Loaded Words

Marjorie Garber

in Loaded Words

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242047
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823242085 | DOI:
Loaded Words

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What is the other, or opposite, of knowledge and belief? How we define the range of signification and connotation here will shape the way we think about these contestatory, overused, and ultimately unsatisfactory terms, terms that are both empty and loaded. The problem with loaded words is not that they are too full, but rather that they are too empty. To draw the line between knowledge and belief is in part to impose a set of frames: Professional versus amateur judgments; intuition versus research (although research, as any student of drug-company protocols or think-tank politics can attest, is not itself a neutral category); present versus past. Knowledge and belief are good (or bad) examples of what linguists call shifters: words like you and I, here and there, that change their meanings depending upon the location and nature of the speaker. Knowledge and belief are related to dogma, doxa, dicta, and data. When it comes to knowledge and belief, the lady Theory, or Theoria, has an opposite number, in the concept of empiricism.

Keywords: loaded words; knowledge; belief; shifters; empiricism; dogma; dicta; data; doxa

Chapter.  4376 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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