September 24, 2012

Call a Locke-smith..

Although somewhat longwinded, I love the root of Locke's argument in this reading: Language is ambiguous. We should language with the knowledge that it is a system based on empty connections. Locke argues that through societal consensus, words gain and retain meaning, that everything we can name is a product of human decision. If "complex ideas are formed by the connections among simple ideas," and simple ideas are only the products of overlapping consensus, what then is our system on communication based upon? (Locke, 815). 

Let's take Locke's issue, and apply it to modern rhetoric/mediums. Text messages are fraught with double-meaning, online research comes from a myriad of different sources, even this blog is created with a variety of input. I feel that in a technology-based society, the issues Locke outlined are only compounded. As our global connection grows, so does the margin of possible error. I feel digital communication/writing is more prone to ambiguity than printed words, as Locke puts it"language is inextricably and frequently misused...and imprecise means of conveying knowledge" (Locke, 815). Think about the issues Locke raises, then apply them to a modern I alone in my assumptions? Is there more or less clarity in writing that transcends boundary and place, (digital text)?


Jen said...

I completely agree with you and was going to write on the same subject. Because of the way we now respond to each other via internet and phones language ambiguity is a huge problem. We have created it and now we have to constantly redefine it. We are constantly adapting to new words that come up and defining not only their meaning but their social connotation. For example, the word swag. What does that even mean? Who decided what it meant? Why did we create this word that seemingly means absolutely nothing and what do we picture/associate with it when we read it? Is there a clear meaning of this word or is it still in it's evolution process? I believe words meanings will forever change and we've clearly experienced it prior to the digital age, I just think that it's at such a rapid movement now that ambiguity in all words is forever present and based on absolutely nothing.

tyreekminor said...

I would challenge your statement that language is a system based on "empty" connections. Language is formed by very intricate and highly complex connections, reconnections, disputes, refutes, and various other processes and conclusions based on numerous years of human experience. To say that this system and the connections made from them are "empty" is just not an accurate statement.

I do like the question you raised at the end of your blog post,
however. The questions surrounding digital text are incredible. I do very much believe that through writing, regardless of its, medium, provides greater clarity in understanding rather ambiguous or abstract world phenomena. There is no correct answer in the understanding and deciphering of our world, but through discourse we are able to make the attempt and possibly become very close to an accurate answer. Our language is really the most powerful weapon (and perhaps I should use another word) in our arsenal.

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