LAW214-LAWS805_TBa_45-86.pdf

Join the practices he describes he cannot offer a set

Info icon This preview shows pages 25–28. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Join the practices he describes. He cannot offer a set of semantic rules for proper use of the word courtesy like the rules he might offer for using book. He cannot say that taking off one s hat to a lady is by definition a case of courtesy, the way Moby-Dick might be said to be a book by definition. Or that sending a thank-you note is a borderline case that can prop - erly be treated as either falling under courtesy or not, as a
Image of page 25

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
INTERPRETIVE CONCEPTS 69 large pamphlet can properly be treated either as a book or not. Any step he took in that direction would immediately cross the line the community drew around his assignment; he would have provided his own positive interpretation, not a piece of neutral background analysis. He is like a man\at the North Pole who is told to go any way but south. He complains about his assignment and is giv^ new in - structions. At least you can answer this question. Our prac - tices are now very different from what they were several generations ago, and different as well from the practices of courtesy in neighboring and distant societies. Yet we know the practice we have is the same sort of practice as those. There must therefore be some feature all these different practices have in common in virtue of which they are all versions of courtesy. This feature is surely neutral in the way we want, since it is shared by people with such different ideas of what courtesy actually requires. Please tell us what it is. He can indeed answer this question, though not in the way the instructions suggest. His explanation of the sense in which courtesy remains the same institution throughout its career of changes and adap - tion and across different communities with very different rules will not appeal to any defining feature common to all instances or examples of that institution.'® For by hy - pothesis there is no such feature: courtesy is at one stage re - garded as a matter of respect, and at another as something very different. His explanation will be historical: the institu - tion has the continuity to use the familiar Wittgensteinian figure of a rope composed of many strands no one of which runs for its entire length or across its entire width. It is only a historical fact that the present institution is the descendant, through interpretive adaptations of the sort we noticed, of earlier ones, and that foreign institutions are also descen- dants of similar earlier examples. The changes from one period to another, or the differences from one society to an - other, may be sufficiently great so that the continuity should be denied. Which changes are great enough to cut the thread
Image of page 26
70 INTERPRETIVE CONCEPTS of continuity? That itself is an interpretive question, and the answer would depend on why the question of continuity arises. ® There is no feature that any stage or instance of the practice just must have, in virtue of the meaning of the wbrd courtesy, and the search for such a feature would be just an - other example of the
Image of page 27

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 28
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern