Thursday, March 11, 2010

Can you truthfully and consistently send an e-mail to "the department" saying "The department would appreciate it if you attend this lecture"?

I see where you're going.

It depends on how the department is constituted. I take it that the department here is in the first case the collection of individuals who make up the department whereas in the second case it is the general will of the department.

Imagine I sent an email to my body saying "The body would appreciate it if you did not eat Big Macs and sleep with anything that throws itself at you."

This is true of the body taken as a whole and is pointed advice directed at my stomach and regions southward. Nonetheless, it is a good idea for my stomach inter alia to pay attention, because they wouldn't on their own.

The other possibility is that the department is of one mind in which case it would be truthful and consistent but vacuous.

I hope this helps.

Ask me anything

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