Tuesday, June 14, 2005

FMNNClip: The state versus government

Exploring linguistic and epistomological areas has made me sorely aware of how much I need to improve as a writer in order to communicate the ideas I'm working with. This is a first stab at untangling an important issue of language and concept surrounding and informing the anarchist/minarchist (or anarchist and "any other" archist) debate. Excerpt:

One can imagine the confusion which would be caused if one attempted to define "table" as meaning, only and always, "desk." Yes, a desk is a table, but it is only one kind of table. If one went into a furniture store and asked to be shown tables, one would find it frustrating to be shown only desks ... especially if one was looking for a dining table or an end table. And it would be even more frustrating to ask to be shown desks, and to be told that there was no such thing; only tables, and the only kind of table is the kind that one puts in a social area for guests to set their coffee cups on.

Conceptual hierarchy is important. It allows us to differentiate between concepts, and between alternative subsidiary concepts within the scope of a higher concept.

The development of language over time has sometimes resulted in the conflation of subsidiary concepts with those above them in the conceptual hierarchy and, eventually, the substitution of subsidiary concepts for the higher concepts. Those substitutions are sometimes intentional and purposive, often merely accidental or negligent, but always damaging: For if we do not have access to the entire panoply of alternatives, we cannot rationally distinguish between, and choose what is useful from among, them.

Which brings me to the concept of "government."

Read the whole article here.

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