Friday, July 26, 2013

What to say when you see a rabbit

As the great anthropological linguist (or linguistical anthropologist) W. van O. Quine discovered, over the course of a lifetime of exhaustive research in the field, most native peoples around the world exclaim “Gavagai!”  when they spot a rabbit.
What they mean by this is radically indeterminate:  Some are identifying the specimen as of the family Leporidae;  others are coolly assessing an instantaneous leporiform manifestation in the Earth’s configuration-space, while remaining quite agnostic as to the ultimate taxonomic status of said apparition;  still others are not attempting to communicate anything at all, but simply reveling within themselves (though the vocable escaped their lips) at the lovely, furry vision; others yet …  But I digress:  for the stimulus-meaning  is the same for all:  Mr. Cottontail manifests himself, and the masses cry, “Gavagai!”

The settled practice of Doctor Justice differs significantly from this.   The stimulus-meaning of his resultant utterance is again, apodictically, the same; the syllables used in response,  however, differ:  being:


(this uttered while crouching, and making pleading come-hither motions).

And the meaning is:  

     Thank you, Lord, for rabbits.

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