September 23, 2012

Questioning Meaning

Locke is a true enlightenment thinker because he challenged the signification of words by discussing their imperfections. He “reconsidered the source and status of knowledge" (Bizzell/Herzberg 791) by “paying particular attention to the psychological processes of communication" (Bizzell/Herzberg 791) and that is how he came to the idea that “the imperfection of words is t doubtfulness or ambiguity of their signification, which is caused by the sort of ideas they stand for" (Locke 817). Words that are imperfect, question the knowledge people have of them and if they are true. Words are generated through knowledge because "the idea which each stands for must be learned and retained" (Locke 818) and if knowledge is something learned then this statement is true.

I found everything Locke presented to be true. I feel that words do become useless when the person you are trying to communicate with does not understand because their use of the word is different. Compared to the time of the enlightenment, the imperfection in words is now more prominent because people change meanings all the time and if someone is not knowledgeable of the new use it can cause miscommunication between the two people. For example, the word ‘bad’ usually means something that is not good, but the youth of the 21st century have turned it into something positive. Bad now means something that is good or more specifically a girl that looks good. There are a plethora of words that have changed meaning and I feel that Locke’s argument on the imperfection of words will always stand as true.

Work Cited
 Locke, John. From An Essay Concerning Human Understanig.” The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to The Present, Second Edition. Ed. Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg. New York: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2001. 814-827.

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