Notice a distinct lack of non-Western Philosophers in the forums. I, myself, have limited knowledge but would like to share a story about something I found really interesting.
On the rectification of names; or why it's not cool to describe something as "cool"
From the Analects, as translated in 1980 wrote:
Tsze-lu said, "The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?"
The Master replied, "What is necessary is to rectify names." "So! indeed!" said Tsze-lu. "You are wide of the mark! Why must there be such rectification?"
The Master said, "How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.
"If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
"When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
"Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."
I understand this passage on two differing levels:
1. The proper naming of nouns and positions of status
2. The proper terms to describe everything
Taking particular interest in point 2, there is a tendency for us to describe everything as "cool, rad, nice" so on. While we have to expect verbosity sometimes, i find that this has become quite a handicap for me ; at least verbally.
When I can describe the scenery in autumn as "soft, subtle shades of ochre against a reddening sun" with some thought, oftentimes I just use the word "it's great" - which doesn't touch the soul.
What do you think?