Reflections on Grammaticalization, Epiphenomena, etc....

Rob Freeman lists at
Tue Mar 21 03:02:39 UTC 2006

Just an aside, Mark.

I thought this earlier comment worked rather well on several levels:

On Thursday 16 March 2006 08:28, Mark P. Line wrote:
> ...Making reality intelligible does have
> the common *side-effect* of blinding us to and protecting us from the
> reality (or lack thereof) we ostensibly understand...

Did you intend to point out that intellectual blindness, as a side-effect, 
would thus be by some definitions itself an epiphenomenon?


What makes this observation really great is that this kind of blindness, and 
an epiphenomenon at that, seems indeed to be what is at the root of 

It tempts me to repeat something I read recently in the enjoyable popular book 
"The Unfolding of Language", by Guy Deutscher. According to Guy there is a 
story by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges about a man who loses the 
ability to forget, and so can no longer think.

Deutscher writes (p.g. 173):

"Borges understood that the ability to pick out patterns, to draw analogies 
between unequal yet similar things, in short, to 'forget a difference', is at 
the very core of our intelligence."

"To think is to forget a difference" says Deutscher.

With appropriate corollaries to be drawn about language.


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