Monday, February 05, 2007

Language, time and trouble

Language is an instrument. Its concepts are instruments. Now perhaps one thinks that it can make no great difference which concepts we employ. As, after all, it is possible to do physics in feet and inches as well as in metres and centimetres; the difference is merely one of convenience. But even this is not true if, for instance, calculation in some system of measurement demand more time and trouble than it is possible for us to give them.


Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations,
translated by G. E. Anscombe, Blackwell, 1997

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