FrostCloud Forums  

Go Back   FrostCloud Forums > Philosophy > General Philosophy

Greetings!

General Philosophy Thought-provoking, philosophical discussions.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-30-2010, 12:36 AM
Ragi's Avatar
Ragi Ragi is offline
Introverted Excavator
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 671
Language

Hey guys, it's been a while (I have a tendency to haunt this place in spurts, so forgive my fickleness). Hope all is well with everyone.

So I've been thinking lately a lot about language and how it works, and how we use it.

It seems to me that at least in one way, language is a kind of tool. We use it to divide up our world in order to make sense and to communicate that way in which we are making sense. One way we do this is by drawing imaginary lines around "objects" in order to talk about them. As in "objects" don't actually "exist" out there, but that it's very useful for us to pretend they do to talk about and do certain things.

For example, we might be sitting around in a living room bullshitting, and I look over and point out to you, "The cat is on the table."

I've drawn an imaginary line around that furry thing there with whiskers and around that brown woody thing you can put other things on and called them "cat" and "table" And if you speak english, you understand what I'm referring to.

The "cat" as such, and "table" don't exist until I name them as such. Don't get me wrong, I don't think they literally disappear when we're not talking or thinking about them, it's just that they aren't divided from the rest of the world until we do.

In other words, we use language to divide up the world which is always already in cohesion until we cut it up with words. And this causes all kinds of illusory problems like "The self" and "the mind-body problem" and probably most other philosophical problems. The self exists only when you draw that imaginary line around "you" that divides you from the world. But you were always already one with it, it's just useful to do that to talk about and do certain things in the world. It's useful to talk about mind stuff separate from physical stuff, but it's just conventional. They are all already part of existence and "the world"

If you've taken any of this seriously, then you'd notice that I'm cutting the world up with my words and thus speaking nonsense, but I don't know of any other way to convey this to you than to suggest that you use this to look past my words and see it for "yourself."

Maybe look at it this way, by taking this example:
"Look, there is a fruit."
You know what I mean presumably by fruit as a sweet, juicy thing that grows from plants that we might eat. So does the fruit exist outside of us talking about it? Well, sure.. but not really as such. What about when I call it "food?" It's now categorized, or cut up, or divided from the world in a different way of making sense. It's grouped with meat and cheese and all other "food." Also, where does the plant end and the fruit begin, outside of it being conventional? It's very useful, if you're a biolgist for example, to make this distinction, but its only conventional. It's your map to "the world" so that you can talk about it and do things with it in useful ways. Before you came along and talked about that "thing" being separate from that "thing" using language, all of it just is.

If a bat, which "sees" with sonar, could talk, it might divide "the world" up in ways that we could never, ever even concieve of.

The whole concept of objects, separate from one another or from existence itself, is all conventional (imaginary lines drawn around "things"). It makes things much easier on us to talk about you being separate from me and separate from a table. Because what we mean by "you" is very separate from "a table!" But that disctinction doesn't exist until we talk about it. Until we draw those imaginary, conventional lines around "you" and "table." This gets weird because we can't even begin to think (with language, anyway) in any other way than to divide it up. As soon as we begin thinking, we're dividing. So this will never make sense, wholly.

I wonder if this is why the Buddhists and other mystical traditions put such an emphasis on silence.
__________________
Some of my art

When you smile it is like a song and I can hear it now

Last edited by Ragi; 01-30-2010 at 12:44 AM.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-30-2010, 02:04 PM
Symptom777's Avatar
Symptom777 Symptom777 is offline
Symptom of the Universe
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 18,001
Blog Entries: 12
Language can only work because the world around us is real and we share common perceptions of that reality. We share common senses, so our perceptions tend to match. Different senses could lead to a language barrier - we can translate between languages because we still share the same reality/sense/filter construct. Reality alone may be insufficient to allow translation.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-30-2010, 06:16 PM
leouna's Avatar
leouna leouna is offline
Princess/Knight
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Colorado, Oregon
Posts: 5,437
Send a message via Yahoo to leouna
Quote:
Originally Posted by Symptom777 View Post
Language can only work because the world around us is real and we share common perceptions of that reality. We share common senses, so our perceptions tend to match. Different senses could lead to a language barrier - we can translate between languages because we still share the same reality/sense/filter construct. Reality alone may be insufficient to allow translation.
That is why Crown slaves get dumped, where they can get away from different Crown slaves.
__________________
friedrich-wilhelm Rita jane Hill richard alan sethre von Habsburg,
Princess/Knight of the Golden Fleece
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-30-2010, 08:00 PM
Ragi's Avatar
Ragi Ragi is offline
Introverted Excavator
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Symptom777 View Post
Language can only work because the world around us is real and we share common perceptions of that reality. We share common senses, so our perceptions tend to match. Different senses could lead to a language barrier - we can translate between languages because we still share the same reality/sense/filter construct. Reality alone may be insufficient to allow translation.
This certainly might be true and is very interesting, but it's a theory about language and is actually changing the subject. I'm trying to describe language, not explain it. Maybe we evolved hard wired to conceptualize the world in terms of language, maybe logos was a gift from God, maybe we invented it as a map like we invent other kinds of maps.

I'm only trying to understand language descriptively, not explain it through a theory. When we have a theory about anything, we don't get to go ask God if we were right, or look it up in the unvierse's instructional manual. Theories only hold weight if they work in useful ways, not because they are "true" or "accurate" or "right." Again, we don't have anything to judge if they are "right" or not.

You might ask: if it works, doesn't that mean it's true? Newton's mechanical model of the universe definitely worked and still does in very useful ways, then Einstein came along and said, "Nope, this is all wrong, it's acually like this and this..." Someone new may come along and replace both with a new theory. Either way, we never have any way of getting outside reality to check which one is "more right." The early models of the solar system actually predicted the movements of the planets much more accurately than the new heliocentric model. It wasn't until years later that we discovered it was the shape of the orbits that caused the discrepancy. Saying a theory is true because it works is the logical fallacy of affirming the consequence.

Sorry for the diatribe.. but I feel like it's a common enough issue that needs to be addressed often.

So any thoughts on my ideas of language?
__________________
Some of my art

When you smile it is like a song and I can hear it now
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-01-2010, 02:00 AM
PoseidonsNet's Avatar
PoseidonsNet PoseidonsNet is offline
Supermarine
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Africa
Posts: 2,283
logos = plato's forms = the word of God

Much of language does work in the way you describe it, the example of Theseus' ship springs to mind.

If one replaced a plank on Theseus' ship, one by one, and then took the old planks, and built another ship with them, then which is Theseus' ship?


Language cuts and pastes its idea-forms onto the world, but those idea-forms are themselves a result of real observations in the world.

Art mimics life, but life mimics art.

We construct the world through language (read foucault) which is itself constructed by the world.

When someone tells a lie, often that lie has a locutive effect : its not merely an abstraction, but it actually can make the world different from what it would have been if the truth had been told.

The spectrum of Identity;
from inanimate objects, to thinking beings, to creative minds is quite different;
because inanimate objects do not in themselves construct the world
using the tool of language. They cannot create these divisions in the world, that people do. (and to a lesser extent animals)

So the cat is separate from the table, because it identifies itself as not being a part of the table using its own mind.

The table is a part of the floor and has no primary effect. Only the mind is capable of building tables out of trees, primarily through the use of this abstractive, creative : logos.

All living organisms have an observable sense of identity that it will take measures to preserve.

Lyall Watson showed that even plants, when attacked, release toxins that make them less palatable.

The line between mind and world, is a primary essential logos, even more distinct and important than the most essential geometric proofs.

It is nearly always the mind which creates new things in the world we live in;
this is the essence of what mind is : it has creative effect.

So its reasonable to see why so many people see the universe itself as having been constructed by such a Mind. (logos)
__________________
The Principles of Flight (in full)
http://www.poseidons.net/flight/Principlesofflight.htm
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-01-2010, 02:28 AM
IronBark's Avatar
IronBark IronBark is offline
Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: never out of the water
Posts: 228
counter factuals

The way my language (anglo) utilises counter factuals as a way of describing experience fascinates me. In what manner or form do counter factuals describe or order our perception of reality? How do they "exist" in any sense? If I say, "If I had known you were coming, I would have made some biscuits." is my statement 'true' in any sense of the word. How do we get meaning from asserting how things could have been rather than sticking with how things in fact are? Can counter factuals make the world different from how it is in actuality?
__________________
If life's the answer wots the question? (Cpt. Goodvibes)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-01-2010, 02:45 AM
PoseidonsNet's Avatar
PoseidonsNet PoseidonsNet is offline
Supermarine
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Africa
Posts: 2,283
Next time I visit I'll sms u, and then I get space cookies E-:
if u had not considered otherwise, I would not get space cookies ]~!

our minds create the future C-:
__________________
The Principles of Flight (in full)
http://www.poseidons.net/flight/Principlesofflight.htm
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-01-2010, 03:25 AM
IronBark's Avatar
IronBark IronBark is offline
Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: never out of the water
Posts: 228
What about the past?
I guess counter factuals colour or effect or even affect, relationships and their dynamics. In you know that I had imaginary cookies ready for you in an imaginary past, you will be open and allow the chance of real cookies at a real point in the future.
__________________
If life's the answer wots the question? (Cpt. Goodvibes)
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-01-2010, 03:49 AM
PoseidonsNet's Avatar
PoseidonsNet PoseidonsNet is offline
Supermarine
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Africa
Posts: 2,283
so long as they are space cookies with plenty ganja in 'em,
zero gluten, zero sugar and zero lactose...

hell, you can even wait for me to arrive so i can be
involved in the baking ...

och, damn the cookies
i need a spliffffffff
__________________
The Principles of Flight (in full)
http://www.poseidons.net/flight/Principlesofflight.htm
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-01-2010, 04:47 AM
TruthInArt's Avatar
TruthInArt TruthInArt is offline
ACT Art Reform Tourist
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: ZION
Posts: 5,016
Blog Entries: 3
Cool Language Barriars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Symptom777 View Post
Reality alone may be insufficient to allow translation.
What is the first memory event that you can recall similar to all?
With me it is with me always in that I learned to walk and talk.
At first it was an effort and I did not know why nor how I cared.
Noise it was at first till I learned to know the thing pointed too.

Tree they said then they my parents said it was a guava tree.
Walk down the stairs past the fruit bats cherry guava's oh dear.
Two years old and bats in the tree screech screech what’s worse?
Not going to the toilet downstairs and making a mess of my jammies.

Language is useful for pointing things not seen about and said aloud.
Many things remain hidden till you get your head around the picture.
A name is a thing that stands in place of the object visually represented.
Whether it is a movement or an object whether it is in or out of its place.

Words are simply put the medium of exchange of ideas the method true.
What is reality and what is not reality is therefore very easy to determine.


p+q=eat
__________________
Love knowledge of the truth to trust for all eternity that is the BIBLE.
Power to be learning the ways of reason and not the ways of violence.
Wisdom to be acheiving the objective of the predicate of all sentences.
Justice to the poverty stricken nescience the poor children's innocence
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-02-2010, 11:44 AM
Mike Dubbeld Mike Dubbeld is offline
Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,649
You're doing good Ragi. Its nice to see someone actually producing brain juice......

The things 'out there' we arbitrarily give names to arose from the need to distinguish one thing from another for survival purposes. It has been noticed that people turn up missing every time the big toothed cat is seen down by the watering hole..... LOL.

You can view this from an even deeper level however. We give the word cat to phenomena that we agree to have certain characteristics we perceive from our senses from say dogs. But there is no such thing as 'dogs'. Dogs can be big or small. Have different color fur. Are male or female etc. 'Dogs' are simply a category in our mind. A classification of phenomena. No one has ever seen 'dogs'. They have seen a dog or many dogs but the category of dogs exists only as something in the mind. A generalization of phenomena to make sense out of it (and survive). But deeper still you can identify the fact that each word is distinguishable from another word like cat from dog. As such each phenomena (perceivable event by the senses and classified by the mind in that way) can be considered a unique form. A unique geometry. The words themselves have unique geometry that enable you to distinguish dog phenomena from cat phenomena for example but you could think of it as say dogs as squares (geometry/forms) and cats as circles say. Why would you do this? Simply because if you can reduce all sensual phenomena to being geometric phenomena in the mind, when you think thoughts they are also geometrical (forms) in the mind and then the entire universe can then be represented as nothing more than a set of forms through which consciousness moves/experiences. Reality in the universe then becomes simply a matter of consciousness comparing one form against another to make sense of the entire universe.

You can take this even further. All forms/geometry can be represented by a set of sinewaves having various frequencies and amplitudes. This means reality can then be reduced to one set of waves compared to another. But what if the mind itself as part of the universe (as memory) is similarly nothing more than thought(forms)/geometry similarly able to be reduced to a set of waves? That would mean all reality associated with the universe is nothing more than consciousness interacting with waves in the mind with waves in the universe from the senses.

When we say there is a dog, it is likely that who ever you say that to is going to agree if it has 4 legs, barks, has fur and wags its tail. What something is is dependent on agreement by some population. It is the agreement by that population to some number of decimal places as to the reality of the thing being such. And that is the basis of all of science. Agreement as to what something is to some number of decimal places by some population. Language/the name/classifcation of the phenomena (thing experienced). Because agreement must necessarily break down at some number of decimal places between any 2 minds on anything in the universe (your orange red becomes my red orange at some point) - what something is is to some extent based on faith in some population that believes it is that to some number of decimal places. So language is quite imprecise on that account and results in ALL of science being based on faith to some extent. All of science based on what some population agrees something is. Based on semantics. Based on the meaning of words to some group of people.

Thats why politicans are as general as possible. They tend to use vague phrases like "I stand behind the flag" which sounds great and everyone will tend to support because they all have their own interpretation of what that means but it sounds good so it gets politicians elected. But you can find the same ambiguity in religion. Religious figures use equally vague phrases to elicit faith in a particular religon/recruit people. It is over-generalizing to gain favor of the masses and get their support. And thats why a lot of scientists abhor rhetoric of this sort as they try to be as precise as possible and tend to like mathematics as a language. later.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-02-2010, 10:02 PM
Symptom777's Avatar
Symptom777 Symptom777 is offline
Symptom of the Universe
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 18,001
Blog Entries: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by IronBark View Post
The way my language (anglo) utilises counter factuals as a way of describing experience fascinates me. In what manner or form do counter factuals describe or order our perception of reality? How do they "exist" in any sense? If I say, "If I had known you were coming, I would have made some biscuits." is my statement 'true' in any sense of the word. How do we get meaning from asserting how things could have been rather than sticking with how things in fact are? Can counter factuals make the world different from how it is in actuality?
Counter factuals are statements of truth in other possible worlds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Possible_world
http://users.ox.ac.uk/~worc0337/modal.realism.html

Possibly(!) you can alter this reality by bringing in another reality in a quantum fluctuating kind of way. You just have to make a quantum level change at the macro level. Sounds a bit bulshitty - but that's in effect how quantum computing works, and possibly how the entire Reality works.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-02-2010, 10:04 PM
Symptom777's Avatar
Symptom777 Symptom777 is offline
Symptom of the Universe
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 18,001
Blog Entries: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by IronBark View Post
What about the past?
I guess counter factuals colour or effect or even affect, relationships and their dynamics. In you know that I had imaginary cookies ready for you in an imaginary past, you will be open and allow the chance of real cookies at a real point in the future.
The past is part of the Continuum with the future and we exist at the present. The past is really no different from the future. You can alter that, as well.
No-one else, of course, will notice. See, I just did it.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-03-2010, 08:10 PM
PoseidonsNet's Avatar
PoseidonsNet PoseidonsNet is offline
Supermarine
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Africa
Posts: 2,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Symptom776 View Post
The part is past of the Continual with the futuristic and we persist at the presentient. The part is not really diferrent from the futurism. You cannot alter that, as well.
Some-one else, of course, will notice. See, I almost did it.

It has been known that a certain symptomatic sympleton,
symptom 776
has been altering the past without the permission
of the time police

this has had a butterfly effect via the fifth dimension
and has exploded into effect

leaving him with a round nose,
a moustache,
and a pair of glasses,




?


?






__________________
The Principles of Flight (in full)
http://www.poseidons.net/flight/Principlesofflight.htm
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-04-2010, 03:12 AM
Ragi's Avatar
Ragi Ragi is offline
Introverted Excavator
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: West Virginia
Posts: 671
I think Symptom has an admirer.


Also, forgive me for being crass, but I'm pretty sure this forum has become the butthole of the internet. And for some reason I feel quite at home here.

No gay jokes, please.
__________________
Some of my art

When you smile it is like a song and I can hear it now
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Any Krashen fans in the forum? Nef Raven Human Society 1 07-11-2009 02:18 PM
Let's Elicit Something for an Apple 'Enjoy' and Take your Time, Make Alot of Copies. Neftel Leli Creative Writing and Artwork 1 10-14-2008 11:56 PM
origin of first life shailesh Biology and Genetics 111 11-07-2007 01:46 PM
universe have a creator Saudhoon Religion 31 10-04-2007 04:59 AM
George Orwell, Politics and the english language TruthInArt General Philosophy 2 08-03-2007 05:27 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:30 AM.



Powered by: vBulletin
Copyright © 2000-2008 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
Hosted and Maintained by The IceStorm Network