Communication and Inspection
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120 ] Communication and Inspection On 16 Dec 1913, Eliot gave the first of four short presentations for Professor Royce’s seminar. He titled it “Communication and Inspection” and, according to Costello, resumed the argument about interpretation outlined the previous week in his long paper. Costello summarizes the basic question as: “what is the status of a supposed fact which includes as part of itself a belief or a meaning? How can we be sure we are correctly interpreting the mental life of a savage when the savage could not verify our interpretation if we could present it to him, because he could not understand it” (JRS 85). Describedcontentandexpressedcontentfuse,buttheattitudeofCorrespondent toward them is different. Description can be considered in the aspect of expression, and expression considered as description. How far are you going to accept description and how far shift the centre of gravity of identity. When two peoples or two religious parties “understand” each other better, they use I suppose both each other’s descriptions and each other’s expressions. [ 121 Communication and Inspection A fact implies identity. Communication seems to imply an identity in different contexts. What is a fact which includes a belief? In different cases, does that which is interpreted exist to a greater or less degree apart from interpretation? You do interpret another’s description into terms of your own description : when the point of identity is different from the two points of view. Two peoples or sects may discover that they both mean the same thing. But religion and its scientific interpreter will never meet in this birth. Description–expression is not simple expression; for the latter can be handled on our basis of truth-error directly; the former involves the interpretation of another level–How far are we to say “this is error”–“this is true”– “this is neither truth nor error.” Textual note Location: Hayward Bequest (King’s): T. S. Eliot: Philosophical Essays and Notes, P4(c); archivally titled [Communication and Interpretation]; pencil holograph, titled “Communication andInspection,”somewordsoverwritteninink,onesheetofyellowpaper;watermark:Minnesota Bond, 21.2 x 27.5 cm. ...