Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: March 6, 2022, 6:19 a.m. Humanist 35.570 - ELIZA: a sociolinguistic test

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 570.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2022-03-05 08:52:33+00:00
        From: David Zeitlyn <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 35.569: ELIZA and conversation

Dear all

Why sociolinguistics (or anthropological linguistics) is wider than conversation

People take baggage with them when they start a linguistic interaction. They
take somewhat different baggage with them after it.

Two philosophers can help here.  Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations
‘Here I should like to say: a wheel that can be turned though nothing else moves
with it, is not part of the mechanism.' 271.
I link this to Robert Brandom’s idea of commitments – in saying something what
do you commit yourself to doing?

Put these together and I would ask what follows from interacting with Eliza.? Do
people make decisions on the basis of these conversations? And when asked why
they have acted as they have ,do they cite Eliza as an explanation? (Versions of
'my analyst told me to X'). Do they discuss what they have been told with their
friends and say things like “this has made me question my position on X” (in my
fantasy paraphrase).

If not then it is as if the whole interaction is disconnected from the rest of
their lives and really doesn’t matter – a wheel turning on idle

Professor David Zeitlyn,

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, School of Anthropology and Museum
University of Oxford, 51 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PF, UK.
The Virtual Institute of Mambila Studies:  ORCID: 0000-0001-5853-7351

2020 Monograph: Mambila Divination: Framing Questions, Constructing Answers
Late 2021 Now in paperback:  ISBN 9781032174082

Vestiges: Traces of Record Open Access Journal

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