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The Dependence of Language on Consciousness

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Abstract:

The first hurdle to overcome in approaching the complex topic of the relation between language and consciousness is terminology. So let me begin, in good philosophical style, by explaining the senses in which I use the three lexical terms in the title. Luckily I need not explain those of the three grammatical words the, of, and on: there is probably a minor library of semantic literature devoted to that. I need not, since I both know their meanings pre-theoretically, and know that my readers, as users of English, know them. The significance of this simple fact concerning the meaning of all everyday words, in everyday constructs, is something that I will return to, since it plays a central role in the argument in Section 2. However, with abstract, theoretically loaded nominalizations such as dependence, language, and most of all consciousness, we need to beware since we cannot assume common knowledge -- myriads of misunderstandings arise since we mean somewhat different 'things' by them. I start with the easiest, by which I mean specifically 'dependence of language on consciousness', explaining only afterward what I mean by the latter terms. I ask the reader to bear this (non-vicious) circularity with me.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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