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Is This Right?

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on April 5, 2001 14:52:08 UTC

John,

The correct answer is, of course, pick what ever you want for the context of your communication and agree on it. Then "truck on"!

What bothers me is that you end your post with such a question. The question itself implies there is a "correct" answer. You have been sucked into the proposition that words have meaning in and of themselves. It is my opinion that the inability of most people to get above this concept is at the root of most arguments.

Words are nothing more than tokens of communication; a shorthand, so to speak, for concepts you are trying to communicate. First of all, the party to whom you are attempting to communicate may have a totally different concept associated with the word you use. (This is even acceptable in many circumstances that is why we have the word "context".)

But there is an even greater danger in the idea that words have meaning. You came to understand what the word meant through your experiences and the concept that you have come to attach to it may not even exist in the mind of the party you are talking to.

Poor communication is source of most difficulties between people.

Have fun -- Dick

How come I've not heard from you?

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