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The Official Dieworkwear Appreciation Thread

Nobilis Animus

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Perhaps, but I think it would be up to people in that community to decide what they want to be called and what tools they would like to use for political organizing. Part of the point of creating the term Asian American was that the term was created by and for people in that community, not like Oriental, which was imposed and comes with connotations of foreign conquest. I don't mean to say that "outsiders" don't have a right to contribute to that conversation, but I'm not sure a white guy has the right to say what Asians should call themselves or be offended by.
Certainly no one has the right to define what anyone else choose to call themselves, and people may also organize themselves politically along whatever lines they choose, but such things are still not above scrutiny. If that scrutiny happens to come from outside the ethnic community, it is no less relevant if it is accurate. Otherwise we are simply engaging in a Fallacy of Origin.
 

zenosparadox

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And the idea of using ethnic heritage as a basis for political identity is one which is highly controversial.

Unraveling the connotations which are alien to a word from what that word actually means is hugely important if we are to try avoiding misunderstandings. Otherwise we are simply misusing terms in another way.
Certainly no one has the right to define what anyone else choose to call themselves, and people may also organize themselves politically along whatever lines they choose, but such things are still not above scrutiny. If that scrutiny happens to come from outside the ethnic community, it is no less relevant if it is accurate. Otherwise we are simply engaging in a Fallacy of Origin.
But isn't asserting the original or "actual" meaning of a word against its mis(uses) also engaging in a Fallacy of Origin? The etymology of a word doesn't only involve its original sense, but also the entire history of the uses and misuses of the word. And Orientalism has a very long and problematic history. As you can't cleanse the word of the accumulated senses of the past two hundred years, it's best to avoid any variation of the term, unless you're referring directly to this problematic history.
 

abantigen

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@dieworkwear

I go back to your olds posts all the time. I can usually find most articles I'm looking for by searching on Google with keywords but it would be nice if there was a way to navigate through your old writing by date.
 

Nobilis Animus

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But isn't asserting the original or "actual" meaning of a word against its mis(uses) also engaging in a Fallacy of Origin? The etymology of a word doesn't only involve its original sense, but also the entire history of the uses and misuses of the word. And Orientalism has a very long and problematic history. As you can't cleanse the word of the accumulated senses of the past two hundred years, it's best to avoid any variation of the term, unless you're referring directly to this problematic history.
A Fallacy of Origin, or Genetic Fallacy, is an illogical criticism of an argument on the basis of its source - i.e. that an argument can be discounted because the one who proposes it is fat, or ugly, or female, or Dutch, etc., rather than wrestling with its merits.

If we were to be logically consistent with the idea that we must discount words because they are made problematic, rather than actually being so, we would eventually obscure the truth of what those words actually mean, rather than how they have been abused. Now that doesn't mean that they still ought to be used, especially when they may cause offense, but we should still be cognizant of the difference between the two - or else we risk conflating ignorant perversions of language (like using Oriental as an ethnic slur) with accurate meaning.
 

dieworkwear

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A Fallacy of Origin, or Genetic Fallacy, is an illogical criticism of an argument on the basis of its source - i.e. that an argument can be discounted because the one who proposes it is fat, or ugly, or female, or Dutch, etc., rather than wrestling with its merits.

If we were to be logically consistent with the idea that we must discount words because they are made problematic, rather than actually being so, we would eventually obscure the truth of what those words actually mean, rather than how they have been abused. Now that doesn't mean that they still ought to be used, especially when they may cause offense, but we should still be cognizant of the difference between the two - or else we risk conflating ignorant perversions of language (like using Oriental as an ethnic slur) with accurate meaning.
I think you're thinking of an ad hominem. E.g. "This argument is false because the person who made the argument is Dutch"

Fallacy of Origin isn't about where the argument originated, but the actual origin of the subject. It would be closer to the etymology that you used. "This argument is false because the origin of the word Oriental is X."
 

Texasmade

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Regardless if it's ad hominem or fallacy of origin, don't fucking call me Oriental.
 

zenosparadox

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A Fallacy of Origin, or Genetic Fallacy, is an illogical criticism of an argument on the basis of its source - i.e. that an argument can be discounted because the one who proposes it is fat, or ugly, or female, or Dutch, etc., rather than wrestling with its merits.

If we were to be logically consistent with the idea that we must discount words because they are made problematic, rather than actually being so, we would eventually obscure the truth of what those words actually mean, rather than how they have been abused. Now that doesn't mean that they still ought to be used, especially when they may cause offense, but we should still be cognizant of the difference between the two - or else we risk conflating ignorant perversions of language (like using Oriental as an ethnic slur) with accurate meaning.
I suppose I disagree with the supposition that "words actually mean" something outside of how they are (and have been) used. What I do know of linguistic morphology and modern philology persuades me that language is inherently catachrestic. Words are sedimented with the histories of their many uses, so to assert the etymon of a word (oriens, in this isntance) as somehow more truthful than the later deviations of that word's history is not in keeping with how language works. The etymology or origin/root has value, of course, but isn't inherently any more true than the history that obscures its original meaning.

Indeed, this is a particularly interesting debate in relation to the word "oriental," as modern philology was (at least until the middle of the twentieth century) an inherently Orientalizing practice. It wasn't "ignoramuses" that ruined/obscured the original meaning of the word "oriental," but actually some of the most intelligent scholars/polymaths of their age (from Herder and Jones onwards).
 

Nobilis Animus

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I think you're thinking of an ad hominem. E.g. "This argument is false because the person who made the argument is Dutch"

Fallacy of Origin isn't about where the argument originated, but the actual origin of the subject. It would be closer to the etymology that you used. "This argument is false because the origin of the word Oriental is X."
Not quite. An Ad Hominem would be an attack on the person who is making the argument itself. A Genetic Fallacy posits that the argumental origin of the premises are the basis for the veracity of the argument.

Ad Hominem: This argument is wrong, because the person making it is a hypocrite in this other matter.

Genetic Fallacy: My physician is fat, therefore I cannot trust his medical advice.

One appeals to the origination of the argument itself as sufficient to prove true/false, and the other depends upon the acceptance of an attack upon its source as proof.
 
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Nobilis Animus

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I suppose I disagree with the supposition that "words actually mean" something outside of how they are (and have been) used. What I do know of linguistic morphology and modern philology persuades me that language is inherently catachrestic. Words are sedimented with the histories of their many uses, so to assert the etymon of a word (oriens, in this isntance) as somehow more truthful than the later deviations of that word's history is not in keeping with how language works. The etymology or origin/root has value, of course, but isn't inherently any more true than the history that obscures its original meaning.

Indeed, this is a particularly interesting debate in relation to the word "oriental," as modern philology was (at least until the middle of the twentieth century) an inherently Orientalizing practice. It wasn't "ignoramuses" that ruined/obscured the original meaning of the word "oriental," but actually some of the most intelligent scholars/polymaths of their age (from Herder and Jones onwards).
I take your point, but there are two different things at work here: the meaning of a word, and how that word comes to be interpreted over time.

(sorry for this, but I geek-out over this stuff - I'm not just trying to be contrary)

Words refer to other things which they 'mean,' and not to themselves. To paraphrase Aikins (1902): the subject or object of our thoughts is not the subject of any given sentence, but the real thing about which a judgement is passed. If I were to use the sentence: "The chair is ugly," the real chair is the subject of the judgement (even though nothing is stated about my judgement with regard to the chair), but not the word 'chair' itself, which is merely the name of the real chair, and not the object itself. What we are thinking about, the thing that is in a certain state, and the name of what we are speaking about are three separate and distinct things.

With regard to the term 'oriental,' the misuse of the word presupposes a connection between at least two of the things mentioned - that is, between the name of the object and the object itself. This is how I may state that that particular term came to be ignorantly misused to denote something other than it's original intention - 'oriental' vulgarly came to be used to mean "He is an Oriental," which is to confuse the actual thing (him) with the name of an object (in this case, a geographical region) which does not apply to the object under discussion (the person mentioned). The logical slip between the two is that the name of an object - the geographical region of the Orient - cannot possibly apply to the real object of a personage. It goes beyond etymology to embrace the logical usage of words as things in themselves. So oriental can be used neutrally and logically to denote the geographical or original meaning of 'eastern' generally, but cannot logically be equated as a word with equivalence to the object of a person - i.e., there are no 'Easterns,' but there are 'people from the East.'

So while I agree that the use of a word may change over time to encompass a wide range of meanings, I do not believe that these processes are fundamentally equivalent in their evolution, and some of them, especially in the case of words which have their meanings twisted into slurs, are predicated upon a lack of understanding of logical word formation.

I am reminded of official subway posters I have seen recently with the term "Ride safer" scrawled across them. This is an example of how the lack of understanding of the function of the comparative adjective 'safer' can turn an otherwise useful hint into a nonsensical phrase, while still maintaining the intended meaning. It is apparent that however clear the meaning may be for its intended recipients, the usage itself is wrong - not only linguistically, but logically. The perceived meaning of a word is distinct from the thing which it means. Thus when a word undergoes a change in its subject meaning, we can analyze the transition to determine whether that change is the result of a gradual morphing of determined definition or whether it is a conflation of two or more dissimilar ideas. Whether we choose to use it or not from that point on is a matter of common sense.
 
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brax

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The thing is, occidental is basically never used, only heard oriental.

Due to how I've seen it used, it seemed dehumanizing and objectifying. Asian is pretty neutral and doesn't have negative connotations.
This whole discussion is very cultural specific. In much of South America oriente/occidente are the primary ways to distinguish between west and east. And I’m willing to guess that the Japanese in Peru or Brasil have a preferred term to refer to themselves which may include the word oriente. Thus absent absurdity, I will refer to groups as they so choose.

Keeping it straight can be difficult. I don’t like when people use “America” interchangeably with “USA” but don’t care whether people use latino or hispanic when referring to my ethnicity.
 

TheShetlandSweater

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I take your point, but there are two different things at work here: the meaning of a word, and how that word comes to be interpreted over time.

(sorry for this, but I geek-out over this stuff - I'm not just trying to be contrary)

Words refer to other things which they 'mean,' and not to themselves. To paraphrase Aikins (1902): the subject or object of our thoughts is not the subject of any given sentence, but the real thing about which a judgement is passed. If I were to use the sentence: "The chair is ugly," the real chair is the subject of the judgement (even though nothing is stated about my judgement with regard to the chair), but not the word 'chair' itself, which is merely the name of the real chair, and not the object itself. What we are thinking about, the thing that is in a certain state, and the name of what we are speaking about are three separate and distinct things.

With regard to the term 'oriental,' the misuse of the word presupposes a connection between at least two of the things mentioned - that is, between the name of the object and the object itself. This is how I may state that that particular term came to be ignorantly misused to denote something other than it's original intention - 'oriental' vulgarly came to be used to mean "He is an Oriental," which is to confuse the actual thing (him) with the name of an object (in this case, a geographical region) which does not apply to the object under discussion (the person mentioned). The logical slip between the two is that the name of an object - the geographical region of the Orient - cannot possibly apply to the real object of a personage. It goes beyond etymology to embrace the logical usage of words as things in themselves. So oriental can be used neutrally and logically to denote the geographical or original meaning of 'eastern' generally, but cannot logically be equated as a word with equivalence to the object of a person - i.e., there are no 'Easterns,' but there are 'people from the East.'

So while I agree that the use of a word may change over time to encompass a wide range of meanings, I do not believe that these processes are fundamentally equivalent in their evolution, and some of them, especially in the case of words which have their meanings twisted into slurs, are predicated upon a lack of understanding of logical word formation.

I am reminded of official subway posters I have seen recently with the term "Ride safer" scrawled across them. This is an example of how the lack of understanding of the function of the comparative adjective 'safer' can turn an otherwise useful hint into a nonsensical phrase, while still maintaining the intended meaning. It is apparent that however clear the meaning may be for its intended recipients, the usage itself is wrong - not only linguistically, but logically. The perceived meaning of a word is distinct from the thing which it means. Thus when a word undergoes a change in its subject meaning, we can analyze the transition to determine whether that change is the result of a gradual morphing of determined definition or whether it is a conflation of two or more dissimilar ideas. Whether we choose to use it or not from that point on is a matter of common sense.
Ummm...You are simplifying a lot of very complicated issues about how experts today think language works and referring to some very outdated ideas. Philosophy of language was a very nascent field in 1902 and a lot has changed since then. I don't really want to go into this in depth here because I don't want to explain the major debates of 20th century philosophy. That would take a lot of time. If you are seriously interested in this stuff, here is a link to an anthology that contains some of the most historically significant papers on this stuff. You can find many of these papers online, but they aren't exactly the most riveting things to read. Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Strawson, Grice, Donnellan, Kaplan, and Kripke--these are the main figures you will see represented in an intro philosophy of language course today, probably in that order more or less. All of these figures say stuff relevant to the claims you made above. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is also a helpful resource on these topics, but it is also tremendously boring. I don't really want to discuss these topics in any more depth on a clothing forum. I don't think that would be a productive use of anyone's time.
 

Nobilis Animus

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I don't really want to discuss these topics in any more depth on a clothing forum. I don't think that would be a productive use of anyone's time.
I agree, so I'll only say this: Aikins didn't write on the philosophy of language, and I have very little interest in comparative linguistics or the philosophy of language itself. It is possible to realize why it would be unwise to use a word today given its particular interpretations while also acknowledging that the word itself means something very different.

That's enough from me. Anyone who cannot see the difference between the two can argue with the morons who bludgeoned a perfectly good Latin word to fit into their narrow ideologies, and still do so.
 
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Journeyman

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With regard to the term 'oriental,' the misuse of the word presupposes a connection between at least two of the things mentioned - that is, between the name of the object and the object itself.
I'm actually surprised that we've managed to spend the past few pages debating the origins, use and appropriateness (or otherwise) of the terms "Orient" and "Oriental" without mentioning Orientalism, and the writings of Edward Said.
 

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