Matthew Sweet examines knotty philosophical conundrums in an abstract pub.
United States


00:00:00thanks for downloading this episode from favorite conceptual pop the Philosopher's arms this week thank you sweet turns the Philosopher's arms blue in the beginning
00:00:16hello it's sometimes unruly hair at the Philosopher's arms the language can get a little bit a little bit blue it's a pub isn't it 6 series of this program The Landlady has been reviewing the situation and she's decided we really ought to do more to meet the standards of taste and decency that is so important to radio. Makes a point firmly on the Arches she says symbol B with any questions with the saw doll you this week Jonathan it's just not done she's put up a sign listing all the words that from tomorrow nobody will be coming into water in this pup without written permission from the brewery on the controller of radio. Today that's fine and you're about to hear all of them
00:01:17so here's the sign with all the swear words that you'd expect the F would the c word the s word the b word there are a couple of caveat some mocha is permitted but not Coke and Irish patrons or that's a fact whenever they want for some reason
00:01:37Gladys doesn't want to cause a fence so instead of choking Fu CK up on the board she's put f * * * sites the drinkers here in The Snug uck is no more expensive than writing F star star star
00:02:02oh quite a few let's get the mic over that
00:02:09yes since she has the same meaning the intention of the of the symbols is to represent the word that for has the same meaning in the Deadpool can be considered to be as expensive as in your head yes whatever is on the board that would be me and putting those Stars
00:02:35yes well I know we're in a pub but if you don't have the other letters if you have the little stars after the F then let's say you're from a foreign country or you're a child if I bring my child into the pub you know just to have a burger or something then he's not going to know what the word is and I don't want him to know what the word is Eazy-E known this I guess
00:03:02yes I grew up where those kind of words were pretty much common parlance but it does seem a bit gauche for those four letters to be in that order up somewhere where everybody can see with young children around it's probably not the best idea for them to be seeing that everywhere
00:03:28I just think if it's called the letters in it has more impact much more impact on his fall more impact if it's written out okay. Open it sold of the rude words it's Rebecca roach from Royal Holloway Rebecca on swearing
00:03:51I'll have a guy does a few qualities that's why I was having, so it's offencive language for salt but it's not just that cuz it's plenty of defensive language that doesn't count as swearing it is a blanket should we tend to use to express emotion so if you're angry if you'll surprised if your degree happy and so on we might you swearing at the office to just vent some emotion it also focuses a rhyme to booze so around the walls swear words will tend to Cluster around certain topics like laboratorial issues sex religion and so on I think it also has a particular feature which is as well as being to be breaking its to be breaking for the sake of to be breaking that the whole point of them is that the only like to use them but they exist just for that rule to be broken workers intensifiers what about was the de just terms of abuse racial epithets Prince the end
00:04:51do they exist in a separate philosophical category is a philosopher says they wet slightly differently to swear words if you say to somebody fuck you you're just insulting that person you're dressing you're not insulting anybody else if you use for example of racial slur to attack somebody you'll notice any attacking that person you're also insulting everybody who falls into that category and your old size a steaming if you if you use in conversation you're making you listen is complicit in that to yourself at the signaling to them that you think that this was planned which is okay with that they are in quite a different category is to explain the pedigree of all problem but the subject no caps
00:05:45bouquet not as far as I'm aware I'm a while I talk to him I'm going to put a part of my body into this ice cold bucket of water after a bit of discussion with Mike we decided it should be at the ice you can hear there's no lemon in there and I'll see how long I can keep it in there as I bring in all of the camera who is lead writer on the X an Ulta at the pageant Cullen so I'm place to put this in before I put it in I will ask you what is the X policy on swearing
00:06:32as far as I can judge
00:06:37there are two categories of offencive words yes one is the type of wood that crops up in perfectly prosaic contacts things like Creek Obits oh bugger and other words that only have an offense of connotation words like fuck or shit will piss
00:07:02it was fascinating but you was speed was speaking into social Edgeley way that I didn't want to kind of risk going to a n d i forgive me the time storm guide prescribes the woods of the second cat first of all I'm not necessary in the course of colonists to journalists normal Pros but when quoted we asterisk asterisk. Was it looks particularly sometimes in comprehensible Woods in the second catch big words that have no connotation except to potentially cause offence but different rules apply when a word is being quoted what is being drawn in from another text into the one that's being presented in the paper on which I'd like to say I've observed myself so far the difference between using a swear word mentioning what is this an important distinction Rebecca
00:08:02so generally using a swear word is more offencive the mentioning one so when you mention a swear word you're using the swear word to refer to the world so you're quoting somebody is usually an inverted commas on the other hand when you're using a swear word you'll just fucking dropping it into conversation like I just a map and it's often the case that in newspapers and so on you will find a lot of mansions of swear words but few uses so I think this is the Guardians editorial policy where they have a policy of spelling out the swear words in full but the editor thinks that that's rally any cases where I swear I was should I pay outside in Festus, this is have the same policy on this question do that out of it asterisk K and fuck and the difference is this of course we know what's the asterisk word means it is a synonym for population for having sex
00:09:02sex but there aren't polite and taboo words for the same function and one issue that linguist pointed to is that words have a denotation what they literally mean and a connotation and the whole purpose of these taboo words is to strike a particular connotation something that is disturbing and presented to the Rita whether they want it or not these where the choir that power it's not really about the woods at all it's about to the signals that we sent to each other so if we are in a context where I love you dislike the Woodstock and you're aware that I know this you know that I know that you dislike this but I continue to use it anyway maybe even off to you boss me to stop then that's going to offend you and it doesn't really matter that it's a swear word I mean if your match in a case where you meet somebody who has a fear of crisps like I like that they find references to Chris
00:10:02I want to see plants that don't want your friend knows that you you know about that phobia if you carry on talkin about Christmas in that presents are eventually going to offend them because you're just sending a signal that to you you don't respect from you don't have any concern for that feelings and I think that's the root of what makes wearing offencive that in some contacts I'm going to be sweating is no defense again old contacts put in contacts. It is taking the offencive by swearing we indicator disrespect for the people we talkin to how did these Woods acquire the power that they have to say it to historical process there on different kind of screws and we draw them from different functions as he says there's the scaffold logical function a generational to probably two generations past to be Woods withdrawing from religion dime and Jesus Christ and my God
00:11:02what temp do Expressions as secularization is preceded then the taboo Woods withdrew from religion has become much less powerful We There by and for size things like Bo Diddley effluvia which are always someone disgusting people in this a hierarchy of if Livia and English to look to this according to how disgusting we find them in public shit is worse than piss which is worse than thought which is worse than bloody which is worst inspect which is not to tell me where the tool and it's an interesting linguistic hypothesis that the taboos relates to how disease-ridden or dangerous so disgusting we find the movie of themselves Hokies if the woods that was quite mysterious though I mean trick is more to do than bollocks
00:12:03so to speak but in fact that it chords with that the motor I just said hi because prick or asshole on more offencive than bullets and I'm hypothesizing that that's because things come out of them whereas bollocks just hang
00:12:25OK Google somebody here who has studies what happens when we swear to be making notes actually about what's going on in this room is a social psychologist from Swansea University
00:12:48yes words can lose their meaning because the more you use them the more the kind of emotional content it's attached to them fade away even there are some benefits of of swearing in such a situation with Dustin to go away if you use those words to Austin what kind of research suggests that swearing is connected with sincerity by you fall but we all know when we sweat we are more likely to be sincere vanity and dishonesty to go hand-in-hand because they both deviate from the norm and indulging in any of that means you are your game social norms moral Norms you are someone who doesn't control himself or herself very much but the recent paper argues that on the country people who declare using profanity very often in their lives they tend to present themselves
00:13:48Les fraudulently on Facebook page they tend to laila's why do we sweat when we accidentally Hammer Alejandro there why wouldn't you it's easy it's the easiest way to express a very intense emotion of anger or disappointment towards yourself maybe the pain that we suffer when I put my hand into a bucket of ice water and I might try and do this and swear the same time how you evaluate the pain you are in because you are not I'm just wearing someone else was talking at the same time so it has strange situation for you say don't go on the iPad when you are allowed to swear of being put in a very uncomfortable
00:14:48situation your heart rate goes up and you're in one week all the fight-or-flight stage when when you're very very stressed you tend to pay less attention to what's going on around you except for the thing that really stressed you so that's probably all the tension was towards that bucket of of ice water all the kids are the most defensive words in the independence language in very amused when I used it and it feels to me that's wearing satisfies the most when it's done and you will first language that's very stablished of finding by now people who are bilingual multilinguals they do tend to prefer the first language as a swear word because they say that are the mostly emotionally attached to that particular language and they also if you measure their physiological reactions to hearing their first language in taboo word in the first language there electrodermal activity director skin contact them. Which is a sign that
00:15:48you felt that emotion shoot language matter when we consider whether swearing is permitted English is the language of this conversation and Pine Lodge language of Radio 4
00:16:06I would say it depends on who
00:16:09open car lot of people in a particular example
00:16:14put on who you swear to and and how much they know you are when you know someone you're pretty much good at predicting how they will act and and how they would talk but when you don't know them you use the kind of expectations and steroids you have about them to understand why they are swearing why they're using a particular language so if someone didn't know you and you use to polish a very offencive turn they might make a very very different conclusion about you that if they didn't know you tonight we may be a little old now if we've had a drink you've had a lot of foul language for the last few minutes it won't circumstances do you swear
00:16:58yes you look like you're about to say something really naughty the way you're looking over your glasses at me
00:17:09and quite often people have a low knowledge of anatomical words and they are more at ease with the nurse or doctor they're starting from Top if they're allowed to use the words shit piss my bullets hurt Etc you giggle but if you said to some people the proper anatomical word they wouldn't actually know what you mean and I think it's very important when you told him to a member of the public that you get the best information out system in that consultation because you can save lives at Key tool for you solutely yes my friends especially a female group of friends does every chance to the language will get pretty fruity
00:18:03now I'm Irish it would drinking is very confusing cuz actually I was bored up to think it was a swear word into my father would say was like fake and sugar and we all know what he really meant take me to see why would change the fucking or sell used to things like that it was with mates
00:18:20yes was that I used to work for a media organization not the BBC weather culture was very much to use swear words see I ain't been in meetings and the day-to-day life really and for many people that became almost like a symbol of belonging to the first time you walk into a meeting and you had someone dropping the F-bomb few you are innocent shot but I didn't take very long before you become to do yourself almost as a sign that you were not apart of that organization I'm going to send her to embrace the culture of the organization a bonding thing yes offensiveness of swearing but sometimes it's used in. And doesn't seem offencive I'm thinking of a famous poet to lifting how long can I have his collected works miraculously in front of me and he famously said they fuck you up your mom and dad's they may not mean to
00:19:20Upstate do they fill you with the folks they had and add some extra just for you it is a wonderfully evocative use oh fuck was that is in its context extremely striking an extremely effective as a language I go to the come out of the Giant when he made about the context in which you're using obscenities when you're using language context is a register is how linguist refer to how you cost you language whether it's formal or informal or engineering to a loved one or professional or whatever in some context obscenities into B words work extremely well outside those context they are either devoid of meeting or simply offencive and the task is to choose where they apply and where they died
00:20:20Mortuary professions anyone who's worked in the building site I will know what it's like to be told to take those fuckers over there and bring this book is over here beyond all others I've worked in comedy for a long time that's at but my next appoint evening consultation may not have the story about a woman who went to a doctor and she said to head up to talk to kiss me medical ethics would prevent me from kissing you and she said I'm going to bed thank you it's just one kiss and he said listen I'm not going to kiss you so bad I can't it just makes it very serious point about bad language in a very serious in a Public Health Service what does it do for you
00:21:19I mean you tell him since this is a serious I've been going radio. Minutes before someone starts talking about that cancer I'm going there yes yes
00:21:43do you think that you because you are a comedian have more license to sweat the finger man I'm right here. Ends wearing so I turned in and it ended up being a five-part series
00:22:03have you ever Swoon and regretted it Jane know that I do and I understand your point Google which is supposed to be possible thinking and creativity and he said to Google it actually have at uncle time to penis whenever they come up with a really important new technology they have to Don't Shoot Me by serious and honest about it and they count down how long it takes for someone to draw a penis on it and fix up when they invented sweetie Google mapping you feel better about Being Earnest
00:22:43who else on the paddle feels better when they swear I honestly apart from this evening I never do in pain expression paid I will say fuck in those context but not in company
00:23:06Gabriella from the way of bonding and them I sometimes make the irrational decision of swearing in front of my students which I understand this into a pre act like you to eat and they kind of like me even more but I wonder if they have the same perception of me using an s word on at 4 then they had of a man and I wonder if you know the boundaries of actually acting or speaking like like them that she'll taboos
00:23:56back to Gladys is bored and it's prescribed language will expire we know we have to abide by the rules how should those rules be rendered will somebody hand the name of philosophical rigor turn these asterisks into vowels and consonants or should gladys's typographical fig leaves these little asterisks remain Rebecca
00:24:26it is a mystery because as some members of the audience of commented when you write f u c k compared to F star star star it is the same words there's no other interpretation behave the same you can substitute one for the other whatever you like so anyway it seems that one should be more fence the pinata but on the other hand the offense of swearing is not so much about the woods but about the signals we send to each other and I think that by censoring letters in a swear word with sending a signal to our audience that we care about their feelings were considerate of sensibilities I'm so on deep laughing because you're making somebody think or what but we write to each other on myself deep level at is just enough to send a signal that we respect other people's feelings
00:25:26under control it's an automatic response and we cannot but find the connotation of the word spelled out something that we involuntarily find opposing now
00:25:52if you want those little asterisks to go up there now
00:26:01looks to me like the asterisks have it
00:26:06philosophers plays
00:26:09Gladys is cold time on the consumption of alcohol and nuts on swearing to which will be too boo once the pub doors closed so I'm going to try the ice water experiment again
00:26:26and this time we will pass from mentioning swearing to actually swearing so if you're offended by bad language then do switch off now cuz I just sending lessons the pain
00:26:40here we go
00:26:52how to become a Jane bussmann it's the end of the series pitch goodnight the never makes you McGregor through this
00:27:22you be listening to the Philosopher's arms presented by Matthew Sweet and produced by me David Edmonds check out more episodes of the flux was arms from the way to full website

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