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Forums > Social Discussion > Jumping to conclusions vs. asking for clarification

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NYC


NYC

NYC
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Posted:It seems to me that all internet discussions seem to have a similar flaw. Since there are only a finite number of words within a post, people will tend to put words in them that are not there. I'm finding a bit of an epidemic recently in both bulletin boards as well as email conversations.

I'm not talking of any particular moments, people, or situations. It just seems that people are more interested in throwing knockout punches than understanding who or what they're fighting.

People tend to react emotionally (as is being discussed in Ben's thread) but also, people are reacting to nonexistent assumptions.

It seems that all too often, a statement like:
"I like apples."

Is being met with:
"What's wrong with oranges?"
or
"You have no proof that apples are any better than any other fruit unless you can site proven research posted elsewhere on the internet."
or
"My grandmother died 13 months after eating an apple you [censored]."
or
"Since apples are the only thing you like you must live in a very lonely hollow world."
or
"You are brainwashed by the apple industry and I pity your ignorance of the way things really work."
or
"Your constant fascist anti-pear propaganda makes you worse than Hitler."
{OK, I'm exaggerating a bit... but I think some of these may sound more familiar than we'd like to admit. wink }

Rather than:
"How do you feel about oranges?"
"What makes you like apples?"
"I've never really liked apples, can you explain what context you've enjoyed apples the most so that I may understand?"

If there is a grey area, people tend to fill it in with whatever fills their personal or political agenda rather than asking followup questions to clarify the grey. It's way easier to ask a simple clarifying question than spending pages attacking only to find that you never really understood the person's point in the first place.

The most dangerous and irresponsible words to add to someone ELSE'S argument are words like "always" "never" "worst" "best" if they were not originally there. It's not only annoying, it's unethical.

And it's certainly rude and infuriating to purposely change someone else's argument just to prove your own. Obviously, misunderstandings will occur, but when they do, it's best to clarify first rather than just punch your way out. If I find someone's argument interesting but unclear in the future, I'll try to get clarification from them before jumping to conclusions.

I hope that others will do the same.


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Yes, let's go.
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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

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Posted:no, the type of extrapolation i think we should avoid is:

"plants die.
people die.

==> people are plants."

i think what you were describing was taking a fundamental part of an argument and arguing against just that - that is perfectly acceptable imho.

extrapolation means taking one statement and extending it (possibly beyond what can be reasonably presupposed).
of course, we all do this naturally and need to if we are ever going to communicate in anything less than book-sized posts!
but its a fine line and is one i (and just about everyone else) find hard to keep on the right side of (see the example at the end of this post).


regarding the type of method of argument you were describing fairy, if we are in a discussion and you would like to argue against just a small part of what i am saying, you should be very certain that what you are arguing against was not just implied by the author (or presupposed by you) but was actually stated.

my attempts to do this usually result in me quoting things a lot smile

if you are going to argue against something, go back and quote the exact statement you are arguing against and if it does not appear exactly as it does in your head, ask for clarification before going on to offer counter opinions.


and on a similar note to the first part of my post, just because the examples i gave don't create those suggestions in your head fairy, doesn't mean that it won't in lots of other people's - we all think differently and how we think is directly related to how we interpret something.

to you, my '"beautiful apple" thread' example suggeted:

Written by: fnf

that nobody who has yet contributed has liked red apples most, or that they had forgotten about red apples.



but to others, it may suggest:

Written by: someone that doesn't think in the same way as you do

that green apples are undesirable/not liked.
if the thread is about all the apples that are beautiful, and green apples are beautiful, why would they not have been mentioned at all, by anyone?
ah, maybe because they 'forgot about red apples' you say - well 'forgetting' about them isn't something you would do if you truly thought they were beautiful is it?
and if you can't be bothered to post about them then either you don't really care about apples or that green apples are not so beautiful that they make you want to mention them as red apples obviously do.




ya get me? smile


cole. x


example on presupposition and why it is hard/impossible to not do it at all:

if i say "prior to going shopping, i realised i had run out of petrol" which (if any) of the following statements it reasonable to presuppose?

i went shopping.
i have a car or other petrol powered vehicle that i rely on to get around?
i got more petrol before i went shopping/i used an alternative form of transport to get to the shops.


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:All of them? Otherwise it wouldn't read "prior to going shopping" - because that means that you went shopping. No?



I think I understand the beautiful apple thing now - thank you smile I guess i find it hard to understand that people will see the negative first - though when you put it so simply I accept it fully. hug

(even though I think you got red and green the wrong way round for most of it wink )



(edited for spelling - oops!)

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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

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Posted:if i say "prior to going shopping, i ran out of petrol" it means only one thing - that i ran out of petrol.

but because of the context i put it in, you end up with all these extra bits of information that are not really there...



maybe the full story was something like:



"prior to going shopping, i realised i had run out of petrol.

but i had to cut my grass before i went to the shops.

the petrol station closest to me was shut and so instead of go looking for another one, i borrowed my neighbour's electric lawnmower which is far less efficient.

by the time i finished the lawn, the shops had all shut."



in which case all of your presuppositions are false, even though the first statement holds true.



is it now safe to presuppose that i own a petrol lawnmower or that i was even going to use it to cut the lawn at all...?





see what i mean about it being extremely hard not to do... ubbangel





cole. x

EDITED_BY: coleman (1116273261)


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:nope. I don't think so. You still went shopping. But the shops were shut. For there to be a 'prior to going shopping' there has to be a 'going shopping' for it to be prior to.

Or is there really no spoon? ubbloco

That makes the first correct.

The others - yes - I understand - I think - ish!

btw, cos I'm on a grammatical mission at the moment 'to not do' is a split infinitive - 'not to do' reads much better smile


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NYC


NYC

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Posted:The fairy speaketh the truth.

I don't think it's correct to say "Prior to going shopping X... but I did not end up going shopping because they were shut."

Prior to ATTEMPTING to go shopping, sure, but you can't have a before if you don't have an after.

Then again, leaving out key portions of the story on PURPOSE is misleading.

But asking clarifying questions hopefully eliminates the need to get pencil and paper to suss out the logic problems.

biggrin


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:hug - for many reasons smile

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UCOF
SILVER Member since Apr 2002

UCOF

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Posted:"I get the feeling that they're looking for some kind of middle ground ie they find 'discussion' a bit too serious, yet they still come here, perhaps suggesting that they're starting to find the high level of inanity in 'chat' a bit dull?"
smile

Yep.

"Perhaps we need a third 'social' board for semi-serious discussion? "
I reckon the new forum should be called "games" and have all the stupidly large threads in.

And the problem about having a semi serious forum is that people like me wouldnt know where to post a thread.
If a topic was posted twice, one of which it was ok to post silly/ funny/ unfunny comments in, and one for no silliness at all, then the threads would quickly become different.
I think its a bit pointless having duplicate threads anyway.

and Cole...I agree with the others.... smile

offtopic...but relvent... what does that prove?


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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

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Posted:Written by: NYC


Then again, leaving out key portions of the story on PURPOSE is misleading.



But asking clarifying questions hopefully eliminates the need to get pencil and paper to suss out the logic problems.





exactly - that is precisely what i'm on about and i thought is what the thread is about biggrin



misleading language can create the impression of something that is not actually there.

it is a trick and when we are emotive we end up doing things like this (conciously or no) to try to get our point understood better/get people to see things our way.



there only has to be the intention of going to the shops for there to be a 'prior to'.



what you have made is a presupposition of time, that if i say 'prior to doing X' it forces you to think that i did X later when that may not actually be the case.



'going shopping' is only something i might have done before i realised i had run out of petrol.

using the sentence "prior to going shopping i ran out of petrol" by itself, pushes the idea that i did go shopping onto you.



it may be gramatically incorrect but unless you are claiming that everyone in social discussion uses perfect english that doesn't really matter.

by using 'prior to' in this way, i can give an answer that sounds like it suggests something that it does not.



consider another example...



say you ask me "did you go to sleep last night?"



to answer you directly i could say:

"prior to going to sleep last night i was violently sick but the taste stayed in my mouth and it kept me awake all night."



the first part of the sentence presupposes that i went to sleep and the second part of the sentence actually tells you what happened.



if i were trying to avoid answering the question, i can use the way i answer to create the presuppotion that i did sleep and i would do that by only giving you the first part of the sentence.



if it were to my advantage that you think that i did sleep last night, i would only use the first part until you asked for clarification/direct confirmation of whether or not i slept.

at which point i could give you the second sentence or, as would be more likely if my intention was to keep up the illusion that i slept, give you another answer that presupposes i slept but doesn't actually say i did, e.g. "well, before i went back to bed i cleaned my teeth at least three times."





by the way, i edited my last post and removed the split infinitive and i'll try very hard to to not do it again wink





cole. x


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:ok - you edited it after tongue



Also:



Prior - existing or coming before in time, order or importance

(from my best friend the dictionary)



If it comes 'before' in time, then there has to be something it comes before. Which is the action itself. It IS gramatically incorrect. The direct answer you give in the second example is incorrect and inaccurate not because of presupposition but because it is wrong.



"Prior to doing X" does not force me to think you did X. You have to have done X to be speaking about something you did before it.


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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

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Posted:that is correct fairy and is a very concise description of what a presupposition does.



using presupposition is "using ambiguous language to suggest something exists without actually saying directly that it does".



my examples are the most extreme of cases but there are many more subtle ways to introduce presupposition into your language.



unless you are insisting that correct grammar is used throughout a discussion on hop then language like this will occur (intentionally or not) and you will see people use it in order to get their point across better (not necessarily with time but with anything).



the only thing in english that tells you i did something is the sentence "i did X".



saying anything else can always be defended by saying "where did i say that, come on, quote me!"



like in the sleep example, until i say "i didn't sleep" i can defend myself by saying that you assumed i had slept and didn't bother asking for further clarification.



so, like i said before (when i was agreeing with you all, as i still am!):



Written by: mefrombefore


if we are in a discussion and you would like to argue against just a small part of what i am saying, you should be very certain that what you are arguing against was not just implied by the author (or presupposed by you) but was actually stated.

...

if you are going to argue against something, go back and quote the exact statement you are arguing against and if it does not appear exactly as it does in your head, ask for clarification before going on to offer counter opinions.







the shopping and sleeping asides were just extreme examples of how language can create the type of problems we were discussing i.e. how saying "i like apples" is unambiguous but saying things that only presuppose that i like apples is ambiguous and can lead to the creation of different presuppositions for different people.





cole. x



p.s. there's another grammatical error in by me up there: "i did sleep" should be "i slept" but i'll leave that one in smile

EDITED_BY: coleman (1116276949)


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:I am not disagreeing with you either cole hug (as we both know) just being confused and trying to clarify.

I don't expect everyone to be as obsessed/familiar with correct grammar as I am. I am willing to ask for clarification where needed. I think it is sensible thet everyone be advised to do the same, particularly if they become personally involved/affected by the discussions here.

However, the whole presupposition thing still baffles me. In all the examples above, the presupposition HAS to be correct or the sentances would be wrong. So surely it's not any sort of supposition, just reading what is there?

Person X says "prior to going to sleep last night" without giving all the information.
Person Y replies 'presupposing' (or 'reading with correct grammar') that person X has slept.
Person X retorts "where did I say that?"

In the case of this disagreement there are then two options.
1) Person Y is right. If Person Y shows this to Person X then Person X can say - ok, that's not what I meant.......
2) ......or can continue to argue it although they have made a mistake.

In which case you ignore them as they are not thinking rationally.

?


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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:there is no presupposition confused

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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

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Posted:sorry - this took a while... hug



it has become a bit confusing because we seem to have honed in on the most extreme examples of presupposition (the times clauses grammar trick) which are both intentional and extreme uses.



the liberties taken with the language in order to make the examples misleading are so extreme, they can easily be shown to be grammatically incorrect.



like you said, many people are less obsessed with grammar than you and it is good that we have looked at these, the most extreme examples, so that everyone can see what is being done with the words.





when we look at normal, everyday language, we see less obvious presuppositions occurring (very often unintentionally) like in my very first example:



if i say "prior to going shopping, i realised i had run out of petrol" which (if any) of the following statements do you presuppose?



i went shopping.

i have a car or other petrol powered vehicle that i rely on to get around?

i got more petrol before i went shopping/i used an alternative form of transport to get to the shops.




to which you said all of them.



so, for you, the presupposition was that i have a car and used it to go shopping after i got petrol.

some parts are maybe less certain for you than others depending on how much you personally read into my statement.



now, say we were having a discussion and you didnt agree with me using a car to go to the shops for some reason.



you may begin to argue, based on what you might consider to be an obvious and unambiguous implication, that i dont think you should be using a car to go shopping in anyway, to which i could then retort with something like i didnt say that i used my car, nor that i even have a car! stop arguing against things i never even said!





the fairly subtle (and very likely badly described wink) point i am trying to get across is that with language one creates implied meanings to save time.



often, these implied meanings are perhaps slightly grammatically incorrect or, like you said, are correct but perceived not to be by a reader that does not understand the subtleties of the english language - which is just about everyone i'd say smile



whichever, in each case, they are ambiguous and as such, imply X to a particular person but dont to another (in some cases to another it might even imply Y, something entirely different).



i.e. ambiguity in language creates different presuppositions for different people.



so, like were all saying, whenever we catch ourselves taking an implied meaning and arguing against it, we should check ourselves and instead confirm first that the implied meaning we perceive is as the author intended.



and preferably we would not do this with a sentence of the form so what you are saying is ?!???!! wink





cole. x

EDITED_BY: coleman (1116280616)


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:Ok.



I will leave this now. I'm not deliberately picking holes or missing the point. I just don't think 'presupposition' exists in the contexts in which you have illustrated it here.



I will explain if you like, though maybe by PM so as not to clutter this up any more ubblol I promise it will not result in you feeling like you've been banging your head against a fairy-shaped wall!



Deliberate use of ambiguous language is as irritating as arguing against a wrongly percieved point. As long as people can see where they are/were intentionally or unintentionally misleading or being mislead, or are open to being shown where this is the case, then things should flow smoothly enough. However not everyone is going to be able to, and it can merely be encouraged by threads such as these.



ubbrollsmile (which I think is what was being said anyway without all the grammatical mumbo-jumbo) wink


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coleman
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coleman

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Posted:ok.

seems i am describing this concept very badly (probably because i know so little about it).

it concerns communication through language and how it works from a base level right up to the highest level.

a better description of presupposition might be "the communicated creation of an idea" - but then again, it might not be a better description tongue


presupposition occurs whenever you communicate something and the context with which that applies to the subject of this thread is when the presuppositions created differ between people.


Written by: fluffy napalm fairy

As long as people can see where they are/were intentionally or unintentionally misleading or being mislead, or are open to being shown where this is the case, then things should flow smoothly enough. However not everyone is going to be able to, and it can merely be encouraged by threads such as these.



that is true and does often happen but unfortunately, because of different ways of reading posts, sometimes people do not see that what they wrote was 'misleading' (not misleading as such - more subtly ambiguous).

the problem is that a word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, thread can communicate to two different people, what seems to each to be an unambiguous idea.
yet those 'unambiguous ideas' can be very different and, since the processes which create them are often unperceived, it takes a very observant and impartial person to be able to take the step back and see exactly where it is that they were 'misled' (or 'where the ambiguity occurs/where the difference in presupposition occurs').

that's not any clearer is it frown

okay, i'll stop talking about it.
maybe when i see ya next, we can talk about these ideas more? smile

hug2


cole. x


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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bluecat


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Posted:aaah cole you make me laugh so much! ubblol

*totally ignores presupposition discussion reply and rolls all over the ground giggling until fur is dirty*


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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:yes yes yes that aspect of what you are saying has been clear all along. (Sorry if I haven't made that known...) wink I do understand what you are saying about unintentional ambiguity and peoples interpretations of one thing being different from a) each other's and b) how it may have been originally intended.



However I still do not think that it has anything to do with presupposition, or a 'communicated creation of an idea' which I also conceptually grasp (I think).



It simply has to do with people being unable to accept when they may (intentionally or unintentionally) have been ambiguous or misinterpreted something. And that's just rationality and character. Methinks.



hug cos you have tried so hard! ubbrollsmile



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:*sweeps the mog under the carpet til it can get itself together* tongue

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bluecat


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Posted:(incidentally, my laughter was at some of coles earlier posts, not the last and rather thoughtful one, it's just i was reading while he was posting)

pulled together now.(but still chortling)

can i listen when you're having this discussion in person? cause i don't think i can add in stuff now without it being
a)ambiguous
or
b)redundant
or
c)silly

R


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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

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Posted:Written by: fluffy napalm fairy


It simply has to do with people being unable to accept when they may (intentionally or unintentionally) have been ambiguous or misinterpreted something. And that's just rationality and character. Methinks.







okay, i agree with that.



but that can only happen once someone (on either side) notices 'where the difference in presupposition occurs' (which is the same thing as 'where the ambiguity occurs').



i am trying to say that often, arguments get very heated and in-depth before either side realises where the difference in interpretation has occurred.



if it is recognised by someone (either those involved or a third party), we are in the situation you described above - i.e. if both parties accept there was a difference in interpretation then the problem is resolved and the main point of discussion can be continued.



whereas if someone does not accept that the language was ambiguous (whether due to their character, rationality, grasp of the english language or just plain in the way they interpret language/express themselves) then we get an argument over the semantics of what was said and the argument veers away from the main point.



noticing where language can be seen as ambiguous (i.e. anywhere where a difference in interpretation occurs) can get extremely complex, especially when we are looking at a whole collection of posts and what they, as a whole, imply.



want an example where it was pointed out and yet people refused to believe that there was any ambiguity at all?

i think you know one already fairy smile

... (the much alluded to 'apples' thread) ...





one of my main reasons for looking into nlp is because i was accused of using 'linguistic tricks' to win sway (or more accurately, to unfairly challenge the validity of a point) in an argument.



when i was accused of this, i realised that my language might have suggested something other than what i had intended, but i was accused of actually doing it intentionally and as such, needed to both defend myself and subsequently spend a long time clarifying my earlier point using less ambiguous language.



since someone had thought i was intentioanlly being misleading, i realised that i could very possibly have communicated my point better in the first place.



so, to help myself avoid using language that created these problems in future, i sought out to find what linguistic tricks i had been accused of using and to understand how they work so that i could avoid (or take advantage of devil wink) them in future discussions.





Written by: fluffy napalm fairy


hug cos you have tried so hard! ubbrollsmile



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx





hug2 and thank-you for reading the muddlings of a coleman.



honestly, i wasn't trying to be confusing - i just naturally do it wink





cole. x


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

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Posted:Yes and no ubblol - and I think I'll leave it at that for now because I understand what you are saying and know why you are saying it, and agree with it, yet still think that although it is admirable and positive that you are trying to make yourself clearer not everyone will realize that this needs to be donw. Hence it simply coming down to what I term 'character and rationality'. This applies if nobody sees the ambiguity, if everyone sees it, or if one party sees it.

This is communication. It is open to interpretation. It is necessary to realise that. (I know, Cole, that you do). The inability/unwillingness to realise this is indeed the cause of many a heated debate where there is often no need for one. The subsequent clarification, if there is any, needs to be addressed as such and not automatically deemed 'picking holes'. It is more often than not it is this negative attitude that perpetuates the argument, not what is actually being said by either party or the fact that they misunderstood each other.

I feel like I'm in an English Language Exam wink biggrin

hug2


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Gnor
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Gnor

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Posted:Written by:
I would also like to add that I think sometimes people takes posts as being a personal attack against them...i.e. person B replies to something person A said. Person B just meant it as a comment or addition to the discussion, but person A took the post as a personnal attack on them.




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Is it the Truth?
Is it Fair to all concerned?
Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

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Sethis
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Posted:Semantics! It's all semantics!! AAAARHHGGGHH!!!

Oh, and I find the reason why people mis-interpret what other people say is because (no matter how many smilies you use) you can't see their facial expressions or tone of voice. Some research got done a while back (i forget when) that said that about 85% of our communication is through body language and tone of voice, rather than the words we use.

On that topic, I like Granny Smiths myself. And Mango rocks...


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NYC


NYC

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Posted:Actually Cole, I think sometimes I feel underminded by having my logic critiqued rather than my point.

I'm all for logic, I mean I am a mock scientist, but there is a big picture arguement here as well.

I guess that's where it goes back to asking for clarification.

"Actually, looking at evidence A, B, and C, you techically did not have to have gone shopping and therefore........"

could easily be softened by:

"Did you actually get any shopping done?"

Especially in the context of discussions that are meaningful.

If I posted "I'm sad that I didn't tell my grandmother how much I loved her before she died."

and was met with:

"Well, technically, you never said that she did die and, acording to your language usage, she might technically still be alive and maybe you wrote it in a letter or an email every day and didn't TELL her and maybe she was deaf and it would have been offensive to say it outloud..."

It tends to feel a bit unfreindly.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay

Total posts: 7330
Posted:i prefer royal gala to any other type of apple.



but since this is social discussion i will post this link to agree with sethis and add that statistics

should always be questioned
smile





edit for nyc:



i think you are agreeing with what i said when i pointed out the difference between "politely asking for clarification before launching into an argument based on presuppositions" and "accusing someone of misleading".

which i said in agreement with your first post.





as for your example, i think differing presuppositions causing a problem like the one you describe above would more likely have come out from the opposite side (see end of post for an aside on why i think this).



what you have done in your example is point out every possible presupposition in a pretty unambiguous sentence (i.e. taken the theory to the very extreme as i did in my examples of what presupposition is).



there are many instances in language where what a particular statement presupposes to one person, does not reasonably presuppose it for another.



the skill we as members of a serious discussion board need to strive towards is recognising those fine line differences in inferred meanings and try to be more clear in the first instance or be wary when we argue against one.



so, like i said, when we check for clarification, we need to be sensible and measured.

"so what you are saying is ... ?!???!!" is not an appropriate method of clarifying a statement.

pointing out every possible presupposition that your statement could have implied is just as inflammatory and i was never suggesting that people do that either.

something like "it appears to me that although your statement does not say it directly, that it suggests x. please correct me and clarify if this

not what you meant."





in the context of your granny example before going off (on the basis of the presupposition that an expression of regret infers a missed chance rather than something that may have not been possible), you should ask something like "did you ever get the chance to tell your grandmother that you loved her before she died. your statement suggests to me that you missed your chance to tell her - is this the case?"





i really don't want to type any more on this subject - i've spent a lot of time explaining something that i have a small amount of knowledge of and which is part of an extremely complex field.



i just wanted to describe the problems caused by the fact that a sentence as outright as "i like apples" is extremely rare on a discussion board like this.

inferred meanings are used all over the place, otherwise complex discussions would be impossible.



i think noticing where these imlied meanings occur in our own language and trying to rephrase so as to be more unambiguous is as big a responsibility as not going off on one when you see an implied meaning that you take offence to.



i may be completely wrong and these problems could all be down to 'people not reading posts properly' or doing the reverse logic thing (plants die. people die => plants are people).

if that is the case i guess when it happens we should just keep shouting "READ ALL OF MY POSTS NUMBNUTS" until the person that got the wrong ideas from our writings reads the same inferred meanings as we intended and hence comes round to (or at least properly undertsands) our point of view... rolleyes wink



nyc - you said in your first post "it seems to me that all internet discussions seem to have a similar flaw. since there are only a finite number of words within a post, people will tend to put words in them that are not there."

this is not a flaw of internet discussion boards exclusively - it is a consequence of the use of written language and further, all communication through the use of a language.



as you have rightly pointed out, if we do not accept reasonable presupposition in what we read, we would have to ask the kind of questions you came up with in your granny example.



so the question for me is, "how does one define what is reasonable to infer/presuppose from a statement and what is not?"



and although there are many obvious reasonable suppositions like the ones in your granny examples and the ones inferred by the use of the word prior in mine, the the answer is ultimately "it is different for each person."





cole. x





aside on the granny example in the context of the first post



i.e. after your statement about your grandmother, someone might say might something like "its all very well being sad now, but if you really loved her, you would have made the effort when you had the chance".



this comment would be based on the presupposition that you expressed a regret which implied that it was within your power to have done something differently prior to her death.



compared to the presupposition that your grandmother is dead, this may seem tenuous but it is something i see examples of all over the board.

everyone of the sample 'crazy replies' to i like apples in your first post is an example of presuppositions that seem unreasonable to you but are reasonable to the person that perceived them.



you might then come back with something like, "excuse me but my grandmother lived 450 miles away and died when i was only six years old - how exactly was i supposed to have told her? and i don't appreciate your accusation that i didn't love her :angryness:".



cue heated argument over a presupposition that seems reasonable to one but not to another.

notice that the presupposition that she is dead is common to both parties but this one is not.

EDITED_BY: coleman (1116337537)


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:I like the NLP site. It is however screwing with my revision. Can you please remind me of it at Falmouth so I can learn more over the summer when I'm not supposed to be ingesting stratigraphical successesions? Mucho thank-you's in advance.....

Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast

Total posts: 5967
Posted:I understand the arguments and it would be lovely if everyone could read the posts and write in such a way that was clear and concise.



I don't think that's going to happen though. Not through the fault of anyone, but just because you can't predict a person's mood, quality of computer and daily circumstances - all of which have to be considered. You also can't tell people how to write.



It is unfortunate that people get agitated or hurt on this board - maybe we're all taking it a little bit too seriously and should just go outside and play.



Apologies for anyone who that that was trivial. But in my head, it's a valid point.



However, on second thoughts... perhaps this thread has moved further away from it's original point than I thought. shrug


Getting to the other side smile

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:Written by:
Actually Cole, I think sometimes I feel underminded by having my logic critiqued rather than my point.



ubbangel - If this 'logic critique' was seen as 'asking for clarification' , and indeed phrased as 'asking for clarification' and not 'picking apart', then things would be more peaceful.

(disclaimer - I don't know the particular context to which you are referring but I guess it has something to do with children and fire. This comment is not aimed at that, just a general one).


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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coleman
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

coleman

big and good and broken
Location: lunn dunn, yoo kay

Total posts: 7330
Posted:smile



that's what i should have said.



instead, i was trying to explain the processes which result in the offensive/defensive attitudes of reader/author that nyc described in his first post.



and i was also trying to say that the first post is a gross oversimplification of what actually occurs.



but i messed it all up and got everyone confused whilst ranting about language patterning rolleyes



sorry! ubbangel





cole. x



grouphug

EDITED_BY: coleman (1116340648)


"i see you at 'dis cafe.
i come to 'dis cafe quite a lot myself.
they do porridge."
- tim westwood

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fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:ubblol But that's what I have said about four times in this thread!!

I figured if I repeated it enough in different words then it would get though. Though I've had a very interesting journey on the way - thanks man hug


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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