The shape of language

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by wesmorris, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. thefountainhed Fully Realized Valued Senior Member

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    Thx. I got my bachelors from Delaware.
     
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  3. river-wind Valued Senior Member

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  5. Godless Objectivist Mind Registered Senior Member

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    Yes!!! I heard about this today on the radio, they want to bring him to America so he can have his own talk show'!LOL

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    Godless.
     
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  7. river-wind Valued Senior Member

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  8. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    Did you notice it is by lethe? What's with that?

    I get quite annoyed at myself and others when I read something that I think is my idea that someone else is touting as thiers.

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    I suppose both are correct. Hrmph. I read up until he was talking about the dog's liguistic potential and pretty much agree with him excepting a few details that would likely be hammered out on semantical examination.

    So that's all pretty interesting and seems to cover pretty much the same ground covered in this thread. Well, some of it was covered (mostly by Gendy and I) in Meph's thread about language, I don't remember the title of it.
     
  9. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

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    In Lethe's essay from the link by river-wind, I must call this passage into question:

    Have you ever known that something was wrong, but you couldn't say why?
    If I remember correctly, Wittgenstein had a couple of diagrams whose purpose was to show a mechanical system whose operation looked intuitive, even though the diagrams did not actually describe what would be the case for that system.

    As a result, the diagrams "make sense" to many observers, even though they do something different from the mechanical system that they are intended to represent.

    Now, when you see the diagram and you know that it's wrong, you may have an impression of why, but still fail to find words to describe the point at which the diagram fails to describe the system.

    Your description for this belief - "it seems wrong somehow" - fails to describe your (possibly quite accurate) belief that the diagram is mis-describing the mechanical device it purports to describe. Language generally fails us in these initial stages when we are "just looking it over", so it is not necessarily reasonable to assume that language is a required precursor of thought as Lethe describes in this essay.

    Cases of "intuition" often result from a hypothesis which we are not immediately able to verbalize. Obviously our intuitions are not always correct, but they need not be to demonstrate that we can have a thought that - at some stage - we will fail to verbalize because we are unable to.
     
  10. river-wind Valued Senior Member

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  11. river-wind Valued Senior Member

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    Having finally read the thing, I'd say that the bigest problem I see is with the assumptions RE: animals. There are many cases of animals seeming to have a sense of time, which would outright contradict one of his articles of evidence.
    Also, the idea that non-lingustic animals most certainly could be more than just "essentially unconscious". what about mute beings? and what about beings who grow up outside of a communal setting - where they never learn the common language? Are they still lingustic by species definition? or are they no longer linguistic - at least until they laern the communal language?

    The theory is intersting, but I have many questions...
     
  12. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    I would say that an animal creates their own language (which is sybiotic really, to their conceptual inter-relationships), to the best of their ability - even in the absense of language in the larger sense, which is why I have a problem with arguments that "those with no language cannot think". the advantage of a language external to self is that you gain the advantage that the language (being external) is shaped by the minds that utlize it and it becomes a means of shared knowledge. one's personal language only allows personal knowledge unless an external language is adopted as one's personal as in the case of most humans.

    otherwise there would be no external language eh?

    epiphany, baby.

    er, at least it seemed that way.

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  13. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    SO...

    Apparently, internal language is the act of labeling that which you conceptualize... unless you have a language taught to you, in which your concepts come somewhat pre-packaged, but you put your subjective spin on them and the opposite is somewhat applicable, that language is the source of concepts (which leads to internal language, etc. (just meaning you can build internal language based off of pre-packaged concepts offered by external language))

    I was thinking this last night:

    A word is a label for a concept.

    A concept is a classification of the details of experiences.

    An experience is a record of subjective sensory input over a subjectively defined period of time.

    Lifeforms quest to attain that which is subjectively good.

    Criticize me you beautiful bastards.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2004
  14. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    Nothing? Come on damnit! That shit is tight! Maybe it's dumb? How about those Mets? Hey, nice weather we're having? Say something damnit!!!

    LOL.

    Okay nevermind. I'll just go stand in the corner.

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    It's probably for the best.
     
  15. river-wind Valued Senior Member

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    I agree completely, though I have a few specific clarifications:
    "A word is a label for a concept."
    Often, more than one word is needed to label a concept. Your idea works perfectly if we redifine "word" to "linguistic representation of a concept", thus allowing multiple English words in one conceptual "word". However, this introduces a circular definition of "word", so it may be easier to change your line to "A language structure (such as a word, sentance, paragraph, etc) is a label for a concept."

    "Lifeforms quest to attain that which is subjectively good."
    I agree with this, though it is a bit vague. What is 'good', even 'subjective good', exactly? Why do they quest for it?
    I might word this more "Life tends toward attractor points of form which promote successful survival for breeding, in line with the theory of Evolution. Things which are dangerous to an individual's survival provoke negative reactions in that individual. This is because those possible ancestors who did not have a negative reaction would be less likely to avoid the thing in question, more likely to be harmed by those things, and therefore less likely to pass on their genes to the next generation. Less likely to actualy *be* the individual's ancestor."
     
  16. kriminal99 Registered Senior Member

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    Language is fairly useless in my opinion. Especially a waste of time to study.

    There is a thought experiment where a person sees all colors as their exact opposite in the spectrum as everyone else. But he never has anyway of knowing that other people aren't seeing the same thing. Someone points to a red cup and says blue so to him red is blue.

    The point is people learn from their experiences and the real definition held by people for most words goes far far beyond anything in any dictionary. And is slightly different for each person. This is one of the very few reasons why people ever disagree on anything imo.
     
  17. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    Good point. A word or group of related words maybe?

    Yeah I'm down with that, either way you've got a point. I wonder though if there is a tendency for these multi-word words to eventually be combined for efficiency in language. Yeah prolly something to it.

    Yeah that works. Some concepts are strewn across multiple words. I dunno I wonder if different people do it differently. What is one concept to me might be a multitude of segmented concepts to you.

    I'm defining this as the inherent function of being. It words slightly differently depending on the level of awareness or consciousness or whatever of the subject. To a bacteria, instinct rules and is as such good. To a horse, instinct mostly rules, but there is an element of whimsy... the horse seeking interaction with other horses, running around for whatever reason.. regardless, the horse has not other choice that to do what it deems "good" (which would be pretty simplistic and foreign to a human mind (if you could see inside its mind, it'd be hard to really relate to it for the most part). To a human, whatever action we choose to undertake in the moment is what we deem as good, regardless of what we trick ourselves into thinking good 'should be'. Good is what you do, though two people won't necessarily agree on what that is. Even if you feel bad, that is good to you or you would feel differently. Dig what I mean? We have little choice but to seek what is subjectively good, but we do have a choice to choose what we think of as good wisely.. such that it aligns with our actions as best as possible. I've discussed this whole issue at great length in a thread called Your function. The terminology is slightly different, but support for this idea is there.

    I say "the subjective good" because it's not just about breeding. Humans, being conscious of long periods of time, have complicated what it means to survive, as survival itself has become relatively easy for them compared to other animals, with the ruling of the planet and all.

    I think regardless, all life is always acting (even the attempt is the act) to their subjective good. It's more complicated in humans because, being conscious of time, they can excercise a choice of what is or isn't good. It gets complicated, but I believe this is a statement that is alway true. Denial or inability to understand themselves is the general reason that people's perception of good diverges from their actions toward that good. Regardless, their behavior is (even if subconciously generated) geared toward their subjective good. Maybe we can explore that a bit. Throw out a couple of examples that seem contradictory to this and we can break it down.
     
  18. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    AHA!


    I see this bitch is back up again........do I take upon myself to remind you all that I was, off all things, ignored in this thread?
     
  19. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    Make yourself useful or shut the fuck up.

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  20. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    Hey what is the word for something that defines itself? I've been saying tautological but I looked it up cuz I felt a disturbance in my force, and sure as shit it's wrong. What word is it? "Uh... 'lil help ovah heah?"
     
  21. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    Wesmorris:
    Conform to my theories or shut the fuck up.

    Learn you some grammar or eat my mierda.

    How dare you start you a thread when you can't even speak English, schoolboy. I fart in your general direction!
     
  22. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    Youngling, I believe you forgot the word 'language" before the word 'thread' up there dear.

    And I can't help it if my pretties are shiny too. I like them that way.

    *blanks off mumbling*

    ohh... shiny!

    *drools*

    And now, I quote me: "If I'm irrational, so are you."

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    Last edited: Feb 18, 2004
  23. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    Wes:
    One: Considering how you butcher the art, its a wonder you still recognize the poor thing as language.

    Two: You mispeleld "word" in your second sentence.

    Three: Yes, mispelled is mispelled only so that your dumbass can think we have something in common.

    Kidding, kidding.

    Anyway, I've been racking my brains for this word describing self-defining words and "analgesic" keeps popping up, despite how wrong it is. Its a fancy word that's escaping me....damn it hell.

    You're going to cost me some sleep tonight, Wes. A curse on your household.
     

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