Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Assertion and Injunction

"It is the essential business of language to assert and deny facts," said Bertrand Russell in his introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus. He should have said "the essential business of scientific language," of course, because it is the no less essential business of political language to enjoin and denounce acts.

Philosophy elucidates the logic of assertion. Poetry aggravates the pathos of injunction.

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