The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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MORRIS                                    157
frequently as the most appropriate signs by which to elicit an appraisive or even a prescriptive response. This is habit with the scientist. And it is coming to be habit with the wrell-trained salesman.
Only systemic language of the type of logic and mathematics is "pure." We select formators, then, only to establish order. We are not otherwise concerned with the signs which are systematized.
36. The misuses of language: The pitfall of perfect
The myth of perfect communication traps all of us now and then. We assume that the same word signifies the same thing to everyone. We fail to remember that communication is a matter of degree.
Some think that education is at fault and that each word should be assigned one meaning, identical for all. Others think that we should abandon the big words and confine our use of signs to designators in the immediate environment. These antidotes are impossible of achievement, and perhaps even undesirable in our present state of civilization, as Morris indicates.
The hazard of approximate communication has been discussed before. As Ogden and Richards point out, the meaning of a symbol lies always partly in the psychological context of the user. This we know is a natural consequence of the uniqueness of the self.
The antidote prescribed by Ogden and Richards is to refer symbols outward to things, etc., thus to stabilize the communication process. For the differences are not in the thing symbolized; the differences are in the experiences of the users of symbols.