• Language And Communication


    Words has laudatory or derogatory meaning in its conventional lexical usage, and to try to preserve the implication that the word already has by building an evaluative component into the definition. A evaluative definition of ‘courage’ is pursuit of a good or worthy goal in spite of danger, fear, and/or severe difficulties of a painful nature. This is a positive connotation. As long as this is done in an event and clearly expressed way, is not deceptive and should not be an obstacle to having a productive ethical discussion on the nature of courage or on some issue in which ‘courage’ is key term. Also in scientific research, because of…

  • Language And Communication


    It seems appropriate to mention how important it is to avoid writing in a manner that reinforces questionable assumptions and attitudes about people’s gender, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability or disability, or other characteristics. This isn’t just a matter of morality/ethics; it is a matter of clarity and good sense. We are a society that aspires to be just, a society that strives not to withhold its benefits from individual on the basis of their ethnic or racial background, religion or gender. We try to end practices and change or remotes institutions that are unjustly discriminatory. Some of these unfair practices and institutions are, unfortunately, embedded in our…

  • Language And Communication


    Explanations and arguments are different things and serve different purposes, one source of confusion is that a sentence that can be used to explain something can also be used in an argument, either as a premise or as a conclusion. The statement, “The puddle was caused by the leak in the toilet” might be the conclusion of an argument whose premise is; “There wasn’t a puddle until the toilet started leaking.” Alternatively, it might be a premise in an argument that has the conclusion. “Therefore, let’s fix the toilet.” Many kinds of things need explaining, and it isn’t surprising that many kinds of explanations exist. Certain minimal conditions must be…

  • Language And Communication


    The emotive meaning of a word or expression  is the private, subjective connotation  or denotation of the word or expression. It is the attitude or other emotional state that is conventionally taken to be expressed  by a straightforward  use of it. Thus a derogatory term conventionally expressed some kind of contempt or hostility to some class of people. Term like ‘stubborn’, and ‘pig-headed’ apply to more or less the same class of people for more or less the same reason, but convey different applications.  Other term like ‘super!’ or ‘wow!’ have nothing but an emotive function, but most terms with which we communicate approval or disapproval have descriptive aspects as…

  • Language And Communication


    What we have to say may be important, but the words we choose to say it can be equally important. Words have tremendous persuasive power or power to express and elicit images, feelings and emotional associations. Weaselers are linguistic methods of hedging a bet. When inserted into a claim they help protect it from criticism by watering it down somewhat, weakening it, and giving the claim’s author a way out in case the claim is challenged. So, what a claim assents, a weaseler either minimize or takes away entirely. Without doubt you’re heard the words “up to” used as a weaselers a thousand times, especially in advertising. For example, “lose…

  • Language And Communication


    While it is widely agreed that the meaning of a sentence, phrase, or word must have something to do with the way that the expression is used by speaker of the language, it is not at all obvious how to move from that vague idea to a precise answer to our question. One problem is that utterances of a given sentence might be used to convey all manner of messages, many of which would be far removed from what we intuitively regard as the literal linguistics meaning of the sentence. Any account of meaning I terms of use must find a way to avoid having every innovative or idiosyncratic feature…


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