Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
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17-10-2012, 11:46 AM
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
(17-10-2012 05:08 AM)Vera Wrote:  You know, I actually had to write a paper on linguistic universalism/relativism (Chomsky's ideas or the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis) for a semantics class (quite some time ago); found it rather interesting then and still do... I remember making references to the Newspeak of 1984, in which the expression of unorthodox thoughts is near impossible... yet it said nothing about the existence of such thoughts...

Plus, there's the linguistic distinction between langue and parole (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langue_and_parole) and we usually think about parole when talking about language shaping thought or vice versa...

What I wanted to say (and went about it in a rather roundabout way, as usual), is that while I agree that language does influence ideas, it does not create them; and would even go as far as to say that ideas/thought do more influencing than being influenced...

After all (one final going back to my linguistic educationWink), they say that language is all about making infinite use of a finite means, thus that every single language under the sun is capable of expressing every single idea (even if it does not exist in the culture of its speakers and is completely foreign to its mindset), it may do so in a very long and explanatory way but it'll still manage to express it...

Well, hope that made some sense (it did in my headSmile).

Language is the main tool in the creating (if one wants to use that word) ideas, however this tool is used to make sense of and explain the changing world around us.
Our material condition as humans changes and we understand this change through the use of language. Some Marxist flavor for ya.
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17-10-2012, 12:17 PM
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
Quote:Language is the main tool in the creating (if one wants to use that word) ideas, however this tool is used to make sense of and explain the changing world around us.

I still maintain that language is the main tool in the expressing of ideas. Would never go as far as to say it creates them (definitely not the more-or-less straight-forward, linear "parole). As somebody pointed out in this thread, there are some ideas that are mostly the product of language, but some exist regardless of language (which is why any given language can express any given idea, even if it's entirely foreign to it). I definitely side much more with Chomsky in thinking that the thought comes before the word.

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17-10-2012, 12:28 PM
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
(17-10-2012 12:17 PM)Vera Wrote:  
Quote:Language is the main tool in the creating (if one wants to use that word) ideas, however this tool is used to make sense of and explain the changing world around us.

I still maintain that language is the main tool in the expressing of ideas. Would never go as far as to say it creates them (definitely not the more-or-less straight-forward, linear "parole). As somebody pointed out in this thread, there are some ideas that are mostly the product of language, but some exist regardless of language (which is why any given language can express any given idea, even if it's entirely foreign to it). I definitely side much more with Chomsky in thinking that the thought comes before the word.

How can a "thought" come before a word ? A "thought" is a "somthing". That "something" is "defined", or perceived as defined, or it's a "nothing". Can you give me an example of a "thought" *without* a word ? A "thought" requires "memory", or "reference" to "something".

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17-10-2012, 12:38 PM (This post was last modified: 17-10-2012 12:45 PM by Vera.)
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
Quote:Can you give me an example of a "thought" *without* a word ? A "thought" requires "memory", or "reference" to "something".

I would, but I don't have the words Wink

All kidding aside, that's actually getting into how thought works (something we haven't quite figured out yet).

But if we are to follow the same logic, how can a word exist before the thought? How did language appear? Was it given to us from above, so that we could name everything in the Garden of Eden? Or was it that man's thinking processes (as well as his anatomy) were evolving, until he developed both the speech apparatus and the mental capacity to express what was already in his head in words?

PS. Oh, and what about all the news ideas that appeared even though there were no words for them, words that had to be invented afterwards?

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17-10-2012, 12:48 PM
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
(17-10-2012 05:08 AM)Vera Wrote:  After all (one final going back to my linguistic educationWink), they say that language is all about making infinite use of a finite means, thus that every single language under the sun is capable of expressing every single idea (even if it does not exist in the culture of its speakers and is completely foreign to its mindset), it may do so in a very long and explanatory way but it'll still manage to express it...
I am not an expert on foreign languages, but it seems to me that languages borrow from other languages to express ideas originating in another language.

Although, I think English and Espaniol are both Latin root, it seems that I come across contemporary English words (usually commercial products), such as "product," converted to Espaniol, "(producto')."

Since you do have some expertise in semantics, are there any counter, or otherwise, different theories that are proposed to follow?

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
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17-10-2012, 12:54 PM
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
(17-10-2012 12:38 PM)Vera Wrote:  
Quote:Can you give me an example of a "thought" *without* a word ? A "thought" requires "memory", or "reference" to "something".

I would, but I don't have the words Wink

All kidding aside, that's actually getting into how thought works (something we haven't quite figured out yet).

But if we are to follow the same logic, how can a word exist before the thought? How did language appear? Was it given to us from above, so that we could name everything in the Garden of Eden? Or was it that man's thinking processes (as well as his anatomy) were evolving, until he developed both the speech apparatus and the mental capacity to express what was already in his head in words?

PS. Oh, and what about all the news ideas that appeared even though there were no words for them, words that had to be invented afterwards?

"New ideas" is the "creative process". It's just "re-combinations of already extant words, which are 100 % dependant on memory, and data input. "Words" are "applied (learned) labels" for shared data sets in a given language. It's what we were talking about above. A baby sees two fingers in the air. Until it's seen enough "twos" to conflate the experiences as *examples* of the idea of "twoness", that "twoness" does not exist in the baby's brain. It's a learned thing. In that way, every idea is learned, or recombined, (products of creativity), from data input, referenced to memory.,

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17-10-2012, 12:58 PM
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
Quote:Since you do have some expertise in semantics, are there any counter, or otherwise, different theories that are proposed to follow?

Sorry, not sure I follow you completely. Do you mean another theory to explain how an idea can be explained in a language that has no word for it?

What you're saying about language borrowing is quite true, but what I meant by language being about making infinite use of finite means actually refers to each language (even what were once called "primitive languages", like some tribal languages in Africa... a description (primitive) which has fallen out of favour, btw) being capable of expressing every given idea with the means it has at hand (i.e. its own resources) - of course, it may take one language several sentences to express what in another can be expressed by a single word.[/quote]

Of course, after all's been said and done, those are all theories and no one (certainly not I) can say which is the one and only... that's why humanities are nor really scienceSmile

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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17-10-2012, 01:05 PM
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
Quote:Until it's seen enough "twos" to conflate the experiences as *examples* of the idea of "twoness", that "twoness" does not exist in the baby's brain. It's a learned thing. In that way, every idea is learned, or recombined, (products of creativity), from data input, referenced to memory.,

So, do you mean to say that if this child never learns the word "two", it would never grasp the idea of "twoness"?

Of course ideas are learned, though I do not agree that all ideas are learned, some are invented and yes, we do use ideas we already know, though it's not necessarily as simple as just recombining them... and to be fair, even you say that new idea are the result from data input, not from existing words that we recombine...

I also think we're kinda talking a bit at cross purposes hereSmile While I do have universalistic leanings, I by no means claim that I honestly believe that the relationship between thought/language is much more complicated that we are making it out to be here. And I do believe that language can greatly influence the way we thinking, even though I still maintain that that's an influence we can overcome if we really wanted.[/quote]

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17-10-2012, 01:11 PM (This post was last modified: 17-10-2012 01:32 PM by Vera.)
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
Sorry, got distracted and forgot some of my reply...

Yes, English and Spanish are of the same linguistic family (Indo-European). English is a Germanic one and Spanish - a Romance one (yeah, those are the ones derived from Latin).

Your specific example (product) has come into both languages from Latin, indeed, but English didn't take it from Spanish, but from Latin itself (possibly via Norman), while Spanish simply derived it, being a Latin/Romance language.

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17-10-2012, 01:18 PM (This post was last modified: 17-10-2012 01:28 PM by TrainWreck.)
RE: Reification Fallacy, "god(s)" and human language
(17-10-2012 12:38 PM)Vera Wrote:  All kidding aside, that's actually getting into how thought works (something we haven't quite figured out yet).

But if we are to follow the same logic, how can a word exist before the thought? How did language appear? Was it given to us from above, so that we could name everything in the Garden of Eden? Or was it that man's thinking processes (as well as his anatomy) were evolving, until he developed both the speech apparatus and the mental capacity to express what was already in his head in words?
(17-10-2012 12:58 PM)Vera Wrote:  Of course, after all's been said and done, those are all theories and no one (certainly not I) can say which is the one and only... that's why humanities are nor really scienceSmile
In my pursuit to develop a scientific classification system of human knowledge (replacement for the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress systems), I believe I discovered a pattern of semantic absolutes of Western Civilization that basically concludes that "Man's thinking process" has unwittingly developed a thorough system of studies, which I believe is essential to the better understanding of human knowledge, and subsequently helpful to the development of a better "universal" language. My theory of epistimological order of reality suggest that Western Civilization perceives the existence of reality from six, or seven, perceptions; and all thoughts are, at least, can be categorized into these, in possibly different logical (semantic) hierarchies.

0: Reality - all encompassing of all that is known and unknown.
1: Nature - all that is known
2: Technology - all that is man made
3: Individuals - all that is of individual beings
4: Organization - all that is the product of cooperative pursuits
5: Ideologies - all that is abstract and perpetuated by organization gaurdianship
6: Time - all that is subject to change

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
I am right, and you are wrong - I hope you die peacefullyCool
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