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Literarily thinking


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7 replies to this topic

#1 Writersblock

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 06:42 AM

So this is less a puzzle and more something to see how we all think.

So here is my question to you all:

When does a word take on meaning, and how can you prove it?

Hmmm...

Some definitions. The word may be written or spoken. The "giver" and "receiver" must speak the same language, except as a way to offer proof. *hint hint*

I'll be away for a few days, so I'll let this one stew.
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#2 bonanova

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 08:42 PM

If two speak the same language, have access to similar dictionaries and understand rules of grammar and syntax, then we say they can communicate in a literate manner.

The meaning of words is a mixture of the "dictionary meaning" and the personal experience of the speaker and listener. The latter component of meaning leads at times to misunderstanding until the context is communicated and understood. Culture and environment can alter generic meanings of words.

How can we prove a word has a meaning? One approach might be to agree on a common dictionary as the authority. A more pragmatic approach might be to say that if two people are comfortable with the notion that they agree when they discuss something, then the words they used to reach agreement themselves have an agreed meaning.

Is this what you had in mind?
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The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
- Bertrand Russell

#3 Martini

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 09:11 PM

Moving this to "Others" for now.
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#4 Writersblock

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 11:14 PM

Think of it this way:

A concept appears in the giver's mind. She then speaks or writes a word. That is then read or heard by someone who interprets the word into a concept.

At what point along this chain of events does the concept "become" communication? What matters most in this chain of events for communication to happen?
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#5 bonanova

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 02:35 AM

interprets the word into a concept.

That part matters most.
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The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
- Bertrand Russell

#6 Writersblock

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 05:05 PM

Prove it.
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#7 unreality

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 09:30 PM

Communication = sharing concepts

Therefore:
concepts = most important part
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#8 bonanova

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Posted 01 September 2007 - 03:46 PM

Prove it.

Well like many things proof is less significant than is our agreement with regard to premises.

Most of us can make a valid logical argument from a premise to a conclusion.
We might debate a conclusion, but not because of possibly flawed logic,
rather because we don't share common premises.

Visit the one boy one girl thread for a demonstration of that thought.

My premise:

I would hold that "meaning" in your original question is bound up
with the notion of sharing a thought with you by means of using
words that carry meaning held substantially in common.

That said, my statement would seem to follow: when the commonly
understood word is translated to a concept by you, then its meaning
has achieved significance because it has accomplished something.

And, as I stated above, that doesn't prove my statement, it only
reveals the premise behind it....
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The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.
- Bertrand Russell




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