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Loaded Words$
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Marjorie Garber

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823242047

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823242047.001.0001

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Loaded Words

Loaded Words

(p.6) CHAPTER ONE Loaded Words
Loaded Words

Marjorie Garber

Fordham University Press

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

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