The shape of language

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

  1. water the sea Registered Senior Member

    Big Blue Head,

    We do assume that something has meaning: but this doesn't mean that we can also correctly assume the actual meaning in a given case.

    It is like when we assume that the person on the other side, reading this, has two legs and 10 fingers. And when later, in some casual conversation about soccer or typing skills, it turns out that they have an amputated leg, and two fingers missing -- we are surprised or at least in the "Oh, I didn't know" situation. If we say "Oh, I didn't know", it must be that some assumption had to be there, saying how things normally (" ") are.

    We generally assume that what people say in communication has *some* meaning. We may not know what this meaning is, but we assume that some meaning, whatever it is, must be there. And we act on this assumption -- this it what makes it possible to communicate.

    I haven't read Mein Kampf myself, but I think I know what you are talking about. It is convergent thinking, that in the beginning looks like divergent thinking. A Socratic dialogue, if you wish.

    A "territory" is prepared, described, systemized. Basically, this is obeying the holistic principle: First, an amount of data is stored; this data consists of elements of the system and the relations between these elements. At first, while still "uploading", this data doesn't make much sense, it doesn't have much meaning. But when enough is uploaded, the system becomes viable, and it begins to make sense, we can identify a meaning.

    Of course, what A thinks that x means may not be the same as what B thinks that x means.

    But what can be done, is to ask A a question about x, and if the answer is comparable or complies with B's expectations, then we can say that A and B have a *comparable* idea of the meaning of x.
    This is as good as it gets.

    But, of course, the system of x needs first to be "uploaded" both to A and B.
    This is where it gets troubling, as we cannot simply expect that everyone will be willing to "upload" the system of x.

    I want to understand as good as possible what you mean (sic!) regarding these problems of meaning, so give me some feedback please.
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