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“The Real Thing”

Is That a Thing? Random Thoughts on “Things.”

Among other labors, intellectual historians attend to usage, showing how phrases, concepts, or words change meaning over time. One of the joys of doing intellectual history comes from trying to express the life-worlds of people in the past. The further back we go, it seems impossible to represent these worlds in a way that would be intelligible to those alive at a given time, but we soldier on anyway in the hopes that we might at least capture some faint echo.Among the phrases I’ve been thinking about some lately is a commonplace I see or hear about in conversations, namely Read more