Word and Object

Word and Object header image

Wittgenstein Emoji Project

November 27th, 2016 · No Comments ·

I was a first-year student at U.C. Berkeley when I first encountered the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most famous philosophers of the 20th century. He has two separate versions: 1.0 and 2.0. The former is noteworthy for his opaque work Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, the latter for the equally mysterious Philosophical Investigations. The house […]

→ No Comments

Letter-Word Combinations

March 14th, 2015 · No Comments ·

For some time I have been interested in combinations of letters that can be rearranged to form as many different words as there are letters available. For example, if you have three letters, then there must be three different permutations, etc. Here is a list of some of the ones I’ve thought of. If you […]

→ No Comments

Postmodernism and Literary Interpretation

February 26th, 2010 · 6 Comments ·

Postmodernism and Literary Interpretation Three basic principles underlie the post-modernistic critique of literary interpretation (and, by extension, other social sciences). First Principle The first is that one should have no compunctions about taking a philosophical approach.  There is no point simply in juxtaposing one text against another.  This does not however invalidate the need for, […]


Mitt Romney and the Expertise Fallacy

November 19th, 2008 · 5 Comments ·

In an Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times former presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighed in with his views regarding Detroit’s request for loan guarantees. While I think Mr. Romney basically is an idiot, I have to say his views on this point are well-considered. Detroit has no more entitlement to a bailout than any […]


Strange Signs

April 1st, 2008 · 5 Comments ·

The way signs work is complex enough as it is.  Not only is there the sign, but also: that which is signified; the person responding to it; and the social conventions that give it meaning.  A “stop sign” at an intersection, for example, has no inherent or intrinsic properties.  It commands us to brake the […]


In Protest Against the Frequent Misuse of the Word “Folk”

March 27th, 2008 · 1 Comment ·

I am sick and tired of hearing George Bush (most notably) refer to people as “folk.”  Mr. Bush is not the only one with a predeliction for frequent misuse of this term, although he is the most notable example.  I now cringe whenever it is uttered by anybody, even if the context is benign.  From […]

→ 1 Comment

Nancy Reagan Endorses John McCain

March 25th, 2008 · 1 Comment ·

There was a widely-reported news announcement today that Nancy Reagan had endorsed John McCain for President of the United States.  I certainly don’t have anything against Ms. Reagan, who strikes me has having conducted herself with dignity and comportment during a long and illustrious career.  Neither do I have anything against Mr. McCain, though I […]

→ 1 Comment

Austin’s Self

March 22nd, 2008 · 4 Comments ·

J. L. Austin’s Theory of Performatives conceals a robust notion of “self.” A speaker uttering (an author writing) a performative intends to change (or describe a change to) a state of affairs in the world. Such modification might not happen, and probably wouldn’t, unless the speaker uses the performative. The speaker is an individual, performative-deploying […]


Deconstructing Wittgenstein

March 19th, 2008 · 3 Comments ·

§243 – §315 of the Philosophical Investigations suggest a large quantity of imprecise notions, which is typical of Wittgenstein. I don’t want to call them “concepts” or “ideas,” and certainly not “propositions.” The definitions of each of these words is different, and they imply other contexts. “Proposals” might work, but that makes it sound as […]


Three Words that Annoy Me

February 6th, 2008 · 2 Comments ·

There are three words that have found their way into our contemporary lexicon, which annoy me considerably, and here they are: “Product.”  This term frequently was used in the consumer entertainment software business, back when there was one.  It refers to “things” such as books, records (CDs, cassettes), videos (DVDs, VHS), etc.  My objection to […]