I was sitting in a coffee shop last Thursday allowing my brain to run in idle mode. Opposite my seat was a barber with a large sign outside saying
I fell to speculating as to whether 10% would represent a significant haircut or not. My hair is not as long as it once was and I estimated the average length to be about 4 to 5 cm. This haircut would result in a loss of 4 to 5 mm: not unreasonable but perhaps a little short of a good haircut.
I was reminded of this over dinner last night when a bunch of us were discussing language. I have been rereading Ian Hacking’s book Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy? and was pontificating when Laurie said “but language works because of goodwill—-because both parties want it to work”. I had not previously thought of this idea, of positive will on one party to transmit and on the other to receive. It did, however, revive my barber example and an email signature that I once used for a long time:
“Keep away from Children and Do Not Drink” — useful advice found on an Epson Print Cartridge
Having sent one of my correspondents dozens of emails with this signature, I eventually had an email back from her saying “Chris, I’ve just understood your signature”.
Does this invalidate the positive co-operation argument?