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Re: the clue is in his view on language
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Re: the clue is in his view on language

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Posted by Charlie ( on September 03, 2003 at 11:11:52:

In Reply to: the clue is in his view on language posted by Jan ( on September 03, 2003 at 01:10:37:

> Humpty Dumpty's view of language, that 'when I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.' But if the fact of the differences is really taken into consideration, what is implied is that no one can be sure that 'their' meaning corresponds precisely with anyone else's, so, whatever we think we may be saying, we cannot be sure how it will be taken by someone else - Humpty Dumpty was lost in a narcissistic illusion.

I see language as only a useful means to communicate something. It does not always correspond perfectly to what we are trying to express. In fact, I don't believe that others always can as fully understand what we mean as we grasp it. There are just some thoughts that are too complex to verbalize to the point of another's complete understanding. For example, we can read Freud's theory on sexuality until we are blue in the face, but our understanding of what he meant will never be as full as his own understanding. Sure, we can express simple thoughts to one another, like "there is a cat sitting on the chair" with the full confidence the other will understand, but when it comes to more complex statements, it seems reasonable that the other person may not grasp the meaning.

Also, there are external, face-value meanings which relate to the articles, objects, and facts used to form sentences. But then there are internal, subtextual meanings which relate to intentions, feelings, and imagination. While the former is easily grasped, the latter is not always clear, thus, making the meaning behind even the simplest of sentences ambigious.


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