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putative Options
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 3:58:22 AM

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Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, by LessWrong aka Eliezer Yudkowsky

Quote:
Except that some part of Harry was utterly convinced that magic was real, and had been since the instant he saw the putative letter from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

What do you think, is the word used correctly in this context?

I mean if he saw the letter than the letter exists and thus is not putative. If its being from the Hogwarts School is doubtful than shouldn't it be put differently? And finally if he is utterly convinced that magic is real how come does he have any doubts?


აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
thar
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:27:26 AM

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" part of him was utterly convinced"

Therefore part of him wasn't.

As to putative - I am sure the word was chosen carefully. This is Hogwarts! The standards of what is real and what isn't are more flexible.
It looks like there is some sort of back story about this letter, which I don't know. It sounds odd in isolation, but without knowing the back story it is hard to comment.
mactoria
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 5:10:37 AM
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Agree with Thar on "part of him."

As for "putative letter from the Hogwarts School," my take of the sentence structure is that 'putative' applies to the 'letter' and not to 'the Hogwarts School.' If that's accurate, then 'putative' makes some sense: he's saying that he saw a letter that was said to be from or purported to be from the Hogwarts School, but it was possible that the letter was not authentic. Therefore, the letter was putatively from the Hogwarts School, meaning there was a chance in Harry's mind (or the author's) that the letter was a fake.

Unless of course there's some backstory about the Hogwarts School, as Thar suggested, that makes 'putative letter from Hogwarts School' mean something else. Having never read any Harry Potter book (gasp), I am unsure if about the Hogwarts School matter.
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 5:43:52 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/13/2015
Posts: 1,356
Neurons: 500,500
Location: Dzerzhinskiy, Moskovskaya, Russia
thar wrote:
As to putative - I am sure the word was chosen carefully. This is Hogwarts! The standards of what is real and what isn't are more flexible.

This is a fake Hogwarts because this is not Rowling. You will not find Harry Potter books on Google.

thar wrote:
It looks like there is some sort of back story about this letter, which I don't know. It sounds odd in isolation, but without knowing the back story it is hard to comment.

I gave a link in the original message. It's page 5, the 4 previous being available as well. Not too much to peruse.


აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 5:55:34 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/13/2015
Posts: 1,356
Neurons: 500,500
Location: Dzerzhinskiy, Moskovskaya, Russia
mactoria wrote:
he's saying that he saw a letter that was said to be from or purported to be from the Hogwarts School, but it was possible that the letter was not authentic. Therefore, the letter was putatively from the Hogwarts School, meaning there was a chance in Harry's mind (or the author's) that the letter was a fake.

If it was like that! There's nobody saying it is from the Hogwarts School. There's just a letter he received and his father saying it's a fake. And if beeing a fake is not Harry's whim the word should have at the very least been put in scare quotes.


აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
thar
Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:10:19 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 16,969
Neurons: 68,419
Ah, yes, I didn't see the source. I may have been giving the author more credit than is due.
Anybody who writes as 'Less Wrong' is not exactly aiming for literary greatness.
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