Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Write 5 sentence [sic] about cat

Another Google search, another student-driver stuck in my driveway, so to speak. Add an introductory “The cat is on the mat” to this passage to get the magic number five:

[I]f my saying that the cat is on the mat implies that I believe it to be so, it is not the case that my not believing that the cat is on the mat implies that the cat is not on the mat (in ordinary English). And again, we are not concerned here with the inconsistency of propositions: they are perfectly compatible: it may be the case at once that the cat is on the mat but I do not believe that it is. But we cannot in the other case say “it may be the case at once that the cat is on the mat but the mat is not under the cat.” Or again, here it is saying that “the cat is on the mat,” which is not possible along with saying “I do not believe that it is”; the assertion implies a belief.

J.L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (1962)
Or again, do your own homework. That’s the way to learn something.

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comments: 3

Elaine said...

I can't think of five sentences about a cat because I accidentally read your student-driver-drivel. Now I feel disoriented and slightly injured; may need to sue.

Michael Leddy said...

That’s J.L. Austin lecturing at Harvard. It’ a philosophical cat. :)

Elaine said...

I should have caught on...but the paragraph pretty much illustrates why I found philosophy impossibly tiresome and convoluted. 'Philosophy of Education' almost did me in, although I enjoyed spelling 'epistomological.'

A cat will sit on the mat only if convinced that it is your mat, and that you were planning to sit on it.
A cat and an electric typewriter do not mix.
Among the many fictions about felines, the saddest is the assertion that a cat is aloof.
A cat is an undemanding companion for far more hours each day than it spends asserting its needs.
Another cat is in my future.