The following is based on a MCT and Dee Neely discussion about words. 

Dee NeelyPermalink Reply by Dee Neely yesterday

Words don't have meaning on the objective scale. They are symbols which relate to ideas, but they aren't objective. They are subjective. They are subjective depending on condition, on circumstance, on culture, on language...

Take the word power which we are discussing. The English word "power" has 20 different meanings according to

This makes the word very, very subjective. Science and mathematics are the only reliable way to determine meaning.

Your statement than many people have been powerful and not corrupt bears investigation.  I would be interested in seeing who you think qualifies as powerful and not corrupt so we can compare.

MCTPermalink Reply by MCT yesterday

"Words don't have meaning on the objective scale."

-Abject nonsense. The concept of ability is objective, whether we refer to it with the phoneme power or ability. It has necessary characteristics that are real and reducible to perceptual evidence in any language. We remove the unique subjective perceptions when we form concepts, that's what makes them concepts. Your willingness and attempt to defeat the process of definition by essentials cannot invalidate that XBox is an electric gaming system, no matter how you cut it. It is not a relative or subjective concept. It has necessary essentials. It is definitely some things and not others. Words, the phonemes for concepts, having objective meanings is necessary for communication about this one objective reality we all inhabit. Atheism is the belief that there are no gods. This is not a subjective definition, in fact, if it is a definition, it is not subjective. Objectification of our perceptions is necessary for language development. Cortically, this is exactly what is going on. Our cortex examines multiple versions of patterns of perceptual evidence about something that actually exists in reality and after we remove or omit the subjective arbitrary characteristics, such as color and material, in the case of a chair, and retain the objective characteristics, such as shape and purpose, we can hold this in place, attach a phoneme and communicate to others or hold in our awareness for comparing and contrasting other things like and dislike it. This is how we make knowledge. This is very consistent with new successful models of artifical intelligence, most notably Jeff Hawkins' Hierarchical Temporal Memory. Concept formation, which is necessary for rational thought and communication is the objectification of our perceptions. And someone who has the ability to walk, also, objectively has the power to walk.

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So, how about this.


Words are designed to be objective but can only be interpreted subjectively.

I think that nails it ;-)

sounds good leveni

Words are thought of first as sounds, and we all know that in the physical world there is no such thing as sound and/or color. In the absence of a conscious subject all remains simply vibrations. The wonderful world of color and sound is our creation, a biological readout, a world interpreted by the way it effects our personal biology--our apparent verses ultimate reality. So, no words are not I think objective or designed to be objective, words are one like biology communicating with another like biology about subjective experiences of an apparent common reality. The only thing objective about words, is the vibrations which constitute a stimulus which is to be later interpreted through our biology as sound.  

@MCT Your arrogant answer is a reflection of your lack of understanding of the statement at hand. You have conflated concepts and words. A word is a sound or a series of symbols that is used to allow different people to communicate ideas about concepts. You are correcting in saying that the truth of matter is objective. The Xbox as a concept is an electric gaming system. It has a certain shape and material determined by the types of atoms composing it and their structure. However to go along with your example of Xbox, the word Xbox has subjectivity to it. Many might hear the word Xbox and assume you mean the console itself as well as controllers, wifi extension, cords, etc., therefore being able to say "let's play with your xbox" and play with it the way the creators intended. However in a different context such as moving the console, one might have the controllers, wifi extension, and cords all packed up and say "the last thing we have to move is the xbox." In this latter example, the controllers, wifi extension, and cords would be excluded from the word xbox. Words are tokens that carry associations. No two people have had the exact same experience and therefore no two people have the exact same idea associated with a word. Many people's definitions of many words have lots of overlap which is why communication usually works. But words like "smart" or "love" for just a few examples off the top of my head are extremely subjective. 

I suggest you not open a comment with insulting language such as,"Your arrogant answer". Granted you didn't directly insult the person, just his answer. Still, opening with a put down doesn't strengthen your argument, just puts up the reader's hackles and suggests that you might be feeling defensive. Otherwise, well argued.

You are certainly correct that it is not ideal to start an argument the way I did. I was just frustrated by MCT's labelling of the original argument made by Dee Neely as "abject nonsense." I figured if he wants to play rough, others can play rough back but I appreciate your response.

Thanks, Andreas. 

@Andreas Blobel - I agree with you that MCT's answer was arrogant. I would have labeled it smug. MCT seems enslaved to his amygdala, leaving our Wernicke's areas to work overtime in an effort to decipher just how much neuroanatomy and linguistics he's actually studied versus how much he's faking. If I could see a picture of his face I could access my fusiform gyrus and conflate those findings with physiognomy.

Language, is fluid.

I before E except after C.



Break some of the spelling rulls you  may have learned by the elementery school teacher and explore different vocabularies and dialects.

The North American English Dialect map and information in the link may be of interest to some.

This is one of the neatest web sites I happened across.

...I before E except after C.

And we're indeed not any "athier" than everyone else!

RationalWiki's help page on avoiding common mistakes has some commentary on the "I before E" rule:

Remember: "i before e except after c", unless your spellchecker disagrees. Anyway, i doesn't even exist, e is transcendental, and c is the speed of light. Why should they obey silly grammarians when they occur in words?*

*...except where it is just weird of course. However, being atheistic (as we do not make obeisance to any omniscient deity) scientists we might deign to abseil from the height of our ivory towers and in our leisure-time find sufficient, perhaps even a surfeit, of examples, to put our weight behind unveiling a specie of exceptions such as "freight". We might even be inveigled by a prescient financier (for the forfeit of just a few ancient gold sovereigns) to seize the chance of forgoing our caffeine and protein (mainly cheesy casein) diet, so long as we are given free reign rein to formulate efficient policies which either highlight heinous counterfeit examples (such as "reading Mein Kampf with a stein of lager and a chicken chow-mein while considering the leitmotif of Rottweilers running through the edelweiss on the Eiger") or present a prima facie case to reject the spontaneity of the Society of Sheiks feigning a plebeian interest in the eight beige heifers of their feisty foreign neighbours' from Madeira. So if you are neither canoeing round a weir, peeing on the concierge of a hacienda nor sleighing down a glacier, and are still bewildered by the lunacies of English spelling outlined herein try visiting Eire and check out the intricacies of Irish spelling. If we were more proficient we might, in good conscience, be able to continue in a similar vein but we're far more interested in the eighteen sheilas and eighty geisha heiresses in their eiderdown jackets next door. Yeah, basically there are more exceptions to this rule than adherent cases...

Probably depends if it's a noun, or verb.




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