An excerpt concerning the meanings of words and to whom and how well.

mircea_popescu: now - translation operates not on the object code (ie, the string quoted, or a string quoted) but on the whole program : any string plus ~the totality~ of conceptual content of the brain that produced it.

mircea_popescu: because no, words don’t "have meanings". your meanings for ANY WORD are a function of ALL THE OTHER WORDS YOU KNOW. which is why my definitions regularily blow out english dictionaries, wikipedia and other sources of “wisdom” out of the water - i know more words, and in this knowledge i know all the words i know better. infinitely and irreproducibly so.

From the same conversation and regarding Aristotle:

asciilifeform: then i ask for coherent picture of subj in some current living language – and no dice

asciilifeform: why’d that be ?

mircea_popescu: because aristotle belongs to a dead language.

asciilifeform: but euclid, evidently – not

asciilifeform: ‘portable’

mircea_popescu: aha. however fellow was marginal in his language.

mircea_popescu: as generally happens, mongols will comprehend the bums better than the middle class.

asciilifeform: folks who ‘can’t be translated into idiot mongol’ are guilty until proven innocent of playing glass bead games with words and pulling one another’s cocks

mircea_popescu: suppose you excavate tomb in valley of queens ; suppose you find live, talking, cogent queen in there. suppose you take her to the shelf of items, and give her a questionnaire. she is to select “dildo spatula or hat” for each present item.

mircea_popescu: is she going to be disqualified from queenhood if she fails this multiple choice test ?

asciilifeform: how do you disqualify queen from a vanished throne ?

My gleanings from this conversation reflect somewhat my own experience studying Attic Greek and then being asked why by pretty much anyone who happens to find out, and having no way to answer because… the asker doesn’t know Greek.

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