Tag Archives: wittgenstein

No such thing as a private language?

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Don’t get it twisted, I love Ludwig Wittgenstein, I think he was brilliant and misunderstood, but I disagree with him on the concept that there is no such thing as a private language, because language exists for the purpose of communicating with other people.  I thought I had misunderstood, or that somebody else had explained what he thought incorrectly.  Allow me to explain…

In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word, by definition, is freestanding. Every word comprises one or more morphemes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morpheme

Morphemes are the smallest units of language that contain data.  So if a unit of language contains data for me and nobody else that is a private language, even though it might be very small.  So, If I can prove that a language exists that only communicates data to me and for me, that nobody else can communicate or understand his argument is invalid and a private language exists.  Enter the evidence:

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Here is a picture of my shorthand, which has been evolving, I taught myself shorthand in one night and since then I have been slowly morphing it into my own shorthand, replacing symbols that do not remember me to myself with other figures that are more recollect-able.  I know that from the perspective of an outside party, even one that knows shorthand their will be in this symbols that communicate no data to them.  So unless one is willing to make the argument that since the person who wrote it is different from the person who reads it and remembers it, both being myself, but separated by time, my case stands.  This is actually a piece called The Highest Ineffable Tao that I wrote a while back.  https://thoughtuncommon.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/the-way-of-the-highest-ineffable-tao/

Furthermore, if you look at my dichotomy of analytical data verses emotional data, you will realize that when Michael Jackson names his son “Blanket” that name sounds strange to just about everybody, but it communicates emotional data to himself because the word has a positive emotional association for him.  So it has data for him that is not readily transmittable to everybody else.  So you see private languages do exist. http://terminclature.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/emotional-data-definition-by-joxuashivah/

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Hidden Subjects in Communication

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In conversation there are more dimensions than most people acknowledge.  In order to understand what is being said you have to understand the person speaking, the person they are speaking to, the message, the import of the message, the meaning of the message, and the content of the message, you also have to understand the presuppositions of the time period, which means what dilemmas and debates were going on at that time and what correlations and presuppositions were accepted.  For example When Cicero said, “Cedante Arma Togae.”  he was referring to the fact that the toga was the garment of peace and reason.  An association that is not commonly understood today.  

Of course it is much easier to understand a  conversation when you are involved in it.  New complications arise and new dimensions arise when you are trying to understand a conversation between two people other than yourself. 

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Wittgenstein said, “meaning is use.”  which means that the person speaking knows what they are saying and the person listening can’t falsify him by misunderstanding what the person speaking is saying. 

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Marshall Mcluhan meant that the medium through which the message is communicated itself communicates data and a certain type of relationship.  Did I call you?  or did I tweet?  or did I post it on my status?  did I post it on your wall?  did I private message you?  did I skype you?  Each medium of communication edits its privacy and intimacy differently.