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and so it begins

September 23, 2009

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while, as a way to wrap my head around things really. Yesterday was a great day, inspiration unfolding around every corner, and so it only seemed natural that I started this blog. I’ll describe my yesterday, so you have a bit of context.

The morning started early and lazy, with a breakfast for kings – scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, and warm homemade biscuits with blackberry jam on top.

I had a lot of reading to do for school and my favorite place to sit is in a sunny window. The best sunny window in our apartment happens to be in the kitchen, so I spent most of the afternoon propped up on the counter, tucked into the window nook, taking over the space usually designated for the basil, chives and thyme.

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And this is where it gets good. My reading – “Information Retrieval and the Philosophy of Language” by David C. Blair –  was far from the usual dry. On the contrary, it was actually really fascinating. It was from this reading that I got the name for this here blog – indexicality. The philosophies presented in the paper are really huge and hard to wrap one’s head around. I think Blair is trying to tell us that meaning unfolds, it is dynamic and contextual, it is not a thing. As such, the job of defining something, looking and searching for something, is a huge challenge as computers and databases and the like don’t have the human ability to understand the nuances and subtleties in natural language.

This isn’t all the paper said, but it is a lot to think about already.  I’ll end this first post today with a quote Blair came back to a lot:

“Let the use of words teach you their meaning.”

This is Wittgenstein and he really blew the tops off a lot of heads when he first said this in 1953.

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