[Wittrs] Meaning as Spin
kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sat Oct 29 14:34:10 CDT 2011
I was sitting in The Bagdad (classic movie hall),
waiting for OMSI Science Pub to begin , when
a slide came on screen to quiz the audience:
"do we ever see tsunamis in lakes?".
Thanks to my Wittgenstein training I'm thinking:
is this even an empirical question i.e. if "tsunami"
means "large wave in the ocean" then lakes are
by definition forbidden to have them, even if they
have some large waves. It's grammatical, not
The answer though (on the next slide): yes,
lakes may have tsunamis, and the reasoning
was empirical: some really big waves had been
observed on various lakes, and that was enough
of a criterion. That lakes are not oceans had
no bearing. My grammatical question was
In another exercise, in "hearing according to an
interpretation": I'm having us hear "work" (which
is said all the time in connection with economics
talk) as the physics meaning: expending energy.
Grammatically, then, it sounds somewhat funny
to hear people assert they're working, like saying
"I'm not dead yet" (kind of Monty Python). Even
funnier is when they say they're "not working".
This is First Person Physics.
As I've mention before on this list, I think the
"meaning as use" insight is uber-related to the
Madison Avenue notion of "spin", which relates
to the growth industry of "spin doctors". That's
really just a fancy new name for "philosopher"
isn't it, although here I'd say we have both good
and bad philosophers (many axes of measure
actually). "Good spinning today?"
Of course the connections to weaving in the
more spidery sense cannot be overlooked, even
when the idea comes more from "spinning top"
(as in "axial twirling"). "Making it from whole cloth"
is another thing people say.
Anyway, back to work (chuckle).
 OMSI Science Pub:
 FPP: http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2006/04/more-first-person-physics.html
 spinning; more on:
re the meaning of work:
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