Words and the Faculty

E. P. Scarlett, M.B.
Arch Intern Med. 1962;109(4):485-489. doi:10.1001/archinte.1962.03620160111015.
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Last month we were talking of words in general and of medical and scientific language in particular. Words, we said, were in a very real sense living symbols of the long pilgrimage of our race. Precise and literate language in medicine was essential to the integrity and stature of the profession. The exercise of judgment and care in this matter remains the mark of a civilized man. Doubtless it was all a bit pedantic, but if I am to be hanged for it, I must protest that I am being hanged in a good cause.

There are other aspects of this business of language that I might have dealt with as well. For one thing, the thriving science of semantics bristling with problems, with which the name of Korzybski is linked; the modern philosophy of logical positivism, its theme "Philosophy is a critique of language," and its chief exponent Wittgenstein.


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