Over at BBC Magazine, writer Will Self, asks “Does what we’re called have any bearing on who we are?”
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Does what we’re called have any bearing on who we are? Writer Will Self echoes Juliet’s famous question, and attempts an examination of self (and Self).
When Juliet desires her lover Romeo to abandon his patrimony so as to take possession of her, she utters these immortal lines: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” That they should have become quite so celebrated is surely because they express a fundamental truth – or indeed truths. Shakespeare was writing 350 years before the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein developed his theory of language − yet he strongly anticipates its basic contention, which is that the meaning of a word is purely a function of how it’s used.