Augustine's Concept Of Communication

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The most common concept of communication in the contemporary world involves the
"transmission" of messages or information from one place to another.
While the transmission and interpretation of messages is, of course, an important function of communication, it is not the only or even the most important function. The tendency to identify communication with this single function is a relatively recent historical development, grounded in the cluster of ideas and practices that we call the
Enlightenment. The "success" of this idea of communication was heightened by its "fit" with the new technologies of communication such as the telegraph, telephone, and other technologies for sending messages from one place to another.
The term "communication"
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Another is to make some distinctions among various ideas of what we are doing when we communicate. For this purpose, let's distinguish among "naming," "using," and "calling."
♦ In his Confessions (I.8), Augustine developed a concept of language as naming things, and of communication as either agreeing or disagreeing about their names. He said, "as I heard words repeatedly used in their proper places in various sentences, I gradually learnt to understand what objects they signified; and after I had trained my mouth to form these signs, I used them to express my own desires."
♦ Wittgenstein used Augustine's concept as a foil in his Philosophical Investigations, and offered a contrasting idea of meaning as determined by its use: "the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life" (#23). There are countless kinds of sentences "and this multiplicity is not something fixed, given once for all; but new types of language, new language-games, as we might say, come into existence, and others become obsolete and get forgotten" (#23). We can imagine any number
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We are assigned a name and a place in a cluster of "conversations" that are already going on. Some of us will be assigned privileged positions as members of elite families or dominant classes, others the opposite.
It is not fair.
If we are "normal" infants, we will have a marvelous capacity to join into ongoing patterns of social interaction. We will learn to speak a language without studying it, just by being exposed to it. Our capacity for learning is so strong that we will lose the ability to pronounce phonemes that are not in the language that we hear spoken. As we grow older, we will learn to take our place within games and interaction patterns that we could not describe, and we will learn "our" place in them. We will come to believe that these patterns into which we were born are "natural" and "right."
Philosophy books are often written as if the primary question confronting us is "what do I know?" CMM starts at a different place, more consistent with Goethe's statement that "in the beginning, was the act." The primary question, in the grammar of CMM, is "what should I do?" and it is answered in the context of the game-like patterns of
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