Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Husserl and the Hyrax: Introduction

The title of this post alludes to a book by Umberto Eco: Kant and the Platypus, which I picked up one day in the King's Cross bookstore. I knew Eco only from The Name of the Rose (loved it) and Foucault's Pendulum (also great; should be regulated as a mind-altering substance). Oh, and I knew that in his professional life, Eco had something remotely to do with linguistics.

I have no idea what Kant would have to say about the platypus, since I couldn't make it past the introduction of Eco's book. Nor do I understand what it is, exactly, that Eco does and how it relates to linguistics. But I'm a sucker for a catchy title.

The Husserl I refer to is Edmund Husserl, a German philospher. The hyrax (or coney, or rock badger) is, as we all know, this.

In my posts on this topic, I'll try to be easier to read than Eco. Since this is the first post in the series, it's sort of like the first day of a class. You know, the day where the teacher blathers on a bit, asks a provocative question, and hands out the reading. Hence:

Blather #2: A friend of mine used to say that one of the most important questions in a debate was "What's the meaning of meaning?" Ironically, I had no idea what he meant by the question.

Question: "What's the meaning of "meaning"?

Reading: "The song of songs," The Economist, January 15, 2009.

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