Scientistic Poem: “‘Gavagai’ and ‘Rabbits’”

It is important to think of what prompts the native’s assent to ‘Gavagai?’ as stimulations and not rabbits.

Stimulation can remain the same though the rabbit be supplanted by a counterfeit.

conversely, stimulation can vary in its power to prompt assent to ‘Gavagai’ because of variations

in angle, lighting, and color contrast, though the rabbit remain the same.  In experimentally equating

the uses of ‘Gavagai’ and ‘Rabbit’ it is simulations that must be made to match, not animals.

stimulation

counterfeit

conversely,

variations

in angle,

equating

the

animals.

A visual stimulation is perhaps best identified, for present purposes, with the pattern

of chromatic irritation of the eye.  To look deep into the subject’s head would be

inappropriate even if feasable, for we want to keep clear of his idiosyncratic neural routings

or private history of habit formation.  We are after his socially inculcated language usage, hence

his responses subject to social assessment.  Ocular irradiation is intersubjectively checked

to some degree by society and linguist alike, by making allowances for the

speaker’s orientation and the relative disposition of objects.

a

pattern

of

routings

or

hence

his

checked

to

the

speaker’s

objects.

In taking the visual stimulations as irradiation patterns

we invest them with a fineness of detail beyond anything that our

linguists can be called upon to check for.

But this is all right.  He can reasonably conjecture that the native

would be prompted to assent to ‘Gavagai’ by the microscopically same

irradiations that would prompt him, the linguist, to assent to ‘Rabbit’,

even though this conjecture rests wholly on samples

where the irradiations concerned

can at best be hazarded merely to be

in

patterns

we

our

linguists

for

but

native

would

same

irradiations

‘Rabbit’,

even

samples

concerned

can

be

PRETTY MUCH ALIKE.

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