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Last post Author Topic: One answered question before you died  (Read 37743 times)

Deozaan

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Re: One answered question before you died
« Reply #100 on: October 12, 2008, 03:08:37 PM »
What is it that informs us that each individual's perception of reality is, in fact, an individual experience not directly sharable? I've often heard that point being asserted, but I've never never heard an explanation as to why that assertion should be so.

Well, for one thing, check out the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, which basically says that our language and vocabulary shape the way we perceive reality. So since everybody has a different vocabulary, or even different understandings of the same words, we all perceive reality a bit differently than others around us.


Darwin

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Re: One answered question before you died
« Reply #101 on: October 12, 2008, 05:01:31 PM »
What is it that informs us that each individual's perception of reality is, in fact, an individual experience not directly sharable? I've often heard that point being asserted, but I've never never heard an explanation as to why that assertion should be so.

Well, for one thing, check out the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, which basically says that our language and vocabulary shape the way we perceive reality. So since everybody has a different vocabulary, or even different understandings of the same words, we all perceive reality a bit differently than others around us.

I was thinking of Sapir-Whorf when I wrote my original question. However, there is a whole debate that rages back and forth in linguistics about linguitic relativity. AFAICT, at the moment, Sapir-Whorfian models are in general "favour", but this hasn't always been true and there is still a vocal opposition to this type of modelling.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

40hz

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Re: One answered question before you died
« Reply #102 on: October 12, 2008, 06:29:32 PM »

Well, for one thing, check out the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, which basically says that our language and vocabulary shape the way we perceive reality. So since everybody has a different vocabulary, or even different understandings of the same words, we all perceive reality a bit differently than others around us.

Plowing through the Wikipedia article, but I think I'm going to have to do some additional reading before I can comment. I found one factual error* in the article that makes me wonder what else in there is wrong...

*The Babel-17 entry is incorrect sez 40hz:
 
Quote
Samuel R. Delany's novel Babel-17 is centered on a fictional language that denies its speakers independent thought, forcing them to think purely logical thoughts. This language is used as a weapon of war, because it is supposed to convert everyone who learns it to a traitor. In the novel, the language Babel-17 is likened to computer programming languages that do not allow errors or imprecise statements.

It was a weapon of war because it conveyed a vast amount of information concisely, without any chance of error or ambiguity entering into the transmission. Hence it was the perfect language for transmitting battle plans and orders without worrying about the "fog of war" factor that often plagues military communications. It had nothing to do with destroying independent thought.

The "traitor" issue was a subplot. The Alliance Military Command suspected a traitor because of the effectiveness of the enemy's action against it. The effectiveness was due to superior communications afforded by Babel-17, coupled with a genetically engineered Special Ops unit that used it.

Babel-17 itself was just a language that conveyed information better than any other language. Period.

Not being a nit-piker. That point was Delany's whole point about (and the genius of) Babel-17.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2008, 06:36:29 PM by 40hz »

Deozaan

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Re: One answered question before you died
« Reply #103 on: October 13, 2008, 07:19:39 PM »
Plowing through the Wikipedia article, but I think I'm going to have to do some additional reading before I can comment. I found one factual error* in the article that makes me wonder what else in there is wrong...

To be honest, I didn't read the Wikipedia article, because I've been introduced to Sapir-Whorf through college courses. So I was just linking it for the sake of providing some background information about it.


40hz

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Re: One answered question before you died
« Reply #104 on: October 14, 2008, 06:08:31 PM »
Plowing through the Wikipedia article, but I think I'm going to have to do some additional reading before I can comment. I found one factual error* in the article that makes me wonder what else in there is wrong...

To be honest, I didn't read the Wikipedia article, because I've been introduced to Sapir-Whorf through college courses. So I was just linking it for the sake of providing some background information about it.

Appreciated, and not a problem. It was just that I found Sapir-Whorf so interesting that I wanted to make sure I was getting it correctly.

Darwin

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Re: One answered question before you died
« Reply #105 on: October 14, 2008, 07:04:46 PM »
Google Sapir-Whorf and check out some of the college/university websites that show up - you should get a decent discussion that way... The hypothesis is essentially that language guides our thinking - provides us with ways of viewing the world - and so, in a sense, "creates" or "dictates" our reality. An alternative name for Sapir-Whorf is "linguistic relativitism". The opposite view is that language merely reflects our reality... I've oversimplified this... er, A LOT!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

40hz

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Re: One answered question before you died
« Reply #106 on: October 19, 2008, 11:08:16 PM »

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icekin

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Re: One answered question before you died
« Reply #107 on: October 24, 2008, 10:49:44 PM »
If someone came to me and offered to answer any question before I died, I would first question his/her ability to give the right answer and how would I know if that answer is even right or simply another plausible theory? The fact that it is based on existing assumptions may make it more acceptable, but it still wouldn't be absolutely correct, because we will never know if several of our existing assumptions are absolutely correct unless someone challenges them. And it is always possible that someone may challenge them in the future based on upcoming experimental evidence that we have yet to be aware of.