[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]


Related: semantics - definition - relativism - truth

Philosophers of tautology: Ludwig Wittgenstein

See also: genre theory and tautology


In logic, a tautology is a statement which is true by its own definition, and is therefore fundamentally uninformative. Logical tautologies use circular reasoning within an argument or statement.

In linguistics, a tautology is a redundancy due to superfluous qualification. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautology [Dec 2004]

Quotes on the tautological nature of language

“In the illusory babels of language, an artist might advance specifically to get lost, and to intoxicate himself in dizzying syntaxes, seeking odd intersections of meaning, strange corridors of history, unexpected echoes, unknown humors, or voids of knowledge… but this quest is risky, full of bottomless fictions and endless architectures and counter-architectures… at the end, if there is an end, are perhaps only meaningless reverberations.”

--Robert Smithson, A Museum of Language in the Vicinity of Art (1968), in: Jack Flam (red.), Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings, Berkeley/Los Angeles/London, University of California Press, 1996, p. 78.

It is clear that the world is purely parodic, in other words, that each thing seen is the parody of another, or is the same thing in a deceptive form.

Ever since sentences started to circulate in brains devoted to reflection, an effort at total identification has been made, because with the aid of a copula each sentence ties one thing to another; all things would be visibly connected if one could discover at a single glance and in its totality the tracings of Ariadne's thread leading thought into its own labyrinth.

-- Georges Bataille via "Visions of Excess Selected Writings, 1927-1939"

Tautology and tag clouds

Consider my tag cloud for not mainstream:

A list of adjectives indicating 'non mainstream': aberrant - absurd - abnormal - alternative - avant-garde - banned - bizarre - clandestine - controversial - cult - degenerate - deviant - different - disgusting - eccentric - elitist - esoteric - excessive - extravagance - exotic - forbidden - gratuitous - grotesque - hermetic - hidden - illegal - illicit - incongruous - independent - kinky - ludicrous - macabre - monstrous - obscure - occult - offbeat - offensive - original - outlandish - perverse - queer - rare - strange - subversive - supernatural - surreal - taboo - transgressive - travesty - ugly - uncanny - unconventional - underground - unusual - weird

This is a list of concepts indicating non-mainstream and if you click the items in the list you will notice that each term just defines itself by pointing to another term which can be found in the same list. The only way to get out of this conundrum is by choosing the antonym of a certain term. For example, from grotesque to harmonious.

It would appear from this that the only way to find meaning in a term is by stating its antonym or opposite. The sad thing about this is that it makes the world a dual proposition, dividing reality into for example good or bad, sin or vice, grotesque or harmonious, black and white. It seems to leave no room for the middle, the grey area, unless you consider that the tag cloud in itself is the grey area. We cannot escape dual thinking despite of the rhizome:

A rhizome[*] doesn't begin and doesn't end, but is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo." -- from Rhizome by Deleuze & Guattari

Now, I should feel perfectly comfortable with the rhizome, it is a concept I felt immediately attracted to since I discovered it. But still, it leaves me restless and more in search of meaning than ever. It is what I call the deadly tautological nature of language and reality. Or the lack of reality in language.

The same holds for the antonym of non mainstream: mainstream

Related: bestseller - classic - cliché - commercial - common - culture - general audience - majority - mass - mass media - normal - ordinary - pop - pop music - popular - popular culture - standard - stereotype - vanilla

By medium: mainstream film - popular fiction - popular music

Compare with: non-mainstream

Each definition just defines itself and the list of films or music or fiction that belongs in their respective "mainstream" categories, just serves as further proof of the concept of mainstream. Mainstream films define what mainstream is, the same goes for music, etcetera. This is what Peter L. Berger [*] refers to as the social construction of reality. [Mar 2006]

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications