February 11, 2004

Overanalysis for Lunch

"I'll go and secure our table before someone else grabs it."

Is this deviant or not? "Secure" here is a bit like a verb of creation--securing the table doesn't bring it into existence, but it does make it ours. Can we then use "it" to refer to "our table," which has not yet been determined by the act of securing? Does this add a wrinkle on to the well-known case of "I caught the ball before it hit the ground"--in which we cannot interpret "before" as meaning that the first event takes place earlier than the second, because the ball never hits the ground? How about "We must prevent the explosion before it takes place"?

Are you going to avoid going to lunch with philosophers now, or just with me? Discuss.

Posted by Matt Weiner at February 11, 2004 06:41 PM

I think I'd still rather have lunch with you than with an ethicist any day.

Posted by: cara at February 12, 2004 08:28 AM

Do all philosophers ever do is argue semantics? Maybe you could work on that WHY ARE WE HERE question? Don't yell at me ether. I was joking about that last sentence.

Posted by: Richard at February 12, 2004 08:44 AM

Well, all semanticists do is argue semantics....

Posted by: Matt Weiner at February 12, 2004 01:49 PM