Praxis, Uncategorized

That’s Not What I Meant, The Meaning of Words

There is a common saying that actions speak louder than words. That could be true considering there are common disagreements on what words truly mean and how we use them in our lives. It seems, like most things, words are subjective material.

In an article by Paul Graham called, “How To Do Philosophy”, he discusses how there are a lot of confusions on communication stemming from self acknowledgement and why we use the terminology we do. This transposes into philosophical discussions because individuals tend to base arguments off of their own perspective. Therefore, since language is individualized we have a hard time agreeing what the “right” answer is in philosophical debates.

He states:

“Do we have free will? Depends what you mean by “free.” Do abstract ideas exist? Depends what you mean by ‘exist.’…Wittgenstein is popularly credited with the idea that most philosophical controversies are due to confusions over language.”

So the question remains, how can we justify another’s argument if definitions are subjective? Here is where philosopher’s run into some problems. Are solutions based off of quantity of similar answers? Are solutions based off of ethics of renowned scientists? Where is the line drawn?

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