Philosophy | University of Northern Colorado
Philosophy | University of Northern Colorado
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Members | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Class Forums - Spring 2013
 PHIL 200-002 - Friedrich Nietzsche
 Communication
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Spencer Althoff
Newcomer

2 Posts

Posted - Apr 05 2013 :  3:51:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In regard to today's discussion, how can one maneuver and succeed in communication when the senses of the words at hand can vary so much? It seems like an overwhelming task.

David Berger
Journeyman

77 Posts

Posted - Apr 08 2013 :  1:43:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Don't worry yourself! It's really quite simple. The meaning of words will change over time -- indeed, the words themselves will, over time, become unrecognizable. Certain ideas will be born the likes of which we have never conceived, and likewise, certain ideas we express now will be beyond expression.

However, language is a set of consistent rules, which we call a grammar, which apply structure to otherwise arbitrary groups of signs, or "words." It is a chain of represented ideas (and let us not make the mistake of thinking that everything represented is real "in itself," that is a different matter), but represented in the sense that we use specific signals to communicate specific ideas, and these correlations are very consistent and structured. So it doesn't matter if our language covers the actual "essential truth" of matters, or "things in themselves" (if such things even exist), so long as we agree with what the signs are referring to.

To put it more simply, we know what we are trying to say when we say it. We may find two people have different understandings of a word, however if they both comprehend the same language, they can come to an understanding on different terms. The ideas we agree upon now will perhaps be lost a loooooooooooooong way down the road, but as it is, our language remains a cohesive system. Because it is a set of rules, we can all understand each other if we are playing the same game.

Does this make sense to you?

A word spoken may echo off the countless objects of the universe, and this may distort its form beyond recognition; it does not, however, change the process behind the initial utterance.

--

And a key question of Nietzsche's is this: just who makes the rules, or how do we come to the rules? Are these rules beneficial or disadvantageous? Clearly he finds it is a sickness to attach value that is supposed to be "eternal" to our fleeting and prejudiced judgments. Even the concept of "things" is a concept created, and it is a delusion to believe in eternal things. One who wishes to "improve" humanity could be destroying them.

Such problems as disharmony with nature and slavery of an entire race arise when one tries to claim this sort of knowledge -- knowledge of what is acceptable "in the eyes of the universe," of what is essentially good or bad. Such problems arise when we do not realize the artificial nature of certain concepts. Do you think so?

[Very lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page

Nickolaus Lavery
Fledgling

8 Posts

Posted - Apr 10 2013 :  01:26:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Spencer, who are your favorite actors -- and why do you consider them your favorites?
Go to Top of Page

Karlie Huckels
Fledgling

5 Posts

Posted - Apr 12 2013 :  11:13:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I almost feel like there really can be no way to succeed in communication and that that in itself is why it seems so daunting. Communication isn't an art or a skill that we possess; it just happens.

Language is a set of rules.
Communication is natural.
It's as simple as that.

Language is a human invention.
Communication has always been there; it is a part of us. It makes us human. We use language as a gateway to communicate, but it does not define communication as a whole.

To be living is to communicate.
Language has nothing to do with it.

[Very lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page

David Berger
Journeyman

77 Posts

Posted - Apr 15 2013 :  1:49:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Karlie, I am very pleased with the distinction you have made. I think something similar after having heard Prof. T's schpiel on the matter. It would seem you either got the idea from him, or you both got the idea somewhere else. And what an excellent way of putting things!

But I do have one contention, in the way you phrase this description. I would not say language has nothing to do with communication. Language is a set of rules established such that we can have terms on which to communicate. We shall call this a convention. It is conventions that make signs possible: To connect a word or phrase with a mental image (what one might call a memory) allows us to communicate only if it invokes the same image in everyone else. The basis for the argument that we do not communicate is, I think, in the fact that we all have different mental images, and different experiences to which we connect these images, so even two people who are asked to remember a red spot placed the same distance from both of them, while remembering perhaps the same location on the wall on which the spot had been projected, will recall the image from different angles, no matter how slight. As their positions differ more greatly, the difference becomes clearer. To have them observe the exact same image would be to have them occupy the exact same space, however this is possible only at a different time. And again, as we wait longer between the exposure to the image, the difference in the mental states of the observers (thoughts and sensations they have had prior to observing the red spot) becomes more apparent. So we see that no matter how close we try to get, if communication involves sharing of thoughts, it just doesn't happen--the term is erroneously used when used so.

But of course, while that seems to be the sense in which we use "communication," we more commonly understand a successful articulation of both parties of "the gist" of a perhaps more detailed expression is typically considered sufficient grounds of communication. In that sense, there is nothing better that I can think of than agreeing upon a set of signs. The more signs we have, the more we can refine what they represent, what we mean. The most basic level of communication seems to me to come town to pointing, or looking. And really that seems to me all language is.

So when you say communication is natural, I think we can make an even finer distinction: The articulation of one's ideas, or, expression, is natural. I say this without mentioning an effort because it seems even in animals we see certain signs -- body language, bee dances, vocalisations. In humans we seem to observe an effort to be understood. It is this mutual understanding that we would call communication, and it simply doesn't happen. We can mutually articulate -- that is, we can make the same sounds, but even as we speak, we could have completely different meanings. And so we point. For language is just a set of signs, and in order to connect them to phenomena, we must attach them to phenomena, or exit the language. And it is from the naming of phenomena that we enter the language. And thus we form concepts.

So we have, language as a scheme (framework) for the naming of phenomena: that these concepts (named phenomena) may be organized in an intelligible way. Thus we have a conceptual scheme. An artificial conceptual scheme, which has no essential relationship with actual reality: what relation it has is an arbitrary one. Ockham's "natural signs" elude us.

[Lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page

Karlie Huckels
Fledgling

5 Posts

Posted - Apr 15 2013 :  9:34:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Language has had no impact in the creation of communication is what I was trying to say earlier. I just didn't have the words at the time.

But as for language, I know what it is and how it has shaped what we call communication today. Also, I concur with you. I do believe that expression is a natural thing, but it also is an extension of communication because when we think of an expression there's a set of rules also applied to it. People constantly try to name everything that is tied to animalistic behaviors or body movements.

But you can give someone an idea purely with a glance. There are no rules applied. You can't explain it. It is raw. You can't label it. And that is communication in its simplest form.

[Lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page

David Berger
Journeyman

77 Posts

Posted - Apr 17 2013 :  2:09:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Indeed. And there are some who believe that what you here call communication can take place purely through thought, or some sort of "emotional connection."

But really, what happens is we seem to be able to cause ideas in each other. What is done to cause certain ideas is a sign. The study of how signs represent things is semiotics. It seems like a hot field in philosophy. It's very interesting to me, and I'm just starting to learn about it.
Go to Top of Page

Nickolaus Lavery
Fledgling

8 Posts

Posted - Apr 19 2013 :  12:39:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Spencer is an acting major (right Spence?) so I'm sure if he looks at this, he'd have some insight to offer about how talented actors are able to communicate complicated emotional statements, often times in ways that transcend the mere prescriptive rules of language.
Go to Top of Page

Karlie Huckels
Fledgling

5 Posts

Posted - Apr 19 2013 :  1:35:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
David, I don't think our opinions will match up on this considering I am a part of those who believe that there are emotional connections. But it does seem like a very interesting topic.
Go to Top of Page

David Berger
Journeyman

77 Posts

Posted - Apr 19 2013 :  2:25:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Karlie, I am not so sure that we disagree, but if we do, I'm sure we can learn something.

For you see, I concur that the communication of a glance is not done along any rule. This is because of the lack of the conceptual scheme. However, you say there are emotional connections. Do you mean that people send their feelings to each other by way of some sort of signal that is taken in? That would be different from what I think, which is that such raw communication is due to the way we are wired to respond to each other's signals. What the connection is is an elicited response. Someone who has not been in the same society, or who lacks certain social skills due to a mental disability or some other such thing, will not react to subtle communication of the sort that you mention. This is why I think it is a tendency resulting from training and from our proximity to other humans. If one has never seen what a sad person, or even an upset person looks like, could one tell if someone who is crying is upset? That is the question I ask you, for I am not sure of the answer: would the person who has been orphaned his whole life be able to receive emotional signals without already having some idea of how to accept them? Do certain things we do transcend signification (and thus transcend communication), or is that going too far? Does anyone know of studies on this matter? It is a very interesting question you have raised.

[Very lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page

Ryan Crawford
Fledgling

5 Posts

Posted - May 02 2013 :  2:51:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Is human communication really dependent on language though? I would think not: humans are constantly communicating with one another non-verbally. With so many different languages, so many different words and meanings, I do think communication is natural, and language is actually a result of communication, not the other way around.

Emotional communication does depend on some interpretation of signals. And I do believe that these signals can be interpreted in an assortment of ways in each individual. Communication of any sort is different from one person to the next. While our emotions are akin to one another, we experience different feelings and communicate differently depending on who the other person is, depending on many variables.

I would say that we can see without his or speaking a word when a person is sad or angry. The fact that we can recognize these emotions and interpret them non-verbally speaks to our cognitive abilities to communicate emotions non-verbally.

[Very lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page

Henry Thomas
Apprentice

22 Posts

Posted - May 10 2013 :  7:40:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I believe that although there are constantly new words being introduced and being invented, the most important words will always stay the same. Although you certainly can run into problems and they can be big at times. These problems arise when you travel to a different country or are introduced into a different culture. When this happens, you wont be able to understand the slang in that society. What this means is no matter how well you know the language, the actual language there can still put you at a huge disadvantage because a lot of people use slang and most likely you will not be able to understand any of that. Every country, and maybe sometimes even every state, has a different form of slang that it uses.

[Lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page

Tom Trelogan
Forum Admin

1420 Posts

Posted - May 10 2013 :  7:54:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Henry, can you give us an example of one of those "important words" that will always stay the same? And are those also words that you think have always stayed the same?
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Philosophy | University of Northern Colorado © 2004 tkt Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.14 seconds. Snitz Forums 2000