Re: SIGATW in 1 Cor 14:34

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Sun Jul 06 1997 - 22:43:39 EDT


I think one of the big problems we're having here is that formal logic
leaves no room for what is implied, but not formally stated. It ignores a
significant portion of what the speaker or writer meant to say. Paul Grice's
"Logic and Conversation" gives good examples to illustrate this. Consider
this example from the essay, which is included in the book "Studies in the
Way of Words":

A. I am out of gas
B. There is a gas station around the corner

We can assume that speaker B believes that the gas station is open, that
they do sell gasoline, etc., even though none of this could be formally
proven from the above statements. In fact, if we fail to conclude this, we
miss the whole point of what speaker B said. Similarly, if Paul tells women
what to wear when they pray or prophesy so that they do not shame their
head, we can assume that Paul thinks that it makes a difference, and is not
just giving fashion advice, telling women what to wear while shaming their

The relationship between formal propositional logic and natural language
discourse is quite difficult, and I doubt that we really have the expertise
or bandwidth to discuss it in this forum. But I think that it is important
to realize that (1) most of the content of *any* natural language
communication is not in the form of logical propositions; (2) if we don't
grasp anything that isn't explicitly stated, we often miss the whole point;
(3) the reason most of us learned Greek is to grasp the richness of the
original in all its ambiguity, subtlety, and implications.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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