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Concepts lie behind language. Common law countries have strong traditions of suspicion of political power. Not so in Roman law countries.

Sudha's point raises a classic chicken-egg problem. Do words presuppose underlying concepts? Or do concepts need words to be realized and understood?

While there is merit to Sudha's point, I also think it more likely that political language can pull moral concepts by their bootstraps.

Most people don't think about political concepts on their own. Political language is a simplifier. It connects people with the moral concept without making them having to do the heavy legwork of a political philosopher. Orwell's newspeak is the realization of this phenomenon.

Therefore, if a language is deficient, it makes public awareness of moral principles less likely.

Sudha - you are right, concepts lie behind language. If one takes the stance that concepts cannot exist without language, then language (and the existence or absence of concepts) plays a role in the way people think. The suspicion for political power that you mention may have some relation to the absence of key concepts (and thus some relation to language) in Roman law countries. Whether this is a primary cause, I don't know.

Of course, you don't know frederic. You really, really drag down this blog. The concept is so obvious and research tired. But you don't know.

I like the idea, but I don't think it's quite original.
It is a concept quite well developed in Orwell's 1984. He says that the adoption of newspeak (a very limited language) will limit the scope of thought so much that any actions against the state will be impossible to even think about.


That's a bit strong. What's your problem with it?

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