[PREV - STUBBORN_WORDS] [TOP]
January 15, 2007
There's a silly joke slipped in
in passing John Dickson Carr's
"The Dead Man's Knock" (1958).
A character remarks in passing
"I observed, yes. But I didn't see."
This is a reversal, of the famous
Holmes remark "You have *seen*, but
you have not *observed*."
The point being -- I would say --
that you can use precisely opposite
language that has the same meaning. DENOTE
In the case of the Holmes remark, it establishes
a technical language, it creates precise meanings
for words that don't have them in ordinary usage,
and it does so without going through any explicit
set of definitions.
It draws a distinction between two
elements, and makes it clear what is
meant by both of them... but in
another context, that distinction
evaporates. There's little inherent If you don't watch what's going on
in the conventional definitions that with these implicit, temporary
relates to the technical definition. definitions you can get tangled up
really easily, particularly if
you're up against a sleazy debating
partner looking for cheap-shots...
[NEXT - ANATHEMA]