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Re: THEORY: Are commands to believe infelicitous?

From:Joseph Bridwell <zhosh@...>
Date:Thursday, May 26, 2005, 15:38
> I propose that any imperative form of the > verb "to believe" is infelicitous unless > spoken to a computer.
In general, I agree if I ignore the issues of mental capability, and what "believe" might or might not mean to someone else. "love" is a similar verb for me.
> I propose that natural humans cannot consciously > choose whether or not to believe certain > propositions in the face of evidence to the contrary, > nor in the absence of evidence in favor.
How are you defining "natural humans"? Those falling within the means of mental & physical bell-curve? Being untouched by any society and pressures? ? I believe that the average man on the street does indeed "believe" regardless of contrary evidence or absence of evidence. I myself do: I choose to believe that consciousness survives death since to believe otherwise implies to me meaninglessness to my actions past, present and future. Thus, for me, "believe" and "need" have a closer connection; and further, that solid evidence changes belief into fact for whomever accepts the evidence.
> Does anyone know of various ways various > languages have handled different versions > of ideas similar to "to choose to believe"? > Perhaps by different voices (middle voice > maybe), different moods, or just different verbs?
IIRC, some Austronesian languages use evidence morphemes: e.g. directly evident to anyone, directly experienced by the speaker, told to the speaker by another, hypothetical/dreamed by the speaker, etc.
> How is the commandment to believe, and/or > the choice to believe, handled in various > languages? How SHOULD it be handled in a > conlang?
Should? However the creator of that conlang choses. Do you mean "might"?


Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>