[b-greek] Re: Verbal Aspect follow-up

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Thu Nov 09 2000 - 15:51:56 EST

At 1:05 PM -0700 11/9/00, Wayne Leman wrote:
>> As to Wayne and Dr. Decker's earlier comments:
>> I think I should restate my concern this way:
>> All human beings, regardless of geographical isolation or linguistic
>> limitations, innately think (conceptualize) in terms of past, present, and
>> future. This is innate to the human soul, regardless of societal norms.
>> are you saying this is not the case?
>This is not the case, Mark. We only assume this because it is what we are
>used to from Western European languages. Many languages do not have a past
>tense or a future tense, but the speakers can still very competently speak
>of things which have happened in the past or will happen in the future, but
>that doesn't mean that they have tense in their languages. As to whether or
>not all human beings have innate concepts of past, present, and future, this
>is a theoretical question, open to empirical testing. We can only speculate
>without proper scientific testing to determine what is actually the case,

This really goes off-topic, but I cannot resist my own follow-up. I'm
awfully leery of assertions about "all human beings." One of my favorite
modern footnotes to a celebrated dictum of antiquity is what I think John
Herman Randall once said of Aristotle's PANTES ANQRWPOI TOU EIDENAI FUSEI
OREGONTAI, "It is obvious that Aristotle never dealt with American college


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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