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Re: Gender; Logic; Love
- To: cbmvax!uunet!mcnc.org!aurs01!aurw31!waugh (Jack Waugh)
- Subject: Re: Gender; Logic; Love
- From: John Cowan <cbmvax!uunet!marob.masa.com!cowan>
- Date: Mon, 4 Mar 91 10:41:59 EST
- Apparently-from: snark!cowan
- In-reply-to: <9103020352.AA08242@aurw31.local>; from "Jack Waugh" at Mar 1, 91 10:52 pm
> [ . . . ]
> > the reason i first contacted
> > lojban about participating was that I was intrigued by its
> > description as a "*non-sexist
> In many languages, pronouns are inflected for gender.
> English, for example, has no pronoun that can refer to
> some unknown or hypothetical person without a connotation
> of the person's sex (in English, genender usually indicates
> sex, unlike in French). I take that back; we can do
> it in the plural, but evidently not in singular (Loglan
> doesn't inflect for number, either). For example, in
> "each student should grade his neighbor's work", even
> though many will argue that the "true" semantics of the
> "his" doesn't imply anything about the student's
> anatomical equipment or chromosomes, I believe (based
> on introspection) that the "his" *connotes* maleness
> to most readers and listners, in a deep part of their minds,
> and that this leads to behavior resulting in an unfair
> treatment of the sexes. What convinced me of this
> connotation was my reaction on reading a textbook for the
> first time that used "she" and "her" randomly about half the
> time for hypothetical people. This is an example of how
> I think English is sexist. Another would be nouns such
> (there was a great essay; was it by Twain?,
> written in a form English might take if it treated race
> the same way as it actually treats sex. A black person's
> name would be preceded with a title "Niss" or "Nissus"
> (something like that) depending on whether the person
> had a job. "Author" only described a white author; the
> term for a black one was "authoroon").
Douglas Hofstadter, writing under the pseudonym of "William Satire".
Reprinted in his collection >Metamagical Themas<.
> The "logic" seed in Loglan (whenever
> I use this term, I mean it to include Lojban) has to do with
> the grammar including that of the FOLQP (first-order logic of
> quantification and predication). This is the kind of logic
> that treats assertions such as "for all x there exists a y
> such that y is the father of x".
Actually, Lojban also handles second-order predicate logic. There
are bindable variables "bu'a", "bu'e", "bu'i" which have the semantics
of predicates (selbri). We can say "there exists a predicate P such that..."
which in the language is "su'o bu'a zo'u ...".
> I suspect Loglan has
> a semantic bias that set theory is the basic description
> of the world (I am not using "world" to mean "cosmos", but
> rather to mean a model, realized in the speaker's mind,
> reflecting the domain of discourse).
Sets are certainly central, and one of Lojban's metaphysical assumptions
which is enforced is the distinction between sets and members. However,
masses are treated as equal to either sets or members.