The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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the way one person interacts with others. And this is pertinent to our present goals.
There is an approach to the study of personality that has become commonplace in the biological sciences but has not yet1958 reached its full measure of usefulness in everyday experience. Gardner Murphy explicates this theory in his Personality, A Biosocial Approach. It is precisely the conception of personality that gives semantic theory its broadest application.
It is significant that Murphy speaks of the individual as a "personality in a field."
The personality in a field is described as one in which the self and the world flow into one another. There is no fixed boundary between them; if there is a separation at all, it is often 'Vague or non-existent." (page 5)
Murphy cast about for a word to describe this conception of the personality and settled on the word "field" which, he safs, is an acceptable term only if we remember that he uses it in the way it is used in physics:
In physics, an electromagnetic field "permits of no strict demarcation of a boundary and may change continually as a result of varying currents." (page 5)
I can think of no other language that would more adequately describe a communication process between living, changing, interacting human beings. You must remember that physicists were forced, before other scientists, to recognize the inseparability of electricity and magnetism. So fundamental is the connection between the two that physicists made one wordelectromagnetismto describe this process phenomenon. I point only to the fact that semantic devices are without value unless we understand