Laryngeal theory as an unnatural

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 18658
Date: 2003-02-10

Dear sweet Brian M. Scott,

The topic that you've opened up is far removed from the discussion
between Miguel and I. Putting aside any epistemological philosophies
you may have, this list operates on Logic and Logic alone, which is
based on the simple-to-understand binary opposition of true and false.

My rebuttal is in short, precise sentences as I have done with Miguel
so that I remain lucid. This is not "petulance" but rather "focus",
something otherwise lacking on this List.

On logic itself...
There is a difference between fact and theory.
In logic, fact must be measured according to True and False.
We prioritize theories according to a scale of probability based
on **available facts**. (aka: Occam's principle)

According to your post...
You side with Miguel on this je-ne-sais-quoi that distinguishes
/n/ and /m/.
You and Miguel fail to elaborate on what it is.
This therefore remains conjecture.
Thus, it is irrelevant to our previous fact-based discussion.

On the other hand...
It is true that /n/ and /m/ are [+nasal].
It is also true that /n/ and /m/ are distinguished by [+/-round].
Based on this then, it is true that Miguel's theory is incomplete
or incorrect.
Until it is complete and grounded in facts rather than supposition,
it violates Occam's Razor and remains pure conjecture.
Conjecture is irrelevant to a logical discussion.

Given this, there's nothing for you, Miguel or anyone to debate until
these matters change.


Now, Brian, nothing is stopping you from pursuing the "nasal spectrum"
hypothesis further, but don't bug me about it until you have something
meaningful to say on it. It is hardly to be used as some twisted proof
for Miguel's otherwise baseless theory.

Secondly, many theories may be "incomplete" in the manner that you use
the word, however they are not baseless. Grimm's Law may have been
incomplete, since it was further complemented by Verner's Law, but it
was based on widely attested sound correspondances like Germanic *f
and Italic *p. It was actually **based** on something **real**.

Miguel doesn't base his nasalization theory on anything decently attested
in IE. He claims that nasalization is the cause of *a in these cases, but
there is far too little substantiation along with unexplained
counterexamples that show that nasalization CANNOT be the sole cause or
even the cause at all! Hardly a Grimm's Law or a Quantum Theory.

Most people at this point should be able to understand why I oppose this.
So when you state that "A little less petulance and a little more logical
argument would be far more useful", I likewise urge reciprocity because I
have already offered a logical arguement that no one has yet addressed
with as much focus.

- gLeN

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