RE: [OPE] language, science, and etymology

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Thu Mar 26 2009 - 18:38:28 EDT


You pointed earlier to the origins of the word "spirit", but a scientific
approach is not simply to identify the original meaning of a term and to
then reject the use of the term if the original meaning is unscientific and
out-dated. Rather, a scientific approach is to examine the ways in which language
has changed during different time periods in different cultures and
sub-cultures. Hence, while it's perfectly legitimate (and, sometimes, entertaining)
to examine the original use of a term, it's *outdated and unscientific*
to simply reject that term because its meaning has evolved over time.

Paul C

Yes in general you are right, but what is interesting is that the idea of
spirit moved from what was originally a scientific hypothesis about
how the body operated and the role of air in that operation, to
take on, during the early modern period, a new religious obscurantist
meaning as the original Galenic medical theory was being discredited.

That was what I was pointing out.

In solidarity, Jerry_______________________________________________
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Received on Thu Mar 26 18:43:50 2009

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