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Re: (not really "Re: Anti-telic?:" any longer)

From:Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 12, 2006, 22:19
Quoting Eldin Raigmore <eldin_raigmore@...>:

> >Sai Emrys wrote: > >>On 7/11/06, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote: > >>>But can _anything_ continue indefinitely in a temporal universe? > >>Hey mon, that's your belief system. > > > >Not just mine. > > No, not just yours. > > >AFAIK it's the opinion of modern science > > AFAIK you're right. > > >& has been a widely held belief for millennia. > > Widely held, yes; universally held, no. > In fact there have been times when 'the opinion of [then-]"modern" science' > was that the universe had no beginning and/or would have no end. Sometimes > this/these opinion(s) had time as a straight line and sometimes as a circle. > > There is no _mathematical_ nor _logical_ reason why the universe had to > have a beginning; if it did, there is no _mathematical_ nor _logical_ > reason why it had to have _only_ _one_ beginning. The same is true of the > end of the universe. > > If there are reasons why the universe had to have a unique beginning, they > are physical, not logical. As the physical evidence has changed, the > accepted theory on this issue has also changed. > > Even now, there is serious work on the theory that the "Big Bang" was like > the narrow point of an hour-glass -- that the reason the universe as it now > exists is so uniform, even across distances that can't be covered at slower > than the speed of light during times on the order of the current "age" of > the universe, is that its parts had all that "time" "before" the Big > Crunch/Big Bang to "communicate" with one another. > > Not that these theorists necessarily believe they have _proof_ of such a > theory; just that the view Andreas presented is not regarded as set in > concrete and carved in stone by modern cosmologists.
I hope I did not give the impression that they're "set in concrete and carved in stone"; they're certainly not. Today, standard theory says that the universe had a beginning in time, but will have no end; but standard theory has changed in the light of new discoveries, and may do so again. Astronomy is the oldest science, but still a child. Now, the actual state of affairs would seem irrelevant to the possibility or utility of an 'anti-telic' aktionsart in a human language. We have words and grammatical categories not for what exists, but what for we want to express. Nobody would assert that the existence of the word "eternal" forces any beliefs on anyone; why should we think differently of a grammatical category encoding a type of eternality (eternalness?)? [snip]
> > >But I would need to see a clear, unambiguous example of an 'anti-telic' > >event/circumstance/action, > > I'd love to see one, too. > > >*which is clearly independent of anyone's belief system*, > > I'm beginning to doubt _that_ requirement is possible to satisfy.
I must say I find that requirement strange. I'm not requiring anyone to prove the existence of God to accept the word "god", nor would I to accept that some language, con or nat, has a grammatical category refering to God - perhaps a special person form only used by the Deity? Why should 'anti-telic' be treated differently. Or am I misunderstanding Ray? Cont. below ...
> >in the 'real' world > > I'd be happy to see one in a conworld. Of course I'd rather see one in > the 'real' world. > > >before being convinced that the > >division of telicity into telic ~ atelic needs to be amended.
It's not not clear to me *where* this "need" might exist. Sai's original question was, if memory serves, if the *could* be a third category of telicity. It seems clear to me that one could conceive of a language that marked three degrees of telicity, and if it's this Ray is objecting to, I do not understand why. But one might also ask if there *should* be a third category in general linguistic theory. This seems very dubious to me, particularly in the apparent absence of any known natlang with an atelic~antitelic distinction. Just because one can subdivide a category into conceptually different categories does not mean one should. The purpose of interlinguistic categories is to classify the distinctions that *are* made, in ones that conceivably *could*be* made. I could make a language that has a tense/aspect/mood for begun five minutes ago and allegedly still continuing, but that doesn't mean it should be in handbooks. Andreas