The problem of language

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by SauchBoss, May 20, 2010.

  1. I have always been influenced by Wittgenstein's earlier works in philosophy, but never payed much attention to his later works. Earlier Wittgenstein would claim that speaking of such things like "souls" and "God" were completely meaningless because language describes an objective, empirical reality where such things do not exist. Later Wittgenstein turned everything around and claimed that reality is a product of the way in which we use language. This means that people can now speak meaningfully about "souls" and "God." Watch this video, it focuses mainly on later Wittgenstein's work but it compares both.

    [ame=]YouTube - John Searle on Ludwig Wittgenstein: Section 3[/ame]

    Which model do you guys favor more?

    I am a fan of earlier Wittgenstein, but his later works are crazy interesting. The idea of language games is an interesting reason why there is so much tension between science and religion
  2. i will watch the video when i get home but i would agree with his earlier teachings. words are something used by man. we created language to express our feelings. Think of how language went from simple stuff like "AH" to the poetry we see during the Hellenistic Period.

    How does one explain the unexplainable without language?

    O don't! :smoke:
  3. I agree that language may be invented, but it's been argued that it's both mathematically constructed according to logical principles, (like non-contradiction and identity), and that it's derived from experiences of the world it describes.

    The philosophical issue w/ taking the statements about non physical objects are vacuous ones, is that it assumes we have a construct of reality, (the thing which language describes), which doesn't admit anything non-material, when it seems as though language itself is non material.

    I think that when we want to include metaphysical entities into our ontology, it's necessary to correlate them with physical entities through certain methods. All of them would probably be founded in quantification and the connection would be an analogous one.

    If language is constructed to represent and implement our understanding of physical laws, but we wanna do philosophy, then we've gotta figure out a set of laws which can govern not just physics but metaphysics as well.

    Of course, the further you go down that line, the more general you have to be, and by default the laws become vague and ambiguous.

    Who knows?

    Fun stuff.

    If you like PHL of language, you may look at guys like JL Austin, or Saul Kripke, hell, throw a little Chomsky in if you can get him to shut up about politics and talk linguistics for a minute.
  4. So do you think very simple music came first? maybe the form of like grunts and shit like that, maybe people danced around the fire they grunted, idk fuck it.

    But math definitely came before language. These still are people who are conscious just like us, even if they are not highly intelligent. They don't know about things like physics or why music sounds the way it does.

    Its just amazing when you think about, and i already know i said but its so fucking interesting :smoke:

    "Uh" and "Ah" to words something like the Declaration of Independence lol

    When do you think the first time someone step into sunlight and was like "Ahhhhhh"

    shits fucking nutz to think about
  5. [ame=]YouTube - Waking Life - Language[/ame]

  6. This is exactly where I am questioning myself. Does language describe our reality, or is our reality shaped by the language we employ??? I wanna say both, but thats a complete contradiction lol. If it turns out to be the latter, then there is no problem. But wheres the fun in that? haha

  7. interesting you think that brotha.....why so?
  8. #8 rubbs, May 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 21, 2010
    I am more inclined to believe that language is the tool that we use to describe our reality, or what we perceive to be "real", that is, what we experience through our senses.

    I dont believe that our reality is shaped by our language, i think our reality is "shaped" by our sense experience, then through a physiological/biological process (don't know what category to include it) we are able to identify/articulate those senses with the human language, which has evolved for a very very long time.
  9. the same way mountains raise, rivers erode mountains, continents drift apart.... you get my point...
    incomprehensibly vast amount of time.

    sorry for double post...
  10. eventually you should be able to visualize your exact thought
  11. finally had time to sit and toke and actually think about this

    All knowledge begins with sense experience. The senses provide the data (particular perceptions) from which the intellect forms the universal concept by a process of abstracting from the particular notes contained in the sensory information.

    The intellect knows things "by means" of the concepts that it has engendered. To those concepts in the mind we attach words, which are arbitrary inventions of sounds and symbols (spoken and written words, and pictographs). For example, in English we call or name a certain kind of reflective object a "mirror". The concept of "mirror", which exists in the mind of the knowing subject, has a universal designation and refers to all things classified as mirrors regardless of their individual differences such as shape, size, thickness, etc.

    We have knowledge of any "particular" mirror existing in the external world by perceiving it with any of the senses. So, by means of the universal concept we understand "what" a mirror is, and by means of sense perception we perceive the particular mirror.

    Now, the crux of the matter for your first question is that with language use we attach a meaning to the word "mirror"; the concept is that meaning. Hence, we can accurately describe the world using language. One way to illustrate this is to consider the fact that despite the existence of numerous languages, people can still understand each other. For instance, in Spanish a mirror is called "espejo". With the proper effort an English speaker and a Spanish speaker can know that they are intending the same thing when speaking, and so there is a meeting of the minds, and communication takes place.

    Understanding reality or the external world is not limited or confined to the language that one knows. Oftentimes, people will conceive ideas for which there seems to be no appropriate words in the language to use and associate with those ideas. Hence, language is always changing, and poets often manipulate a language to its very limit in order to express some new insight or intentionalized emotion.

    Is our reality shaped by the language we employ? In certain ways our "judgments" about things are shaped by language. This is obvious in cases involving the misuse of language. Language is often used to manipulate a population's judgments. German Nazi Party member Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister, was a master at misusing language to manipulate others. Consider also the novel "1984" and Orwellian double-speak -- "War is Peace", etc. Furthermore, consider our own politicians and their speeches....There is nothing new under the sun.
  12. #12 peachesoncracrk, May 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2010
    its obvious reality is shaped by the language we employ since the language allows us to describe that reality

    take dogs, they are limited to only a certain amount of communication only being able to bark and indicate only the important things like someones at the door.

    their brains are mainly instinctive and hardly think intellectually if at all. their realities and experiences and everything about them is limited to communication, slowly everything evolves but we are able to evolve our minds way faster than anything else as we come to understand so much more everyday.

    with the ability to communicate so well we can share our thoughts and influence others and it allows us to compare ourselves to others and ties are formed because we all share certain interests.

    cultures are born and ways of living and eventually whole societies which are like giant organized ant hills which is what we live in, here in reality right?

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