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“It is the responsibility of the philosopher, educated by the discipline of the philosophical history of such problems – a history completed by the history of works and doctrines – to compose at a higher degree of complexity a chain of conceptual meanings that will take into account the gaps between those meanings governed by heterogeneous ways of stating the problem.”

– Paul Ricoeur


“We have to renounce the at first glance seductive project of improving such lexical reflection – for example, by filling in the gaps between the partial definitions through the addition of new meanings taken as that which is not stated in the previous definition. Such an effort leads nowhere, other than to an endless rewriting of the dictionary. Philosophy does not advance by a lexical improvement dedicated to the description of ordinary language as it is commonly used. Rather, it proceeds through the emergence of properly philosophical problems that slice through the simple regulating of ordinary language in terms of its use.”

– Paul Ricoeur

“In the hands of someone who imperiously manipulates it, the word points sometimes toward one meaning, sometimes toward another; and without its losing any of its proper value or true character, one sees appear properties one might not have suspected”

– Émile Littré

“…I would say, literature is both a means of amplification and one for analyzing the resources of meaning available in the use of everyday language.”

– Paul Ricoeur

English is actually my second language, my first language is Afrikaans. The University of Pretoria, where I study and work, is a bilingual institution. Which offers all courses in both languages.

And as one should do at an institution of learning, I learned something very interesting about my favorite subject. And about my home language no less! In Afrikaans “Philosophy” is “Wysbegeerte“. Which directly translates as a “desire for wisdom”. Now, isn’t that simply wonderful?

Although in modern speech we’ve watered the concept down and use a direct translation from English: “Filosofie“. But I’m using the pretty name instead.

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