Concepts in Linguistic Anthropology: Nationalism, Linguistic Relativity

Q) What are the two main theories of nationalism and language? Which of these theories can find inspirations from the idea of linguistic relativity? Eve Haque states that the two most recurrent schools of thought on nationalism in conventional scholarship is primordialism and modernism. While describing primordialism, she mentions how language is a central element around which the... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Concepts in Linguistic Anthropology: Media Ideology

Q) Does technology (the medium of interaction) affect communication? Describe debates on this issue. Give examples of how people creatively use and interpret messages from different media. In her article, Tracy LeBlanc-Wories describes presents debates on whether technology, the medium of interaction, affect communication (2015). She states that scholars before the 1990s mostly neglected the potential community aspects of the internet. In... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Concepts in Linguistic Anthropology: Language Socialization, Color Categorization

Q) What is language socialization and how is it studied? Can the studies of color categorization be part of language socialization research? Why or why not? Amy L. Paugh states that language socialization research looks into how children and other novices are socialized via language, and how they socialize with others, as they learn to use languages through interactions with relatives... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Concepts in Linguistic Anthropology: Language Ideology, New Chinglish

Q) What is language ideology and what are its main features? What kind of linguistic ideologies are at play in the debates about New Chinglish? Paul V. Kroskrity defines “language ideologies” as the “beliefs, feelings, and conceptions about language structure and use, which often index the political-economic interests of individual speakers, ethnic and other interest groups, and the nation-state." (2015,... Continue Reading →

Featured post

The Nature of Culture

I would like to start with the question: Can there be multiple truths? Or is truth supposed to be one, as in 'The Truth'? Well, according to cultural anthropology, your truth is not the only truth. What I consider as true, moral or taboo could be completely different from your understanding. And so many factors... Continue Reading →

Featured post

A Critique of Mill’s Harm Principle

If we ask the question “How would a society’s happiness be maximized?”, John Stuart Mill, an advocate of utilitarianism, would answer “by defending personal freedom of the individuals”. In fact, his commitment to following a utilitarian approach to forming an ideal society is the reason for his attempts of defending individual liberty in his book... Continue Reading →

Featured post

AI “Revolution”?

We all know that phrases such as “Artificial Intelligence”, “Machine Learning” and “Data Science” have become buzzwords thrown in every corner. Surely today is the era of Artificial Intelligence with the emergence of Big Data and with the leap in computation power. Perhaps, we are going through a revolution, a technical revolution, that will be... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Fear Opposed to Illusive Power

Consider whether Machiavelli’s idea that it is better for a ruler to be feared than loved applies to contemporary politics. Does the emergence of democracy in many parts of the world alter this equation? If so, how so? If not, why not?  When the two words ‘fear’ and ‘love’ come together in a sentence, it... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Book Review: Politics of Piety / Saba Mahmood

Mahmood, S. (2012). Politics of piety: the islamic revival and the feminist subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press.  This thought-provoking yet complicated book is a groundbreaking analysis of the complex relationship between religious practices and beliefs of (some) Muslim women and modern secular liberal discourses on feminism and other issues. The ethnography, published in 2004 by... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Book Review: Political Leadership among Swat Pathans / Fredrik Barth

Barth, Fredrik. Political Leadership among Swat Pathans. 1st Pbk. Ed. with Corrections ed. London: Athlone, 1965. Print. Monographs on Social Anthropology ; No. 19.  This fascinating yet terrifyingly complex ethnography, published in 1959, is about the Pashto-speaking people (Pathans) of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area called Swat. Fredrik Barth claims the main purpose of his study... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Japan and Power: Kawaii is Power!

Scholars since the late 20th century have been much interested with the concept of kawaii. We have come to a point in which the term is not only attractive to scholars of Japanese Studies but most people around the world, who have inevitably been in contact with products that inhabit the concept. But what exactly... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Japan and Power: A Perfect Fit for Modernity

Japan, an imperial power in history, has gone through various transformations in many areas such as economics, politics, consumerism, popular culture etc. And such transformations have surely changed Japan’s influence in the world after World War Two. Among the areas of vast transformations and novelties that Japan has gone through, I am particularly interested in... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Japan and Power: Soft Power in Becoming a Superpower

It has become widely accepted that, day by day, national borders are being erased in the world. With globalization, some local cultures, practices and commodities have become known worldwide to become an ingredient contributing to the so-called ‘global culture’. And with the contribution of ‘kawaii’ culture of Japan (be it in music, cartoons, or video... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Reversing the Irreversible Flow of History

What is the purpose of punishment? A tool for justice? Or a legitimate way of taking revenge? When justice is sought, why do we ask the question 'who should we punish' instead of asking 'why do we punish'? As Nietzsche writes in On the Genealogy of Morals, institutions of law take revenge out of the... Continue Reading →

Featured post

State, Police, and Justified Violence

Didier Fassin writes in his ethnography of urban policing in France: "Expressing surprise at the existence of police violence could be considered as remarkable in itself. From a sociological point of view-and thus beyond the specific situation in France, violence is in fact constitutive of the very role of law enforcement. In modern societies, it... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Asking the Right Questions During Hong Kong Protests

The four-day occupation of Chinese University of Hong Kong has come to an end (for now?). And every student that took part in the construction and utilization of a fortified base around the campus were able to peacefully evacuate the place with no outside intervention. During the extraordinary occupation, I got to witness the various... Continue Reading →

Featured post

‘Age’, a Product of Modernity

If you ask the question "what is the age of consent?", the most reasonable answer, perhaps, would be: "it depends". Because, as can be seen, the age of consent varies a lot around the world. Therefore, there is no universal understanding of what the age of consent should be. Taking it a step further, further... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Purposeless Circulation of Looking for a Purpose

Imagine a group of people gathered for no purpose... which would sound unusual because when you have a look at human history it is apparent that every gathering had a common purpose among the participants. People who gathered in army units, family dinners, worship places came together for the purpose of specific common goals and... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Universalizing Grave Assumptions

Margaret Canovan believes that liberalism can be defended only by recognizing and drawing openly on its great myth. "For liberalism never has been an account of the world,” she writes, “but a project to be realized. The ‘nature’ of early liberalism, the ‘humanity’ of our own day, may be talked about as if they already... Continue Reading →

Featured post

The Modern Ego

One bizarre property of the modern ego is the reality that it deceives itself regarding the nature of knowledge. People think it is certain that the people of the past actually knew nothing. According to the opinion of such people, the people of the past simply complied with the wrong ideas of prophets and guides.... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Unmasking Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is the vice through which corruption becomes manifest. And Hannah Arendt, In her book On Revolution, writes about her reflection of the topic by looking into the Latin word persona, which in its original meaning signified the mask ancient actors used to wear in a play. And the mask had two functions: "it had... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Sufism, a solution to tolerance?

Kudsi Erguner writes in his book Journeys of a Sufi Musician, about the relationship of a person to their own nature. And I believe that his piece of writing is a great example of how the Sufi perspective could cleanse fundamentalism not only in Islam but in other religious as well, as it guides one... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Identifying With Rootlessness?

Facing curses of modernity, it is probable that you have encountered people that have a binary way of labeling actions or events as something is either rational or irrational to do. And when you dig deeper into their criteria of what is irrational, you realize that the person thinks that he/she is emancipated by regarding... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Thinking Without Expression?

In Lectures On Kant's Political Philosophy by Hannah Arendt, it is written: "Thinking, as Kant agreed with Plato, is the silent dialogue of myself with myself , and that thinking is a “solitary business” (as Hegel once remarked) is one of the few things on which all thinkers were agreed. Also, it is of course... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Vagueness

1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

Author: Darren Hibbs
Categories: Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics 
Word Count: 1000

How tall do you have to be to be tall? How much hair do you have to lose to be bald? How old do you have to be to be old?

It is an unremarkable feature of language that words such as ‘tall’, ‘bald’, and ‘old’ are vague in the sense that it may be unclear whether someone is tall, bald, or old. (Many other words are vague also). However, vagueness plays a crucial role in a range of philosophical issues, including fundamental problems in logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language.[1]

A heap of sand.A heap of sand.

1. Vague terms

If Kathryn has no money, then she is clearly not rich. However, suppose $20 is deposited into her bank account every minute of every day for a year. Assuming she did not spend the…

View original post 1,365 more words

Featured post

Objectivity, A Double-Edged Sword

Stephen Gaukroger writes in his book Objectivity: A Very Short Introduction: "If we perform an experiment or carry out an observation, we usually have a good idea of what kind of result we will get. Sometimes we get unexpected results, and, when we are testing a theory, these results may contradict what the theory predicts... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Modern Science Has No Soul?

Nathan Sivin, who studies history and technology in China, writes: "Ernst Geller has pointed out a particular way in which the European Scientific Revolution is more than a leap to a new form of knowing. It is natural to assume that in science the crucial test has always been "is it true?" But earlier that... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Happiness, The Ultimate End?

Happiness is acquired by virtue, and hence by our own actions, not by fortune. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle regards the highest form of human good as eudaimonia, which would be roughly translated as happiness in English. He further argues that in order to achieve such happiness, one should act with appropriate virtues over the course... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Pure Tyranny?

According to Aristotle, there are three species of political system, and an equal number of deviations, which are a sort of corruption of them. The first political system is kingship. And Aristotle claims that deviation from kingship is tyranny. Even though both are monarchies, kingship and tyranny could be considered as two ends of a... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Man is not a ‘herd animal’ but a ‘horde animal’

W. Brown writes in Regulating Aversion: Tolerance in the Age of Identity and Empire: Man is not a “herd animal” but a “horde animal,” Freud writes at the conclusion of his lengthy critical discussion of other theorists of group psychology. A herd animal has an instinctual affinity for closeness, primary gregariousness, while the horde animal... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Who Should Rule? The Strife Between Plato and Democracy

The ongoing debate whether a state of nature, (a wild primitive state untouched by civilization, a definition by Wordink) has ever coincided with the timeline of the human history may demonstrate the immortality of the concept of governments, since the non-existence of state of nature in human history would mean that we always established authorities... Continue Reading →

Featured post

The Superiority of the Private Life

I would like to share this thought-provoking piece of Allan Bloom's interpretive essay of Plato's Republic. And reflect on how it could be understood when compared to the modern understanding of politics or ideal societies in which people try to wrap themselves in the boundaries drawn by ideologies but not one's own conscious mind. "The... Continue Reading →

Featured post

This is not yet a scientific age…

Delighted to have been introduced to this fascinating piece of writing by Richard Feynman (The Value of Science). What a beautiful mind... Makes one really wonder if so-called the "objectivity" of science indeed reduces the dimensions we can see the nature wrapped in and acts as a curtain between the most majestic masterpiece and the... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Living Without Thinking?

Some interesting words that I encountered recently: "Some live without thinking; some only think but cannot put their thoughts into practice... Those who live without thinking are the objects of the philosophy of others. Such persons always run from pattern to pattern, ceaselessly changing molds and forms, hectically struggling their whole life through, in deviations... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Our Immense World

A great scholar explains how almost all the ideologies and the economic systems fail by focusing on inanimate factors, instead of virtues and the human being itself. He also claims that the only way to progress as humankind is to seek change in human behavior and to promote our moral duties on each other. His... Continue Reading →

Featured post

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑