From the philosophy of substance and cognition arrives John Lockes philosphy of language. Locke argues humans have an intellect that evolves heavly upon communication and use of language to advance our species. Ideas are the basis of all knowledge, words appropriately fit into
this category, subdivisions of ideas. However a large issue rest on the misreprestation of words therefore the misreprestation of ideas from individual to individual. Locke advises us to take percautions while using words, for misuse can retard science, communitaction and the entire human race.
Humans unlike any other species on Earth have a superior intilect allowing for supremacy above others animals. We understand immense vocabulary, technology and personal advancments. In order for such progression communication is a requirement. Ideas are passed in forms of words from one person to another person in hopes of relating ones concepts. It is to be noted, Locke states that words do not represent the physical object being spoken of, but the personal idea one gets from such a word. Communication then for Locke is being hindered. To think that a persons exact thought is being reconstituted in its exact form within another cannot occur. This is where Lockes argument lies, misreprestation and abuse of our words and therefore our every idea.
Locke remarks again, that words do not represent an exact physical object in your brain, it is rather reflection and relation to such a word or statement. Since every persons experience is not the same, our knowledge is not reflective of that, experienced by the communicator. Rather Locke argues “The use then of words, is to be sensible marks of ideas; and the ideas they stand for, are their proper and immediate signification.” . This statement of course is an objective for Locke and the world to use as the basis of communication. The word should be an immidiate and universally agreed upon idea for all.
Again Locke agrues, “[I]n all that great extent wherein the mind wanders, in those remote speculations, it may seem to be elevated with, it stirs not one jot beyond those ideas, which sense or reflection, have offered for its contemplation.” Ones Ideas must not run one fragment over which it is intended. This quote can correlate to Lockes thoughts on Nominal essences, we think of words more in abstract terms, colour, shape, texture. Using Nominal ideas attached to words is seen as harmful. Locke would rather us acknowledge words for a more persise universally understanding.
Philosopher Merleau-Ponty, Maurice writes “There is a general function of substitution and replacement which enables us to gain access to the abstract significance of experiences which we have not actually had, for example, to speak of what we have not seen.” For expample the term God, is a generally agreed upon idea, however the context of the idea will change from person to person. Locke uses this word “God” throughout his text, though every reader may intrept differently.
Locke again wrote “We are farther to consider concerning perception, that the ideas we receive by sensation, are often in grown people altered by the judgment, without our taking notice of it.” Although judgement, culture and previous knowledge will all effect how we preseve ideas. Locke suggests some solutions, a subject should never use a word without a lucid idea of its content, use words that correlate with your correspondents, define innuendos or ambiguous words, and the use of consistancy.
Locke acknowldges that humans and language have inherent flaws. His suggestions concerning language could lead to advancing knowledge and greatly better enhance our communication skill amoung human.