Unsubstantiated Hypotheses

  • Concept resolution: when we hear a complex sentence, several distinct faculties/cognitive processes come into play.
  • One faculty/cognitive process is the verbal modeling faculty. This faculty is not used very much.It is used when we hear a very vague sentence and do not have an immediate concept and/or context to attach that sentence to. We attempt to search for concepts we have in our experience, and failing which, attempt to build permutations of concepts from existing ones based on relationships implied by the grammar, tone and context in which we encounter the sentence.
  • The other faculty is the analogous faculty. When this faculty is exercised, we have in our minds a strong, specific concept that we attach to the sentence. C.f. Saussure’s semiotics. When we exercise this faculty without conscious restraint, which is most of the time, since it is easy and intuitive and normal especially among friends, we tend to think of the sentence’s expression in terms of what we have experienced, attaching the sentence’s expression to a highly personal context. For people whose lives are extremely parallel, the implied context behind the sentence and the personal context of the listener are highly parallel and little further elaboration is required. For highly different lives, the listener will require a lot of elaboration in order to construct a sufficiently accurate model-concept of what the speaker is trying to express. Note that I use the word construct here. This means that the listener will have to exercise the aforementioned permutation faculty. Even so, the constructed concept lacks a lot of unexpressed context and is probably very different from what the speaker is trying to convey.
  • These two faculties are the foundation on which indirect learning is formed. Indirect learning is taken to mean the formation or modification of personal ideas and concepts that is performed not through direct, personal observation (with or without the employment of instruments or conceptual frameworks), but through received information, for example through speech or text.
  • When we read or speak, we perform simultaneously direct learning about the medium and the source of the message, and indirect learning about the message itself.
  • Individuals who are intimate with one another tend to have good, elaborate and accurate models of the contexts in each others’ minds. People who have such high-quality models tend to communicate efficiently, that is, when the speaker speaks little, often the listener is well aware of the meaning of the words, and when the speaker performs elaboration, often elaboration is required for the listener to understand the context. This can be contrasted with a speaker-listener relationship where the speaker knows little about what the listener does and does not know; the speaker will tend to provide unnecessary context and fail to provide necessary context if needed. In media where communication is asymmetric in effort, that is, where it is easy for a speaker to communicate to a listener but difficult for a listener to reply, or asymmetric in scale, that is, when the speaker is communicating to a plural audience, the good speaker will err on the side of unnecessary elaboration, providing as much context as is needed for a less-than-average Joe to construct sufficiently accurate models.
  • Highly specialized knowledge workers and trades often deal frequently with concepts with a highly complex, yet specialized context. By complex I mean that the context is sufficiently departed from regular everyday experience that to construct this context from regular experience will require a lot of experience, potentially months and years. By specialized I mean that the utility if this concept is very limited outside this trade/profession. Because of this, such people, when communicating to others of the same trade, often employ jargon in order to make communication sustainably efficient.

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