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Are language games apt descriptions of...

Stephen_Hawkins
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5/5/2014 7:45:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Are language games apt descriptions of society? That is, what role do they play and are they good at their job?
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Graincruncher
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5/8/2014 12:16:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm really interested in this subject, but your question is a bit too broad for me to respond to, I'm afraid. I'm not sure the question of whether they fill their role 'well' is a coherent one, as there isn't a metric for it; they simply are. If you mean "are they a useful way of understanding socio-linguistic behaviour?" then I'd say yes, absolutely.

If you could bring up a couple of specific criticisms/concerns/elements of them then it'd be easier to give more than the "yeah, seems so!" answer above. I suppose a good place to start would be "why do you ask?".
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/8/2014 3:07:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 12:16:05 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
I'm really interested in this subject, but your question is a bit too broad for me to respond to, I'm afraid. I'm not sure the question of whether they fill their role 'well' is a coherent one, as there isn't a metric for it; they simply are. If you mean "are they a useful way of understanding socio-linguistic behaviour?" then I'd say yes, absolutely.

If you could bring up a couple of specific criticisms/concerns/elements of them then it'd be easier to give more than the "yeah, seems so!" answer above. I suppose a good place to start would be "why do you ask?".

Well, let's take the language game, and ask what it is. It is not literal: it is a heuristic for explaining how we use language. Yet as Wittgenstein pointed out, we engage in many language games. Indeed, our language games overlap as well. So the question becomes, in my mind, what a language game definitively is, in order to be relevant to the modern philosophy of language analyst.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
YYW
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5/8/2014 3:12:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 3:07:33 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/8/2014 12:16:05 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
I'm really interested in this subject, but your question is a bit too broad for me to respond to, I'm afraid. I'm not sure the question of whether they fill their role 'well' is a coherent one, as there isn't a metric for it; they simply are. If you mean "are they a useful way of understanding socio-linguistic behaviour?" then I'd say yes, absolutely.

If you could bring up a couple of specific criticisms/concerns/elements of them then it'd be easier to give more than the "yeah, seems so!" answer above. I suppose a good place to start would be "why do you ask?".

Well, let's take the language game, and ask what it is. It is not literal: it is a heuristic for explaining how we use language. Yet as Wittgenstein pointed out, we engage in many language games. Indeed, our language games overlap as well. So the question becomes, in my mind, what a language game definitively is, in order to be relevant to the modern philosophy of language analyst.

You might find this interesting:

http://postmoderntherapies.com...
Tsar of DDO
Graincruncher
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5/8/2014 6:36:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 3:07:33 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/8/2014 12:16:05 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
I'm really interested in this subject, but your question is a bit too broad for me to respond to, I'm afraid. I'm not sure the question of whether they fill their role 'well' is a coherent one, as there isn't a metric for it; they simply are. If you mean "are they a useful way of understanding socio-linguistic behaviour?" then I'd say yes, absolutely.

If you could bring up a couple of specific criticisms/concerns/elements of them then it'd be easier to give more than the "yeah, seems so!" answer above. I suppose a good place to start would be "why do you ask?".

Well, let's take the language game, and ask what it is. It is not literal: it is a heuristic for explaining how we use language. Yet as Wittgenstein pointed out, we engage in many language games. Indeed, our language games overlap as well. So the question becomes, in my mind, what a language game definitively is, in order to be relevant to the modern philosophy of language analyst.

But then, heuristics itself is a language game of sorts. If there could be a sense to X then X is potentially describable in terms of a language game. They are not strictly defined constructs; asking the time is a language game, chess is a language game, mathematics is a language game... and so on. If we can potentially agree terms to describe something in such a way that there is understandable content - semantic content - to our descriptions, that something can be a language game.

So what is a language game, definitively? I supose you could say it is the act of definition itself, in that it is the act of giving something a sense. I would argue that any modern philosophy of language analyst who doesn't understand language games is not fit to be a modern philosophy of language analyst. It's fundamental in the sense that it's an acknowledgement of what language is and how it functions. Langauge games are descriptions of structural function itself; "how do the rules fit together?", rather than "are there rules?" or "what are the rules?".
Graincruncher
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5/8/2014 6:37:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 3:33:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Can someone explain to me why this concept is supposed to be profound?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say 'never in a month of Sundays'.
Graincruncher
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5/8/2014 6:46:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 3:12:50 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:07:33 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/8/2014 12:16:05 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
I'm really interested in this subject, but your question is a bit too broad for me to respond to, I'm afraid. I'm not sure the question of whether they fill their role 'well' is a coherent one, as there isn't a metric for it; they simply are. If you mean "are they a useful way of understanding socio-linguistic behaviour?" then I'd say yes, absolutely.

If you could bring up a couple of specific criticisms/concerns/elements of them then it'd be easier to give more than the "yeah, seems so!" answer above. I suppose a good place to start would be "why do you ask?".

Well, let's take the language game, and ask what it is. It is not literal: it is a heuristic for explaining how we use language. Yet as Wittgenstein pointed out, we engage in many language games. Indeed, our language games overlap as well. So the question becomes, in my mind, what a language game definitively is, in order to be relevant to the modern philosophy of language analyst.

You might find this interesting.:

http://postmoderntherapies.com...

"And the logical positivists use the word "nonsense" not in its ordinary sense of "without meaning" but to refer to a statement that cannot be independently verified (Ayer, 1936; Shawver, 1977). "

Uh.... no they didn't. Logical positivists used the word "nonsense" to mean "without meaning". They used "meaning" to refer to the state of having a describable position within the context from which meaning is derived. They use it literally to mean "meaningless".

It isn't they were using it differently, it is that they were highlighting what it actually means to say that something is "non-sense"; it does not have a place within the structure that is the description of and medium for 'sense'.

Otherwise it's a pretty good article.
sadolite
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5/8/2014 8:22:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/5/2014 7:45:27 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Are language games apt descriptions of society? That is, what role do they play and are they good at their job?

Language games are used for only one reason. To deceive and hide the truth.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Sidewalker
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5/8/2014 8:31:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 3:33:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Can someone explain to me why this concept is supposed to be profound?

Whereof you cannot comprehend, thereof we must be silent...so no.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
dylancatlow
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5/8/2014 8:32:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 6:37:05 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:33:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Can someone explain to me why this concept is supposed to be profound?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say 'never in a month of Sundays'.

Is that because it's not profound, and in fact exceedingly obvious? I don't get why people find this interesting, and that's not because I don't find linguistics interesting.
Graincruncher
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5/9/2014 4:09:14 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 8:32:27 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/8/2014 6:37:05 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:33:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Can someone explain to me why this concept is supposed to be profound?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say 'never in a month of Sundays'.

Is that because it's not profound, and in fact exceedingly obvious? I don't get why people find this interesting, and that's not because I don't find linguistics interesting.

No; it is, as has been highlighted on several occasions in the past, because you're really not anything like as bright as you think you are.
Graincruncher
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5/9/2014 4:10:31 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 8:31:33 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:33:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Can someone explain to me why this concept is supposed to be profound?

Whereof you cannot comprehend, thereof we must be silent...so no.

Hah! :D

So painfully true.
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/9/2014 5:51:57 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 3:33:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Can someone explain to me why this concept is supposed to be profound?

If there is an independent language game for each person, then everything is relative (as all is conceived in the terms of the language we use, and for someone to be wrong means their language game describes a reality different to the one you are perceiving through yours).

If there is an independent language game per person / per culture without overriding rules but 'family resemblances', then morality is relative (because any system you ascribe onto others is through your language game).

If all things are expressed through a language game, then the attempt to reduce anything to 'philosophical truths' is redundant if there are a plurality of games (as each game has independent, conflicting rules).

If language games proscribe certain things as 'good' or 'bad', we have a) explained meta-ethics, and b) implied a conservative (as in traditionalist) politico-ethical system.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/9/2014 6:18:33 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 3:12:50 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:07:33 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/8/2014 12:16:05 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
I'm really interested in this subject, but your question is a bit too broad for me to respond to, I'm afraid. I'm not sure the question of whether they fill their role 'well' is a coherent one, as there isn't a metric for it; they simply are. If you mean "are they a useful way of understanding socio-linguistic behaviour?" then I'd say yes, absolutely.

If you could bring up a couple of specific criticisms/concerns/elements of them then it'd be easier to give more than the "yeah, seems so!" answer above. I suppose a good place to start would be "why do you ask?".

Well, let's take the language game, and ask what it is. It is not literal: it is a heuristic for explaining how we use language. Yet as Wittgenstein pointed out, we engage in many language games. Indeed, our language games overlap as well. So the question becomes, in my mind, what a language game definitively is, in order to be relevant to the modern philosophy of language analyst.

You might find this interesting:

http://postmoderntherapies.com...

Thank you, it's a nice introduction. I've currently finished Wittgenstein's Impact on Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy, and starting on 'A View from Somewhere' on Wittgenstein's Political contributions, and the critical guide to Philosophical Investigations, when my library processes it.

As already been said, I'm sceptical of that take on logical positivism in the article, but it is a very nice piece. It picks out a few of the nicest bits of Wittgenstein, namely no. 23, no. 155, and no. 464.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/9/2014 6:25:04 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Also, to address further the issue of why Wittgenstein is important, I think this part from 'Applying Wittgenstein' actually responds directly to the question of "Why should we care what Wittgenstein wrote?"

"the importance of his writing may not lie, or at least may mostly not lie, in the truth (or falsity) or even the importance of what he wrote, but of how he wrote it. ... I suggest that it is worth caring about 'what' Wittgenstein said because it is worth caring about the profoundly challenging and deeply therapeutic way in which he thought and wrote. We are presented with a form of 'philosophy' that genuinely resists paraphrase; that forces the reader who understands to think for themselves; that reorients the entire axis of our philosophical investigations."
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
dylancatlow
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5/9/2014 9:03:03 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/9/2014 5:51:57 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:33:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Can someone explain to me why this concept is supposed to be profound?

If there is an independent language game for each person, then everything is relative (as all is conceived in the terms of the language we use, and for someone to be wrong means their language game describes a reality different to the one you are perceiving through yours).

If there is an independent language game per person / per culture without overriding rules but 'family resemblances', then morality is relative (because any system you ascribe onto others is through your language game).

If all things are expressed through a language game, then the attempt to reduce anything to 'philosophical truths' is redundant if there are a plurality of games (as each game has independent, conflicting rules).

If language games proscribe certain things as 'good' or 'bad', we have a) explained meta-ethics, and b) implied a conservative (as in traditionalist) politico-ethical system.

So essentially, it's the idea that "everything is qualia"? That no subjective experience is any more "correct" than any other? This is clearly contradictory, since it implies that the statement "everything is relative" is true from one's perspective only if one accepts it as true, in which case there is no reason to accept it as true in the first place. If our "subjective" perspectives didn't have the capacity to intersect in any globally meaningful sense, we would not be part of the same reality, which is impossible.
dylancatlow
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5/9/2014 9:12:37 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
The claim is basically "everything is relative but not really." "What's true from my perspective is not necessarily what's true from yours, which implies that it might be, which is yet another contradiction". Typical subjective nonsense. No wonder he's popular with nihilists.
dylancatlow
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5/9/2014 9:35:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/9/2014 9:17:39 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
Shhhh now. It's beyond embarrassing.

Agreed. Wittgen and his followers should know better ; - )
dylancatlow
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5/9/2014 10:12:58 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Fact is, what's true from "my" perspective is true from "your" perspective. This is because truth cannot be relativized to a partial context within reality at large, for if it did, truth would be false wherever it did not apply, which is a contradiction and cannot be realized within existence which must distinguish between what is and what is not. The only way out of this is to claim that truth cannot be known, and is only opinion. I shouldn't have to explain why this is an unconvincing argument.
YYW
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5/9/2014 11:51:31 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/9/2014 6:18:33 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:12:50 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:07:33 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/8/2014 12:16:05 PM, Graincruncher wrote:
I'm really interested in this subject, but your question is a bit too broad for me to respond to, I'm afraid. I'm not sure the question of whether they fill their role 'well' is a coherent one, as there isn't a metric for it; they simply are. If you mean "are they a useful way of understanding socio-linguistic behaviour?" then I'd say yes, absolutely.

If you could bring up a couple of specific criticisms/concerns/elements of them then it'd be easier to give more than the "yeah, seems so!" answer above. I suppose a good place to start would be "why do you ask?".

Well, let's take the language game, and ask what it is. It is not literal: it is a heuristic for explaining how we use language. Yet as Wittgenstein pointed out, we engage in many language games. Indeed, our language games overlap as well. So the question becomes, in my mind, what a language game definitively is, in order to be relevant to the modern philosophy of language analyst.

You might find this interesting:

http://postmoderntherapies.com...

Thank you, it's a nice introduction. I've currently finished Wittgenstein's Impact on Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy, and starting on 'A View from Somewhere' on Wittgenstein's Political contributions, and the critical guide to Philosophical Investigations, when my library processes it.

As already been said, I'm sceptical of that take on logical positivism in the article, but it is a very nice piece. It picks out a few of the nicest bits of Wittgenstein, namely no. 23, no. 155, and no. 464.

Cheers. The article's not perfect, but I think it's a good place to start.
Tsar of DDO
Stephen_Hawkins
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5/9/2014 3:54:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/9/2014 9:03:03 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 5/9/2014 5:51:57 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:33:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Can someone explain to me why this concept is supposed to be profound?

If there is an independent language game for each person, then everything is relative (as all is conceived in the terms of the language we use, and for someone to be wrong means their language game describes a reality different to the one you are perceiving through yours).

If there is an independent language game per person / per culture without overriding rules but 'family resemblances', then morality is relative (because any system you ascribe onto others is through your language game).

If all things are expressed through a language game, then the attempt to reduce anything to 'philosophical truths' is redundant if there are a plurality of games (as each game has independent, conflicting rules).

If language games proscribe certain things as 'good' or 'bad', we have a) explained meta-ethics, and b) implied a conservative (as in traditionalist) politico-ethical system.

So essentially, it's the idea that "everything is qualia"?

No. It is the idea that everything is understood through the context of a language game, which is an epistemological, not an ontological, point. It is in the philosophy of language as it applies to language. The thing is, philosophy of language has wide reach, which is why it is relevant to all these fields.

This is clearly contradictory, since it implies that the statement "everything is relative" is true from one's perspective only if one accepts it as true,

You are using that phrase within a philosopher's language game. To use the statement outside of the language game is incoherent (or impossible, depending on interpretations of Wittgenstein).

in which case there is no reason to accept it as true in the first place.

Wittgenstein believed that the problems of philosophy are those of confusion of language. So for example your statement's problem is that you are trying to explain language games. A Wittgensteinian aphorism is appropriate:

"A 'picture' held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably. "

Wittgenstein is not telling you what is objectively right or wrong - this concept is generated by the confusion of our language and our desire to make things true for all, even those outside of our language game (I think - this analysis of Wittgenstein is again controversial, as I extrapolate politics from phil. of language). However, both the objective and the relative are incoherent concepts, and so we should discard them. The aim of philosophy is to help us pass through the muddles of language, and understand we are trapped in this picture. It is to "pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense". It is to make us understand that we do not - indeed cannot - get a perfect view of an objective reality, because of the constrains of our language.

And as my long quotation from 'Applying Wittgenstein' is meant to show, trying to apply labels to Wittgenstein is going to lead to confusion, as he is not like any other thinker before him.

Also, yes, truth is no longer truth in which it does not apply. The truth of the history of Hitler, for example, is not true in fiction language games where we make a counterfactuals like "What if Hitler won World War 2?" or even in the slab! game.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
sadolite
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5/9/2014 5:11:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/8/2014 8:31:33 PM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 5/8/2014 3:33:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Can someone explain to me why this concept is supposed to be profound?

Whereof you cannot comprehend, thereof we must be silent...so no.

It means Shut the fck up retard
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
dylancatlow
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5/10/2014 11:08:53 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/9/2014 3:54:42 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 5/9/2014 9:03:03 AM, dylancatlow wrote:

This is clearly contradictory, since it implies that the statement "everything is relative" is true from one's perspective only if one accepts it as true,

You are using that phrase within a philosopher's language game. To use the statement outside of the language game is incoherent (or impossible, depending on interpretations of Wittgenstein).


The words themselves are relative to the meaning we collectively give them. But the "whole package"-- the words and their meanings, constitute an objective statement whether or not others are able to comprehend it. You assume that in order for something to be objective, it must be perfectly "sharable" with everyone else. But this is simply not the case. For those who share the corresponding background, the statement makes sense. But does this mean it is not objective? No. The meaning behind the words of an objective statement is universal from the point of view of anyone, whether or not they realize it.

in which case there is no reason to accept it as true in the first place.

Wittgenstein believed that the problems of philosophy are those of confusion of language. So for example your statement's problem is that you are trying to explain language games. A Wittgensteinian aphorism is appropriate:

"A 'picture' held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably. "

Wittgenstein is not telling you what is objectively right or wrong - this concept is generated by the confusion of our language and our desire to make things true for all, even those outside of our language game (I think - this analysis of Wittgenstein is again controversial, as I extrapolate politics from phil. of language). However, both the objective and the relative are incoherent concepts, and so we should discard them. The aim of philosophy is to help us pass through the muddles of language, and understand we are trapped in this picture. It is to "pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense". It is to make us understand that we do not - indeed cannot - get a perfect view of an objective reality, because of the constrains of our language.

This implies that words somehow "precede" their meaning, and act as a primary. If this were the case, words could not have meaning to begin with.


Also, yes, truth is no longer truth in which it does not apply. The truth of the history of Hitler, for example, is not true in fiction language games where we make a counterfactuals like "What if Hitler won World War 2?" or even in the slab! game.

You are once again implying that the truth of a statement does not lie within the meaning of its words, but within the words themselves. In your example, either "what if Hitler won World War 2" means something different than it does in our language, in which case our language never purports to know whether such a statement is true or false, or it is written in our language game, in which case it is false because the definition of "Hitler" in our language game precludes such an interpretation. Essentially, you are elevating the arbitrary aspect of language beyond its function.
Graincruncher
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5/10/2014 11:46:53 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/10/2014 11:08:53 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
The words themselves are relative to the meaning we collectively give them. But the "whole package"-- the words and their meanings, constitute an objective statement whether or not others are able to comprehend it.

The meaning of words is defined by the way the words are used by a linguistic community. Any given word may have different meanings in different language games. There is therefore no inherent meaning to the words and the meaning can only be properly understood within the framework of rules that govern the language game in question. Objectivity has absolutely nothing to do with it.

You assume that in order for something to be objective, it must be perfectly "sharable" with everyone else. But this is simply not the case. For those who share the corresponding background, the statement makes sense. But does this mean it is not objective? No. The meaning behind the words of an objective statement is universal from the point of view of anyone, whether or not they realize it.

For something to be objective it must be true for all possible observers. That is what objective means. If the truth - apparent or otherwise - is observer-specific then it is a subjective one. That is what the words mean. If you're going to keep using them, please bother to learn this very rudimentary fact. "I like ice-cream" is a subjective statement because the "like ice-cream" is dependent on the subject given; if you do not like ice-cream then statements of the type "X likes ice-cream" are subjectively true in the instances where X is defined as someone who does like it. Objective statements of the type "X likes ice-cream" are objective because it doesn't matter what X is, it is always true regardless.

Additionally, you are completely missing the point. The meaning behind the words of any statement are based on the rules governing the language game in which the statement exists. Outside of these rules, the statement does not have the same semantic roots. "Red is a colour" may be an objective fact, but the meaning which makes it objective is tied to our language games, which define what is and isn't a valid structure to a proposition. If something is not semantically valid - that is it doesn't conform to the rules governing meaningful statements - then it is nonsense. Since we can only ever interact with meaning rather than objective truth, objectivity and subjectivity are irrelevent concepts; something means what we understand it to mean because the rules of the language game(s) we are understanding it within dictate that to be what it means.

You are once again implying that the truth of a statement does not lie within the meaning of its words, but within the words themselves. In your example, either "what if Hitler won World War 2" means something different than it does in our language, in which case our language never purports to know whether such a statement is true or false, or it is written in our language game, in which case it is false because the definition of "Hitler" in our language game precludes such an interpretation. Essentially, you are elevating the arbitrary aspect of language beyond its function.

No, he isn't implying that at all. He is saying that the meaning of words is defined by the way we use them, not anything fixed or inherent. It's the total opposite of what you've somehow got; words do NOT have any inherent meaning, they're just moves in a language game. Our langauge claims truth and falsity of things within a framework of 'rules of usage' that gives everything - including the concepts of 'truth' and 'falsity' - meaning. Other language games may work with different rules or merely different arrangements of the same rules, but we cannot meaningfully discuss an utterance from language game C in terms of language game D and expect to understand the intended meaning of it. "When you greet a friend and say "Hail!", you had better not be thinking of the weather when you say it".

You are, as predicted, entirely missing the point. It is not that the meanings are abitrary within a given game, but that the rules governing the game itself are arbitrary. In the same way as the rules of chess are; they were created and the game works only because they are agreed upon. Meanwhile, they tell us nothing of other games and other games tell us nothing of chess.
dylancatlow
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5/10/2014 12:21:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/10/2014 11:46:53 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/10/2014 11:08:53 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
The words themselves are relative to the meaning we collectively give them. But the "whole package"-- the words and their meanings, constitute an objective statement whether or not others are able to comprehend it.

The meaning of words is defined by the way the words are used by a linguistic community. Any given word may have different meanings in different language games. There is therefore no inherent meaning to the words and the meaning can only be properly understood within the framework of rules that govern the language game in question. Objectivity has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Why would I disagree with this?

You assume that in order for something to be objective, it must be perfectly "sharable" with everyone else. But this is simply not the case. For those who share the corresponding background, the statement makes sense. But does this mean it is not objective? No. The meaning behind the words of an objective statement is universal from the point of view of anyone, whether or not they realize it.

For something to be objective it must be true for all possible observers. That is what objective means. If the truth - apparent or otherwise - is observer-specific then it is a subjective one. That is what the words mean. If you're going to keep using them, please bother to learn this very rudimentary fact. "I like ice-cream" is a subjective statement because the "like ice-cream" is dependent on the subject given; if you do not like ice-cream then statements of the type "X likes ice-cream" are subjectively true in the instances where X is defined as someone who does like it. Objective statements of the type "X likes ice-cream" are objective because it doesn't matter what X is, it is always true regardless.


The statement "I like ice-cream" is objective, since the fact that "I like ice-cream" is true from all perspectives. I believe we've already had this discussion.

Additionally, you are completely missing the point. The meaning behind the words of any statement are based on the rules governing the language game in which the statement exists. Outside of these rules, the statement does not have the same semantic roots. "Red is a colour" may be an objective fact, but the meaning which makes it objective is tied to our language games, which define what is and isn't a valid structure to a proposition. If something is not semantically valid - that is it doesn't conform to the rules governing meaningful statements - then it is nonsense. Since we can only ever interact with meaning rather than objective truth, objectivity and subjectivity are irrelevent concepts; something means what we understand it to mean because the rules of the language game(s) we are understanding it within dictate that to be what it means.

You are once again implying that the truth of a statement does not lie within the meaning of its words, but within the words themselves. In your example, either "what if Hitler won World War 2" means something different than it does in our language, in which case our language never purports to know whether such a statement is true or false, or it is written in our language game, in which case it is false because the definition of "Hitler" in our language game precludes such an interpretation. Essentially, you are elevating the arbitrary aspect of language beyond its function.

No, he isn't implying that at all. He is saying that the meaning of words is defined by the way we use them, not anything fixed or inherent. It's the total opposite of what you've somehow got; words do NOT have any inherent meaning, they're just moves in a language game. Our langauge claims truth and falsity of things within a framework of 'rules of usage' that gives everything - including the concepts of 'truth' and 'falsity' - meaning. Other language games may work with different rules or merely different arrangements of the same rules, but we cannot meaningfully discuss an utterance from language game C in terms of language game D and expect to understand the intended meaning of it. "When you greet a friend and say "Hail!", you had better not be thinking of the weather when you say it".

Yes, he is. He's saying that words have no inherent meaning (which is self-evident), but then goes on to conclude that a statement as understood within a given language game cannot be objective, since it does not apply within other language games. This focuses on the arbitrary use of the words themselves, and not the meaning associated with them.

You are, as predicted, entirely missing the point. It is not that the meanings are abitrary within a given game, but that the rules governing the game itself are arbitrary. In the same way as the rules of chess are; they were created and the game works only because they are agreed upon. Meanwhile, they tell us nothing of other games and other games tell us nothing of chess.

Meanings are predicated on the rules of the game. Your distinction makes no sense. A statement derives its meaning from arbitrary rules, but the meaning itself - if the statement is objectively true - applies to all.
dylancatlow
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5/10/2014 12:25:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
*The statement "I like ice-cream" is objective, since the fact that "I like ice-cream" is true from all perspectives. I believe we've already had this discussion.

Where "I" is understood to be the person in question.
Graincruncher
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5/10/2014 12:38:58 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/10/2014 12:21:35 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
The statement "I like ice-cream" is objective, since the fact that "I like ice-cream" is true from all perspectives. I believe we've already had this discussion.

Yes, you ended up arguing with a dictionary definition. As usual. The statement is subjective by definition. That is to say, that is what 'subjective' means. In our language games, the label for such examples is 'subjective'. If you disagree with this then you literally aren't using the words correctly; your moves do not conform to the rules of the language game being played.

Yes, he is. He's saying that words have no inherent meaning (which is self-evident), but then goes on to conclude that a statement as understood within a given language game cannot be objective, since it does not apply within other language games. This focuses on the arbitrary use of the words themselves, and not the meaning associated with them.

One of your idiomatic self-contradictory back-tracks aside, you are still missing the point. The meaning of a 'move' is dictated by the rules of the game it is made within. We cannot make that move in another game, governed by different rules, and expect it to have the same meaning. Therefore there is no 'objective' meaning to any given utterance across all possible language games.

The whole point is that the meaning of a word is dictated by the linguistic community's agreed rules for how to use it; if you use it correctly - understanding what it means - then you are in accordance with the rules. If you use it incorrectly - in breach of the rules - then you do not understand it. This is a point that you, more than anyone I've ever met, really would benefit from considering deeply.

In other words, the meaning associated with them is just that; 'associated' with them. The word is a noise or a squiggle. It gets used in a certain context and it is then 'associated' with its meaning in that language game.

Meanings are predicated on the rules of the game. Your distinction makes no sense.

It does, but it doesn't surprise me in the least that you think otherwise.

A statement derives its meaning from arbitrary rules, but the meaning itself - if the statement is objectively true - applies to all.

No, because the 'meaning itself' is how the word is used within a framework of rules. There is no Platonic 'meaning' to which the word refers, we only understand it to mean something because that is how we use it. A statement is only meaningful within its definitive framework. That framework is based on the use within a language community - or at least, a potential langauge community; no private languages are meaningful - and nothing else.