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Beautiful Theology

Signifying truth in more than words alone

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Words and Images 2


The second image in Magritte’s graphical essay is:

Il y a des objets qui se passent de nom:


There are objects that do without a name. (or “noun,” perhaps)

That doesn’t mean one couldn’t name them, of course, or that one can’t apply a name/noun of some sort to them (“thing” covers most such entities). But the “name” doesn’t (once again) have an intrinsic relation to the entity.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the entity have intrinsic vaule without a name?

December 24, 2006 2:01 AM  
Blogger AKMA said...

Do you suppose that things have intrinsic value in the first place?

December 24, 2006 3:15 PM  
Anonymous tom said...

The image gives us an object that, I would imagine, we all immediately can say, has a name. Why portray something that has a name when talking of objects that do without names?

This before even thinking about how boats very often have the noun "boat" as well as individual names: "The African Queen."

se passer

The boat in the distance appears to have sails. The one in the foreground seems then more to lack. No sails, no oars, no anchor, no pilot, no compass. Is Magritte likening objets that do without names to such an ill-equipped objet? Where could it go? Can we speak of transport? What does it mean to "go"?

It's possible to think that all objets, in their objet-hood, in their realm before the name-bestowers came, do without names. It's also possible to think that the name-bestowers partake of that objet-hood, that namelessness; this too is part of their predicament.

December 30, 2006 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you ask me, I believe I have intrinsic value--with or without a name. But it is hard for me to beleive that a name can only be an external reference to a thing.

Sue isn't just a word to help identify this boy, it affects who I am.

December 31, 2006 1:27 PM  
Blogger AKMA said...

I suppose, didymus, that I'm not sure what makes value "intrinsic." In a theological sense, I'm immediately ready to acknowledge that you (and the boat) have some sort of value in God's sight.

In a conversation with someone who does not share that confidence, though, but who believes in phenomena such as "inalienable rights" or "intrinsic value," I'm baffled. Whence some these inalienable rights (especially when it seems easy enough for powerful institutions to ignore them)? What makes a value "intrinsic" if there are some who do not recognize it?

"Sue" may affect your identity, may indeed "make you who you are" in some sense, but there's no intrinsic Sue-ness, so far as I can tell.

Tom, I think the predicament you identify gets to the heart of my interest in these matters. "Predica-ment," indeed.

January 01, 2007 12:07 PM  

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