I’m reading Umberto Eco’s book Kant and the Platypus. It’s one of those books that I have to gloss over chunks as I go just because I don’t have a background in eighteen languages and the history of thought. But there are loads of bits that are intriguing, so intriguing they derail me in the middle of the night when I wake up for a piss.
One of the main questions in this early section of the book is the definition of Being. He’s talking about a lot of stuff in reference to how our lives are defined by language, but the thing I like best about this is the simple observation that you can’t define “to be” without using it in the definition. “Being is that which makes all subsequent definitions possible to be made.” It’s linguistically impossible to define, though we have common sense ideas of how it works. If that isn’t something to ponder while staring out into the frigid mercury vapour night I don’t know what is.
And it all played together nicely when Tait sent me this link about Facebook’s status update grammar.facebook language semiotics umberto eco