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John Locke and the meaning of words

(4 Posts)
AssignedPerfectAtBirth Tue 10-Oct-17 09:29:37

Have been greatly irritated about the abuse of language bt the TRAs for some time and so have been reading again John Locke, whose theories are the basis on which the US Constitution is written and is known as the 'Father of Liberalism' said about words and the use/misuse of them. Some quotes:

I say, that the use of words were made plain and direct; and that language, which was given us for the improvement of knowledge and bond of society, should not be employed to darken truth and unsettle people's rights; to raise mists, and render unintelligible both morality and religion?

"He that hath names without ideas, wants meaning in his words, and speaks only empty sounds. He that hath complex ideas without names for them, wants liberty and dispatch in his expressions, and is necessitated to use periphrases. He that uses his words loosely and unsteadily will either be not minded or not understood. He that applies his names to ideas different from their common use, wants propriety in his language, and speaks gibberish. And he that hath the ideas of substances disagreeing with the real existence of things, so far wants the materials of true knowledge in his understanding, and hath instead thereof chimeras. "


"He that hath words of any language, without distinct ideas in his mind to which he applies them, does, so far as he uses them in discourse, only make a noise without any sense or signification; and how learned soever he may seem, by the use of hard words or learned terms, is not much more advanced thereby in knowledge, than he would be in learning, who had nothing in his study but the bare titles of books, without possessing the contents of them. For all such words, however put into discourse, according to the right construction of grammatical rules, or the harmony of well-turned periods, do yet amount to nothing but bare sounds, and nothing else."


"The ends of language: First, to convey our ideas. To conclude this consideration of the imperfection and abuse of language. The ends of language in our discourse with others being chiefly these three: First, to make known one man's thoughts or ideas to another; Secondly, to do it with as much ease and quickness as possible; and, Thirdly, thereby to convey the knowledge of things: language is either abused of deficient, when it fails of any of these three."


"Words fail in the first of these ends, and lay not open one man's ideas to another's view: 1. When men have names in their mouths without any determinate ideas in their minds, whereof they are the signs: or, 2. When they apply the common received names of any language to ideas, to which the common use of that language does not apply them: or, 3. When they apply them very unsteadily, making them stand, now for one, and by and by for another idea. "


How did we get to the point, in our liberal democracies, that we are so comfortable abandoning the meaning of the words on which our society is based? What madness and folly is this? All the learned philosophers since time immemorial, who dedicated their lives to the improvement of human life and of society and of the meaning of life, death, God and country will surely be turning in their graves. I honestly despair sometimes, at the minds of our young people and their warped reasoning

I am wondering if this is an approach that we can use to challenge the trans agenda. Locke was not the only philosopher who put much weight on to the accuracy of language and its importance in society. Orwell is a bit overused I think. Thoughts, anyone?

DJBaggySmalls Tue 10-Oct-17 10:34:09

I think this is perfect. Critical thinking is the way to go.

BakerCandlestickmaker Tue 10-Oct-17 10:36:24

Marking as I'll read this when I've got bit of time.

Thank you very much op.

AssignedPerfectAtBirth Tue 10-Oct-17 11:14:31

This is my favourite

"He that applies his names to ideas different from their common use, wants propriety in his language, and speaks gibberish. "

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