Etymology doesn't equate logic - False

This is a common dismissal that I see a hell of allot.
Basically, someone will present a position in reason based on the etymological history of a word or words to show how a thought has moved throughout time and a counter to it won’t even be made simply because someone will outright dismiss it on the grounds that etymology doesn’t mean anything in the realm of thought and logic.

That is cardinally false.

We write words down to include their meanings for a reason; because we think they mean those things.
Words are a record of our thought.
Etymology is a history of a word’s relation to meaning over time through multiple cultures.

Now, I fully agree that etymological state of a word in the Greek doesn’t rule that it inherently means the same today and thereby allows anyone to use etymology as a means to the end of selective logic to make their points.

Meaning, just because a word meant one thing to one culture back when, doesn’t mean that you can use the current form of the word today and stand there saying that, “nothing” (for instance), means whatever the selected cultural understanding of the equivalent was at that time.
Obviously it does not.

However, if I wish to show the process of common thought over time and the evolution of that thought over time, then etymology is one hell of a powerhouse method of doing so.

Now obviously it would be more apt to cite direct links from philosopher to philosopher and have every citizen pledge collective allegiance to a given philosopher of an age so we could know what the general population thought about thoughts, but the truth is…that doesn’t happen.
And philosopher’s are such a small demographic that they don’t actually tell us much about what their current culture thinks in mass on the common peoples level.

And it is via the common peoples level that the majority of thought is marginalized or continued.
There have been many grand thoughts that have just simply fallen to the side simply because the common people never followed up the ideas.

And even when you are talking about a given philosopher, understanding what a word meant to them is cardinal.
When you are looking at Plato, for instance, understanding what Greek words meant to the culture of the time…you know…etymology…is vital to a better grasp of what the hell is being intended in the meanings of his work.

The etymological fallacy that many jump prematurely to is a fallacy only when someone is presenting an argument that the modern meaning of a word is inevitably consequent from the original meaning (say, the Proto-Indo-European root) of the word.

However, this doesn’t mean that etymology isn’t a very powerful tool in exploring the process of thought by man over time; to see how concepts are summed together in words to understand the nature of how man chooses to understand things by the nature of their expression of them via words (among many other formats).

Hell, just the grammatical structure of a language tells you volumes about how they thought.
The gender of words and the concepts of what is masculine, feminine, or neuter in the Greek and why given words are one or the other speaks volumes about the Greek mind itself.
Let alone the use of describing words as “neuter” from which we obtain “neutral” also speaks volumes about how this concept of neutrality evolved (and no, without getting terribly into it; it has nothing to do with inherently implying neither man nor woman; masculine and feminine of words do not inherently refer to human gender and our modern concepts of the idea).

So in short; what I’m saying is that when I see people jump to this fallacy; most of the time I see it improperly applied; and it’s terribly annoying.

I think this is true; where a word is used in an historical context, it’s important to know what it meant then, and whether the current meaning might not be leading us down a misleading path in understanding an author. Especially for a lot of Greek and Latin words which were reintroduced into English in the C17th-C19th with different connotations.

I don’t honestly see many examples of what you are criticising, although I’m no Bible scholar or Ancient Greek enthusiast.

Until last century, it was the literary classes who decided what was Good Stuff and what was not. Bacon’s work survived despite the fact that 90% of England would probably have happily seen him burnt at the stake.

And that’s very difficult; the overlap of etymology and archaeosociology is fascinating though. My neighbour is a professor of archaeology, and we were talking recently about philosophy, the interdependency of lifestyle and language and technology is still a very young field in academia.

I would like to second this. Although I have made mistakes in the past…probably still make em…Kindly point that out to me when I do?
:slight_smile:

Would you like to elaborate?

–edit–
I would like to add something here:

I am bilingual. This means I speak English by thinking in English. I even dream in English. Although there still are particulars I don’t know, I am, for all intents and purposes, fluent. Every native English speaker copes with the same issues I do concerning English. This does seem to point to a means (at least for a living language) to emerse oneself so much into that language that the language becomes part of one’s Self. That, in turn, proves that there are ways that bypass etymological research. On the other hand I wonder how much of this fluency depends on etymology (of sorts): experience with how it is used?

I believe to learn the history of one’s language is to learn the history of what it means to say how one says what one means.
The most valued asset that I have possession of is my ability to communicate myself to humanity.
To that end, my language is my liege.
It is the law by which my thought is bound to the world.

Is it not also true that people can see many things of facial expressions for instance? From that angle it is not our language, but our Language that is our liege. I hope you know the difference between the two btw? And do you agree with me on that?

I see only one language, just as I only see one concept of motion; to move.
All facets of language are worth learning.

But do you know the difference in what is signified by Language and by language?

The difference between lexical language and just communication in general, yes.

Okay, ‘Language’ is ‘thought’ in psycho-analysis. The other ‘language’ is the spoken language. Try to look onto this from set theory: Language is the set and the specific language is the element (or even the specific slang, or even for each individual). Do you see why this can be important?

Sure; it’s also completely irrelevant to me.
All that is to me is the difference between a digital watch and a mechanical watch.
The means of pattern and frequency are just changed; the end result is still the same.

I don’t care what someone’s personal way of communicating with themselves is; all I need is the single key to crack that open and then there is clarity to grasping their meanings.
Every philosopher published spits out their own “language”.

Even my nerves have their own “language”.

That’s what I said above, “The difference between lexical language and just communication in general, yes.”

Thought is not necessarily communication though.

Anyway, since thought is often formally represented by logic, it makes this important because it shows that our expressions fit into a logical model, not always expressed, which does include the references to (what we know of) the references of the used words.
That is what you meant, right?

If I look at you and you see me and can grasp my looking at you biologically to some form; then a communication has been made.

If I stand behind you and breath on your neck and you are able to grasp the sense biologically in some form; then a communication has been made.

Communication is simply contact between one and another; component A and component B.
And it is cardinally determined by the capacity of reacting to frequency of the input in the recipient.
If you are deaf, you will not hear my voice from behind you; the biological capacity for reacting to the frequency is lacking in the recipient.

But I have thoughts independent of any form of communication.

I am trying to show how a(n) (private) etymology is always important by the thought since it signifies something.

Thoughts are internal communication.
At it’s simplest form, it is component A sending to recipient component B.
Communication is a transitive action; so is thought.

Etymology is important wherever the value can be discerned; agreed.

Okay, looking at it from that perspective I can grasp your thought concerning thought. However, It still has that causal thing in it, which I do not think necessary.

It’s not causal.
It’s reactive.

Do you think of water as start and stop point causal?
Of course not.
Why think of our bodies as anything different; or anything out there.
Space isn’t linear causation either.

I think everything to be reciprocal. What you call reactive is just another version of causality, made to appear different to hide the fact that causality can never cover reciprocity, but only picture it as separate from it because our phenomena always separate from that which exists in the sense that it was place in our minds (logical space/time).

Anyway, seriously, perhaps we should not deviate this far?
:text-offtopic:

I’ll just refer to the other topic where I addressed how we’re saying the same thing.

Are you sure we mean the same thing?

Yep.
You said it best:

Reciprocity > Causality > Reactivity > Motion > Frequency

Top to down = left to right.

I fully agree; causality cannot cover reciprocity; reciprocity covers causality.