French); Sp. whisk(e)y (from English) (*the word whisky/whiskey in fact comes from the Scots or Irish Gaelic phrase "uisce beatha" which is a calque of the Latin "aqua vitae", water of life); E weltanschauung (< G Weltanschauung); It. mouse ‘computer device’ (< E mouse ‘rodent; computer device’).

The words we hear first are the words we know the best meaning of because we have seen examples for more years than the ones we learn in high school. Especially foreign language words. It's more difficult to get your point across in another language because you botch the very meanings of words, or you have no relation. There are, literally, non-translatable words that you will never understand until someone shows you to it.

And that's why words matter because they have meaning that can't be expressed through translation. If we are speaking different languages, it makes it more diffult to understand eachother. Specific words for less than though out items are easy to translate, for those that involve behavior or actions.

 it's not.

You are missing the point.  These specific words are directly translatable into English.  They even happen to share the same etymological root without significant divergence in meaning from branching into modern German and modern English.


Even if not, I don't need you to protect me from the intricacies of language or translation.  I am asking for a simple reference point on where there is semantic contention between 'können' and 'denken'.  It doesn't matter if the reference is in German.  I simply need reference to the debate you mentioned and I can do the leg work from there.  If there is an actual debate, there should be some written reference that deals with it somewhere.

On second though, never mind.  I'll have my mother or some other native Germanophone clear it up for me.

You could just take this germanophone ESL person's opinion. But I'm sure your mother has a more valid opinion than me.

It's not about whose opinion is more valid; it's about who is going to address the question reasonably without patronizing me by pointlessly stating the obvious on language mechanics and translation issues.


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