Words as Idols

Read Owen Barfield’s “Poetic Diction” and “History in English Words” a year or so ago, and blogged several items. [here][here][here]. I was doing a search on Barfield today in preparation for reading more of his work and came across two interesting sites.

This review of Barfield’s “Saving the Appearances – A Study in Idolatry” on the somewhat odd doyletics site.

Liked this 1933 Hoffenstein quote, about the reductionist dangers of logical positivism, “cutting one’s own throat with Occam’s razor” as I’ve called it, the ruthlessness of the analytic “knife” to use Pirsig’s metaphor, or “scientific fundamentalism” as James Willis coined it.

Little by little we subtract
Faith and fallacy from fact
The illusory from the true
And starve upon the residue.

(See also Wordsworth’s “we murder to dissect”)

And this comprehensive Barfield site updated recently by David Lavery.

4 thoughts on “Words as Idols”

  1. “cutting one’s own throat with Occam’s razor” — I like that. I think Sam Hoffenstein would have liked it as well.

    from the somewhat odd web designer,

    in freedom and light,

    Bobby Matherne

  2. Hi Bobby, I’ve linked to you in other posts. Nice to make contact.

    I like your thinking if not all your conclusions and doyletic thesis. Interesting stuff none-the-less.

    The other much quoted version of the aphorism is Wordsworth’s “We murder to dissect …”

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