On Fri, 30 May 2003 03:22:02 +0900, Hal E. Fulton wrote:
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "David C. Oshel" <dcoshel / mac.com>
> To: "ruby-talk ML" <ruby-talk / ruby-lang.org>
> Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 10:49 AM
> 
> 
>>  Sorry if this is old hat to most of you, but I just discovered these 
>>  side-by-side ruby and perl scripts from the new Japanese-language _Ruby 
>>  for Perl Users_ book mentioned by maki at ruby-lang.org/ja/ a couple of 
>>  weeks ago (5/14).
> 
> That's fascinating! I wish we had an English translation
> of this book...

I'd love to do it, but my technical vocabulary is too pathetic for 
public consumption.  I'm working on it...


>  ...

<OffTopic>  ... heh ... see below :)

> 
>>  "Language shapes the way we think and determines what we can think 
>>  about." -- Benjamin Lee Whorf  [N.B.: The opinion expressed belongs to 
>>  its source, and is not at all that of the management.  The management 
>>  is a devotee of Noam Chomsky's Universal Base Hypothesis, which states 
>>  that language evolved in the brains and vocal accoutrements of apes, 
>>  who possessed advanced skills of perception, perhaps driven by leopard 
>>  predation and territorial songfests, long before the advent of 
>>  language.  Whorf is merely indulging in magical thinking.]
> 
> Ha... tagline with a disclaimer. Cool.
> 
> OT: Perhaps Whorf and Chomsky could both be right. Perhaps there
> is a kind of feedback loop in the evolution of language and of
> human thought. Whorf has his flaws; I'll be the first to admit
> that. But I always liked him for his highly analytical thinking,
> his original ideas, his creativity, his enthusiasm, and his way
> with words. And I liked him because of the novelty of a chemical
> engineer who is a dilettante in linguistics, to the point that
> he is almost remembered as a real linguist.
> 
> Even more OT: Whorf in a sense played a joke on the world. People
> in the humanities and such are always trying to bring physics (etc.) 
> into their own fields of literature and social studies and such, 
> drawing wild conclusions and meaningless generalizations from 
> Goedel's theorem, ...


Oops.  Guilty as charged.  I've always thought the first meaningful 
corollary to Goedel's Theorm is the observation that no system of 
thought is immune from parody.




> ... relativity, and quantum mechanics. Whorf in a real 
> sense did it backwards. He dragged real physics into the more 
> subjective field of linguistics (in his comments on the Hopi language) 
> and almost got away with it. At least he was more credible than my 
> literature professor who tried to apply the Uncertainty Principle to 
> 20th century literature.


Usually, it's called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis ( 
http://venus.va.com.au/suggestion/sapir.html et al.), and because I was 
forced to encounter this notion at a Land Grant University in 1968, it 
caused me no end of pointless pink difficulties ontologizing 
somnolently...  I tend to lump it with Carlos Castaneda's lesser works 
and Jack Kerouac's longer Tijuana paper rolls.

> 
> And as for magical thinking: Ha. You say that like it's a bad thing. ;)

Not a "bad" thing.  Just indistinguishable from paranoid schizophrenia 
(or pretraumatic hyperaesthesia, at least) in my experience....  Urrk.  
B.T.D.T.

> 
> [Those who respond, if any, to the OT part should do it offlist. I have
> been criticized once or twice for my rambling.]

You'd think us ruby hackers could come up with a good syntax, so when 
it comes time to compile this compendium onto CD's the stuff between 
(say) "<OffTopic>" and "<!OffTopic>" would disappear into the 
alt.fan.hegelian.philosophy bucket or sumpthin.

</OffTopic>

--
David C. Oshel		mailto:dcoshel / mac.com
Cedar Rapids, Iowa		http://homepage.mac.com/dcoshel/
"Tension, apprehension and dissension have begun!" - Duffy Wyg&,
in Alfred Bester's _The Demolished Man_