Disclaimer: This post is
fool full of pantagruelism.
The admirable maitre Alcofribas Nasier was a specialist in Fool typology. Following a medieval tradition, he distinguished ‘Fools of the primary intention’, that is, fools thinking of something else than fools and ‘Fools of the secondary intention’, that is fools thinking of fools. The fools of the secondary intention in our day and possibly also in Alcofribas’s day, are called ‘scientists’ or ‘scholars’. Of a special kind, of course – those who prefer to call oneselves ‘academicians’, ‘intelligencia’ or even ‘experts in articifial foolishness’.
How can linguistics contribute to checking the kinds of fools? Linguistics is about texts and about activity of generating texts that convey some meaning*.
There are of course many foolish texts around including the text of this post. But I think that foolish texts written by Primary Fools and Secondary Fools differ. Most texts written by Primary Fools pretend to be clever and are seldom written as lists of foolish things. Actually, the main claim of the Secondary Fools when they turn to whatever subject is that some data domain (say, opinions of your political opponents or theories of your predecessors) may consists of overtly different objects but a closer examination reveals that all these objects are either invented by fools or spoiled by a foolish (or very foolish) perspective.
*There is however a theory that language faculty is about generating meaninglesss text that people because of their foolishness and perversity treat as meaningful and do it in the same way.