Random thoughts on random topics



The metaphysics of finitude versus the metaphysics of presence. Can the latter be equated with a metaphysics of infinity, realistically conceived? The assumed infiniteness of language seems hard to cope with in the former. But then again, what did we need language’s infinity for in the first place? It seems that we need the assumption if we consider it our task to account for creativity as a property of language users as one that is in fact derived from language itself: then we regard it in fact as a property of the tool, not of the ones who use it, or, rather, of the use they make of it. But of course it is an aspect of the way people use language, and as such creativity does not entail infinity, just openness, non-determinism and a fundamental situatedness. It is only if we abstract from that, and leave out the users that we are forced, by our own abstraction, to substitute infinity for creativity.

Martin Stokhof
from: Interpretation
date: fall 1992