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View Diary: Political Jujitsu and the "half don't pay any taxes" lie (97 comments)

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  •  me neither... (0+ / 0-)

    which is why I didn't say they all did.

    I used what's called a generic expression: I'm describing the typical conservative.  But that's not the same as describing every conservative.  

    To see my point more broadly, compare sentence (a), a generic, with sentence (b), a universal:

    (a) Human beings have ten fingers.
    (b) All human beings have ten fingers.

    You can tell they are different by looking at their truth-conditions (i.e., their semantics).  Sentence (a) allows for humans with fewer or more than 10 fingers, even though they are not typical.  That is, it is still true even if some people have, say, 9 fingers.  Sentence (b), however, is a much stronger claim.  If you encounter someone with nine fingers, either (b) is false, or that person is not a human being.  

    Coming back to what I said:  It allows for some conservatives who do not believe in wealth-based moral hierarchy.  But those are atypical, as any examination of conservative statements and writings will demonstrate.

    What you've done is pragmatically strengthen my generic statement into a universal; your reply is a useful retort to a universal, but not to a generic, since the generic allows for it to be the case.  Listeners (typically but not always!) strengthen generic statements into a universal, for reasons of linguistic pragmatics.  But generics and universals are very distinct, and I meant what I said, no more and no less.

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 01:40:54 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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