Proverbs

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
it is pretty likely that will happen at some point during the next ten years, though.

Ha, and here it is! The Collossal Calmer Karma Crab, Big Benevolent Balloon Baby and Platitudipus. :D

Anyone who uses the phrase "Cheer up, it might never happen" deserves to be boiled alive in hot oil, tied in a sack with twenty rabid, starving cats and flung off the battlements. And then kicked to death, just in case.

At which point, ironically, 'it' will most definitely have happened to them.
 

zhao

there are no accidents
one of the ones compiled by jenny holzer i always liked is:

one should neither be proud, nor ashamed, of poverty.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Two proverbs that always baffled me as they say almost the opposite of what people use them to mean:

He/She is one of a kind - that literally says that they are one of a certain type but people use it to mean that the person is unique. Surely the proverb should be something along the lines of "He's not one of a kind" or "He's a kind of one".

A poor workman blames his tools - this is used to imply that someone who blames his tools is bad at what he's doing, but it's literally the converse of that. It should be "Someone who blames his tools is a poor workman" (or more elegantly "Only a poor workman blames his tools") - as it stands it literally means that anyone who doesn't blame his tools is not a poor workman (as all poor workmen blame their tools) which can't be right.
 

bobbin

What
one of the ones compiled by jenny holzer i always liked is:

one should neither be proud, nor ashamed, of poverty.

sounds like it embodies a reasonable attitude to material goods and money.

A poor workman blames his tools - this is used to imply that someone who blames his tools is bad at what he's doing, but it's literally the converse of that. It should be "Someone who blames his tools is a poor workman" (or more elegantly "Only a poor workman blames his tools") - as it stands it literally means that anyone who doesn't blame his tools is not a poor workman (as all poor workmen blame their tools) which can't be right.

i'm not sure about your logical analysis here. i think it adequately suggests what it is intended to mean, that the condition of being a poor workman is sufficient for tool blaming, and that tool blaming sufficiently implies being a poor workman. to intend to mean that the condition of being a poor workman was necessary for blaming tools or that being a poor workman is a neccessary implication of blaming tools would be something else.

ps i am half taking the piss but stand by this
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"i'm not sure about your logical analysis here. i think it adequately suggests what it is intended to mean, that the condition of being a poor workman is sufficient for tool blaming, and that tool blaming sufficiently implies being a poor workman."
It may "suggest" it to the layman but logically it definitely doesn't say the second part of that - I'd guess that people read it as suggesting that through growing up and hearing the saying used to mean that.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"nah. disagree. you're just not seeing it because you want the logic to run left to right."
No, you're definitely one hundred percent wrong. Take the expression "Girls just want to have fun" which is of the same structure, it says that if you are a girl you want to have fun, it does not mean that those who want to have fun are girls which is equivalent to what you're arguing. Do you see it now?
 
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bobbin

What
No, you're definitely one hundred percent wrong. Take the expression "Girls just want to have fun" which is of the same structure, it says that if you are a girl you want to have fun, it does not mean that those who want to have fun are girls which is equivalent to what you're arguing. Do you see it now?

no,

1. it's not of the same structure, you'd at least have to make it "a girl wants to have her fun" to argue that

2. i wouldn't agree that the logical meaning of a sentence isn't comprehensively or exclusively dependent on its surface lexigraphical structure. i think you would have to have a strange, unrealistic sort of programmatic idea of language to think that, but i think it's implicit in what you're saying. (i'm not arguing that a sentence is the smallest meaningful logical unit in language incidentally.)

3. i'm not arguing that the proverb means that everyone in the class of people who blame their tools is necessarily a bad workman, just that it happily does its job, which is to make an inferential claim leading from the blaming of tools to put it another way (rather than a deductive claim leading from the condition of bad workmanship) which i think that sentence structure does no problem

it's wicked the way we're turning this thread on proverbs into a debate about lanugage (er maybe)
 

bobbin

What
in fact scratch number 1, there's not really any way to reconcile them as equivalents, your example has two verbs in it, it's not the same. and there's no way you can change that without totally altering the meaning.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
" it's not of the same structure, you'd at least have to make it "a girl wants to have her fun" to argue that"
OK, there is an ambiguity as to whether "a" is universally quantified but it doesn't change the argument. The sentence you suggest has converse (equivalent to "someone who blames their tools is a poor workman") "someone who wants to have fun is a girl" - which surely you can see is not something you can logically deduce from the original sentence.
I'm surprised that we're arguing about something that is so fundamental and basic in logic, there is a simple right and a wrong here - if I said that 2 + 2 = 4 you wouldn't try to suggest a different answer 'cause you interpreted the 2 differently would you?
A poor workman blames his tools is the same as

If "poor workman" then "blame tools"

People use it to mean If "blame tools" then "poor workman" an obvious converse error. Thats' it, I cannot see any room for debate here.

"i wouldn't agree that the logical meaning of a sentence isn't comprehensively or exclusively dependent on its surface lexigraphical structure. i think you would have to have a strange, unrealistic sort of programmatic idea of language to think that, but i think it's implicit in what you're saying. (i'm not arguing that a sentence is the smallest meaningful logical unit in language incidentally.)"
Do you want that double-negative in there?

"i'm not arguing that the proverb means that everyone in the class of people who blame their tools is necessarily a bad workman, just that it happily does its job, which is to make an inferential claim leading from the blaming of tools to put it another way (rather than a deductive claim leading from the condition of bad workmanship) which i think that sentence structure does no problem"
Yeah, it does its job in that people understand what you're attempting to say, I'm just pointing out that it doesn't actually say that. It's the same as when someone says "I aint got none" and you understand them to mean that they haven't got any, it doesn't mean that it makes logical sense.
 

bobbin

What
Thats' it, I cannot see any room for debate here.

i think maybe it's time we agree we're not gonna resolve this one! :)

not trying to be condescending at all, but i guess i feel like you're getting the wrong end of the stick a bit. i could probably be making my view a lot clearer though. and no doubt you feel i'm doing the same.

Um, sorry, that comes across as a bit aggressive. I was in a bad mood.

no no don't worry, didn't take it that way!
 

Leo

Well-known member
I would think having a bird in your bush isn't very pleasant either, never mind two.
 
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