Rabbinic Philosophy of Language: Not in Heaven

in The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy
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Abstract

I argue that “sampling” is at the heart of rabbinical hermeneutics. I argue further that anomalous monism—and specifically its arguments about token identity, of which sampling is one species—provides some insight into understanding the nature of rabbinical hermeneutics and religion, where truth is contingent on social judgment but is nevertheless objective. These points are illustrated through a close reading of the story of the oven of Aknai in the Bavli’s Baba Metzia. I claim that rabbinic Judaism represents an early attempt to integrate written texts into communicative processes, and thus frame the essay by comparing it to more recent computational technologies.

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