Note-Remotely-Daily-Quote #32

Word-magic is making things with words. God might be able to make things with words – after all, She can do anything. As it says in the Gospels: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (John, I, i); God said, ‘Let there be light’. And there was light” (???]. Many philosophers think we are God-like, and can make things with words, too. I think this is hubris. We cannot make things with words.

To deny that we can make things with words is not to deny that we can make words, in some sense or other of the term ‘make’. Since words are things, of a kind, when we make words we make things, of a kind. Again, to deny that we can make things with words is not to deny that we can make lots of other things than words – shoes and ships and sealing-wax, and cabbages and kings (to name but a few). What I deny is that we can make things with words.

Alan Musgrave, Metaphysical Realism versus Word-Magic

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