THE TRUTH ABOUT HARDNESS (& other accusations)
“If I say this table is hard, I am going beyond what my
experience would testify. What I know is that the
interaction or relationship between table and some sense
organ or instrument has a special character of differential
hardness for which I have no ordinary vocabulary, alas, but
which I distort by referring the special character of the
relationship to one of the components in it.
In so doing, I distort what I COULD know about
the RELATIONSHIP into a statement about a “thing”
which I cannot know. It is always relationship between
things that is the referent of all valid propositions. It is a
man-made notion that “hardness” is immanent in one end
of a binary relationship."(Bateson, Angels Fear, 157)
I call the chair hard—but it’s the relationship between
butt and chair that’s hard. I say this book sucks, this movie
is wonderful, this cat’s a sneezemaker, this person is stupid,
Republicans are retarded, Democrats air-heads —whatever
I say about anything says as much or more about me.
Always: it's about the relationship between me and the "thing"
and not the "thing" that is being characterized. (It's not
easy being epistemological)