Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Philosophy Wire: Violence, society, trials...


Philosophy Wire by Spiros Kakos [2014-07-29]: The digitized archives of Old Baley, the central Criminal Court of England and Whales which cover 200.000 trials and have a total length of 137 million words, are a treasure to the archaeologists and sociologists, if only they could analyze the vast volume of data. The analysis showed that until the end of 18th century, the language used in the court was unequivocally violent no matter what the nature of the crime was - for example the references to knifes and blood were equally frequent both in trials for murders as well as trials for stolen watches or handkerchiefs. The great change came at the decade of 1800, when the language of of the trials' transcripts started to discriminate more the crimes of violence. As the researchers claim in their PNAS paper, the results show a decrease in the tolerance against violence in society [1] Can we really say that we are less violent today? Or are we just more hypocrites? Is a change in language enough to cover a steadily miserable reality? From the wars of the past, to the drone kills or the famine deaths of the present. Look carefully. The truth is not into what is written. The truth is not into what is told. But in the silence... Stop talking. Stop writing. And you will see the world as it really is.

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