Language, is it all just words?

Consider this question: Define the word “monitor”
Look it up in the dictionary, but all you fing there is more words, the definitions of which you have to look up, but there you only find more words etc.

Eventually, you find that the definitions contain words that you were looking up in the first place. It’s as if a bullet of meaning keeps ricocheting around an impenetrable dome of WORDS.

So how do we make sense of anything. We know what words mean, but we can only verbalise that meaning in WORDS (i know that’s a tautology)

If this is true (and it is) then how can we truely understand anything? We don’t. so how am i here, saying this to you in frantic hope of an answer? It is impossible. Am I going Mad? Or did I dream all this up, beofre I wake up? Because the only way I can see out of this moebius loop of perception is that it isn’t really here…

Can anyone help?

The word “monitor” is a simbol for the monitor itself (a group of characteristics that only monitors have), but the word is not the monitor. People don’t think in words, people think in impressions, like pictures, sounds, volumes of certain characteristics etc.
What if someone showed you a picture of a car, instead of saying the word “car”? Wouldn’t that be the same as saying the word?
I don’t see why you would question reality because of words.
Maybe I didn’t understand your question right.

No, it’s not just words, it involves syntax, phonemes, intonation etc.

Yes, you’re right to see language as a kind of closed loop but wrong to worry about a one to one correspondance with reality as it is. It’s relationship with ‘the real world’ is causal, not representational. It helps us deal with monitors, to sell them, to use them but it doesn’t represent them. It helps us create significance as well. On a microscopic level, is it important to describe it as the same thing in the same way? On the quantum level, does it matter all that much if it’s a monitor or not? Our language helps us deal with the world as we are ouselves embedded in that world, but it doesn’t say anything with regard to what they actually are (a point which actually begins to disappear if you follow this.)

another important question to throw into your impenetrable dome. do we think or feel in language? consider this, looking up at your mother as a child, she says “come to mommy”. mom is a very nurturing word isnt it: ask anyone what mom means to them, and you get a real variety of answers. dont we “intially” equate words with emotions? has the dire need to express ourselves must have mutated into language then?

I think you take words to seriously, as far as im conserned words were invented only to tell lies and cause confusion. hense the loops in the dictionary. The problem is we don’t know what words mean, we only know what we think they mean.
you don’t have to verbalize the meaning of words you could draw a picture if the word refers to an object or use tone of voice and body language if the word reffers to an emotion

and in response to locke_key i think thoughts come as a combination of words,images and emotions, but then would a deaf mute that grew up isolated from any emotional contact be able to think?

I’d say yes. The human mind has the ability. A normal childhood just enhances the capabilities of our mind. I wonder what someone would think like had they not had any human contact through their childhood. I think I posted this already though. Or atleast a form of that question.

well, this makes another important question then. are our emotions derived from our basic instincts? if so, does that mean that animals can also feel emotions as humans do?

Personally, I think that some animals feel some of the emotions that we do. Maybe some animals feel all the emotions we do. Maybe, all animals feel the same emotions we do, or maybe they don’t but have the potential to. My take is that animals feel emotions. Some of the emotions I have seen animals exhibit physically make me feel as though they feel what I felt like when I was having the same emotion.

By the way, Locke_Key, I like your avatar. :smiley:

Pinky or brain? :wink:

a complex combination of the two, i would like to say…

I think as humans evolved they became more reliant on their creativity and imagination rather than their instincts. But with creativity and imagination there are more interesting things to do than reproduce, so the ones that didn’t find sex interesting died and the ones that aplied creative imaginations to sex lived on and thats how we got love and the rest of the emotions. emotions are how we survive where as certian animals (and humans) i think are still heavily reliant on istinct and therefor never evolved emotions

ps: this has gotten way off topic of words eh.