Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Which came first? Language or the cooperative agreement of its meaning?
What I mean to say is, in order to communicate we would need to agree on the meaning of our language, but in order to agree we needed a language to communicate in.
So where did it all begin?
These are the questions that I wanted to discuss when I began my philosophy degree only to discover that it was a history degree with a focus on philosophy books. A background is essential but it isn't the be-all and end-all; still, it's strange that watching fan-subtitled anime fresh from Japan would get me thinking about linguistical philosophy again.

The series Ergo Proxy is ambitious. Set in a not-at-all sci-fi staple post-apocalyptic cyber-punk world, we see android servants here called autoraves and questions of identity as one character discovers he is a monster.
It's a big mess to be honest, but the fact that it tries when so many series have their schoolkid protagonists be earth's only mech-piloting hopes means it garners significant brownie points.

Black Lagoon is also an anime series currently riding the Japanese airwaves. The tale of a salaryman ending up joining the crew of a band of modern-day pirates in the South China Seas is wonderful, beautifully animated, intelligently written and acted and bookended by excellent opening and closing music. Not afraid of a little violence or swearing, it's the perfect antidote to yet another tale of high-school-love-but-with-badgers/aliens/ninjas/robots/maids/witches/etc.
8 episodes so far and it hasn't let me down, I hope that this gets licensed and secures UK distribution so I can nag everyone in earshot about watching it.

I'd like to talk about Higurashi but it's late so I won't do it justice.

1 comment:

  1. We did a bit of this at Uni - you might find this interesting.


    If you can't read it then email me alex.mysurname at gmail.com
    An earlier paper - the one I remember reading way back is:

    Cognition. 1994 Dec;53(3):181-215.
    Conversation, co-ordination and convention: an empirical investigation of how groups establish linguistic conventions.
    Garrod S, Doherty G.
    Two experiments are reported which demonstrate the development of co-ordinated description languages in two groups of communicators playing Garrod and Anderson's (1987) maze game. The experiments contrast language co-ordination between speakers who always interact with the same partner (isolated pairs) as compared with speakers who interact with different partners drawn from the same community. Whereas the isolated pairs show higher degrees of inter-speaker convergence than the community pairs at the start of the experiment, the situation reverses by the time they have all played six or more games. The results are discussed at two levels: (1) in terms of Lewis's formal theory of conventions, and (2) in relation to a language processing model which abides by the "output/input co-ordination" principle proposed in Garrod and Anderson (1987).

    But I can't get a hold of this.