more from Benjamin Lee Whorf

Single Idea 3916

[catalogued under 13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 5. Language Relativism]

Full Idea

Hopi, with its preference for verbs, as contrasted to our own liking for nouns, perpetually turns our propositions about things into propositions about events.


The Hopi are a tribe of native Americans

Gist of Idea

Hopi consistently prefers verbs and events to nouns and things


Benjamin Lee Whorf (An American Indian model of the Universe [1936], p.63)

Book Reference

'A Companion to Epistemology', ed/tr. Dancy,J. /Sosa,E. [Blackwell 1993], p.63

A Reaction

This should provoke careful thought about ontology - without concluding that it is entirely relative to language.

Related Ideas

Idea 8348 If we don't assume that events exist, we cannot make sense of our common talk [Davidson]

Idea 9843 You can't identify events by causes and effects, as the event needs to be known first [Dummett on Davidson]