[Milton-L] Word and Thing
cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Thu Oct 10 10:49:17 EDT 2013
Google it, Michael; essentially it meant that the name should be in harmony with the person or thing. See, for example, www.cultural-china.com/chinaWH/html/en/43History878.html .
Best to all,
Sent from my Galaxy S®III
-------- Original message --------
From: "J. Michael Gillum" <mgillum at ret.unca.edu>
Date: 10/10/2013 10:09 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Word and Thing
I had thought what Sprat and those guys wanted was only one word for each kind of thing (or matter, action, property, process)--a scientific vocabulary free of ambiguity and literary ornament. I don't think it had any connection with the idea of an Adamic language of essences--not that words can be intrinsically right, just that each word should have one clear agreed-upon meaning.
A sidebar--does anyone know what the Confucians meant by "rectification of names"?
On Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 4:16 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <horacejeffery at gmail.com> wrote:
Prof. Martin Kuester sent me a copy of his book Milton's Prudent Ambiguities, which I read and briefly blogged upon:
Reading it led me to an expression of something that has puzzled me:
I am especially interested in . . . what the seventeenth-century reformers of language meant by a direct correspondence between word and thing. (I note in passing that the Hebrew term davar means both "word" and "thing.") By "thing," did they mean something like a material object? Or rather anything at all? Whatever was meant, would the word for a thing be a name, i.e., a noun? I find this puzzling. While nouns might constitute the largest category among the parts of speech, they are a minority in most sentences. The previous sentence, for example, has only six nouns out of nineteen words -- and none of them, for that matter, naming material objects. Furthermore, words in a sentence have logical and grammatical relations to each other, a feature ignored by the reformers' emphasis upon the word-thing correspondence.
I ask these questions in ignorance . . .
PS Prof. Kuester's book is available at Amazon:
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