March 15, 2017

Language as an abstraction

One reason we are ahead of other species is language. Language is a major abstraction we're operating on. Abstractions prevent us from repeating ourselves. There is no need to point to a ball every time you want to mention it. We just invented the word 'ball' and use that. After a while, we use it for most objects with a shape similar to the original meaning of 'ball'. The definition keeps changing, getting blurry, and arbitrary. Now we can't pin down a word to any concrete definition. A word doesn't mean anything without context Actually, there's no need to get exact meaning anyway since the ultimate goal of communication is just to successfully transfer meaning to another person's brain (which similarly operates without any concrete meaning).