Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Aimless Reading: The A's, Part 28

Augustine, St.
The Confessions


I stole this from my mother. Do you think I am going to hell? I never read it? Do you think I am going to hell? I don't believe in God. Do you think I am going to hell? I am not ashamed to have a body? Do you think I am going to hell? I am not averse to pleasure. Do you think I am going to hell?

Sorry.

I bought, er, stole this because I read a passage of it that is in the Philosophical Investigations that I liked -- it's about the acquisition and use of language -- but I never got around to reading the whole thing. Do you think...

Anyhow, here is that passage:

When they (my elders) named some object, and accordingly moved towards something, I saw this and I grasped that that the thing was called by the sound they uttered when they meant to point it out. Their intention was shown by their bodily movements, as it were the natural language of all peoples; the expression of the face, the play of the eyes, the movement of other parts of the body, and the tone of the voice which expresses our state of mind in seeking, having, rejecting, or avoiding something. Thus, as I heard words repeatedly used in their proper places in various sentences, I gradually learnt to understand what objects they signified; and after I had trained my mouth to form these signs, I used them to express my own desires.

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