Sunday, February 8, 2015

Philosophers on Communication

"All life comes back to the question of our speech-the medium through which we communicate"

--- William James

"Error is never so difficult to be destroyed as when it has its root in Language"

--- Jeremy Bentham

"We have to make use of language, which is made up necessarily
of preconceived ideas. Such ideas unconsciously held are the most
dangerous of all"

--- Henri Poincaire

"By the grammatical structure of a group of languages everything
runs smoothly for one kind of philosophical system, whereas
the way is as it were barred for certain other possibilities"

Friedrich Nietzsche
"An Englishman, a Frenchman, a German, and an Italian
cannot by any means bring themselves to think quite alike, at least
on subjects that involve any depth of sentiment, they have not the
verbal means"

---Prof. J.S.  Mackenzie

"In Primitive Thought the name and object named are associated
in such wise that the one is regarded as a part of the other. The
imperfect separation of words from things characterizes Greek
speculation in general" [in naming we seem to establish some sort of affinity or ownership with the objects and concepts named]

---Herbert Spencer

"The tendency has always been strong to believe that whatever
receives a name must be an entity or being, having an independent
existence of its own and if no real entity answering to the name
could be found, men did not for that reason suppose that none
existed, but imagined that it was something peculiarly abstruse and
mysterious, too high lo be an object of sense" [note we name objects or concepts.  The latter case is what Mill speaks about.  Names that refer to concepts tend to take on a aura of mystery unless they are defined by the user and sender]

--- J.S. Mill

"Nothing is more usual than for philosophers to encroach, on
the province of grammarians, and to engage in disputes of words,
while they imagine they are handling controversies of the deepest
importance and concern"

---David Hume

"Men content themselves with the same words as other people
use, as if the very sound necessarily carried the same meaning"

--- John Locke

"A verbal discussion may be important or unimportant, but it
is at least desirable to know that it is verbal"

---Sir G.  Cornewall Lewis

"Scientific controversies constantly resolve themselves into differences about the meaning of words" [why?  Because scientists tend not to define their key strategic words]


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