Re: language and relationship

Robert Parks (
Sat, 22 Mar 1997 21:00:27 -0500

Thanks Tim,
You said:
>My concern was principally with terminology. We do indeed live in
>"systems of meaning", all of which can to some extent be metaphorically
>described as "language"; my concern is that such broad use of the term
>"language" directs our attention away from important and useful
>distinctions between such systems, of which language (narrowly defined) is
>only one.

Well put, Tim. Thats an interesting methodological point. What sort of
terminology would allow us to coordinate these "broad" and "narrow"
meanings ot language? Any suggestion?

Perhaps there is another reason for keeping the terminological distinction,
once the basic point is made that human meaning processes are constructive
and social. That is, it appears that distinctive human potential can be
realized in langugage - such as poetry and politics. (I teach political
science.) Poetry can be seen as the symbolization of intimate experience,
while politics can be seen as the symbolization of public life. Thus,
attempts to look at "feeling" or other sentiments as being prior to and
more basic than reason are characteristic of fascist and other
irrationalist ideologies. It seems to me important to keep the link between
feeling and reason through language, as well as keeping the distinctive
role of language in formulating, articulating, expressing and linking both
reason and feeling.