Sorry to have dropped out of the conversation for so long. This format seems to work best when a certain momentum is maintained. And thanks for coming back to the theory of types. I've actually gone back now & thought a bit more about what was a spur of the moment notion. I first ran across the Theory of Types, not in Wittgenstein or Russel, but in Gregory Bateson's Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Bateson was an anthropologist, but anthropological philosopher might serve as a better epithet. In the 1950s Bateson developed a theory of schizophrenia that R.D. Laing would later popularize & extend. I'm not sure how contemporary biological models of mental dysfunction would fit with this view, but, in brief, Bateson proposed that Schizophrenics had been victimized by a violation of the theory of types: As children, he says, their parents consistently said one thing but meant another, Alice in Wonderland-fashion, creating a permanent state of paradox, or double-bind. "I love you," coos a mother, but with a look on her face that says, "You disgust me." In order to cope with what is essentially a paradoxical & impossible world, the victim of such treatment develops a way of thinking that slides between Types without recognizing the shift. Bateson offers the following pair of syllogisms as an example of the difference between normal logical typing & of this other sort of thinking:

Men die.
Socrates is a man.
Socrates will die.

& this "mistaken" example.

Men die.
Grass dies.
Men are grass.

The first example is of course right as rain & has been since Aristotle; the second example is, well, poetry, I think. I'm not quite sure what to make of this. Metaphor is a violation of Types. What is the difference, then, between a functional & dysfunctional violation of Types? (I have no intention of romanticizing madness here.)


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