Matter of Matters ᴹᴹ

Does anything exist
without a name?

One of starting points
of Matter of Matters theory
is the theory of linguistic relativity. Language relativists claim that language we speak makes us think and percept the world in a certain way. ‘Strong’ linguistic relativity (also known as linguistic determinism) maintains that our mother language determines our thinking and conceptualization of the world. This statement has already been considered untenable. ‘Weak’ linguistic relativity concentrates on certain aspects of language such as spatial orientation, colour perception, gender gradation etc., which can significantly vary from culture to culture and influence our vision of the world.


image source

Metaphor is widely used
in science to make sense
of phenomena and effects. Scientists use everyday experiences to describe their discoveries in a cogitable way. MM-theory inverts these processes: here, science
is used to describe, probe
or analyse metaphors.

↘ linguistic relativity


The first observations of this principle where made in XIV century by William Ewart Gladstone, the author of Studies on Homer and Homeric Age, who noticed some strangeness in the way Homer described colours in Iliad and Odyssey. For instance, Homer never used the word ‘blue’ to describe the colour of a sea or sky. Gladstone suggestet that ancient Greeks had undeveloped colour perception because of undeveloped organs of vision, a kind of colour blindness. But this assumption was of course erroneous.

In fact, for Ancient Greeks blue sea and blue sky did not exist because they did not have a word to describe this colour. Colour names were forming gradually, starting from black and white, than red, yellow, green and finally blue —the last defined basic colour in almost all languages. To speculate about something one should define the subject first. An idea, an object, a colour, a living being, a phenomenon — nothing exists without being defined in a language. There is obviously a connection between naming and existence.


© Research Institute for Matters of Matter