Lecture Three: Logic and Language
September 21, 2011
The Three Stages of Language
What is language?
Language is a vehicle of communication, either written, spoken or signed, to facilitate
communication among users.
Logic and Language
Logic is the study of argument or argumentative discourse.
Language consists of many types of discourse, only one of which is argumentative.
Stage One - The Poetic or Metaphorical
Many ancient civilizations used the use of poetry (often using metaphors)
Metaphors - to compare something to something completely different (similar to a simile,
but does not use “like” or “as”)
Metaphor is a way of thinking, speaking, or writing in which explicitly or implicitly
identifies one object to another of which it cannot be or is not.
Stage Two - The Conceptual
Concepts - intangible values such as justice, holiness, faith ect
Philosophy is conceptual.
Conceptual refers to things that must be thought about, rather than proven using
Usually questions start off with “What...”
Example: What is poverty? What is justice? Is justice the same as fairness?
Stage Three - The Informational (Descriptive)
This deals with questioning the empirical world and how it behaves. Informational language is the primary purpose of which is to convey correct descriptions
of states of affairs in the world.
Things that cannot be proven using empirical research do not fall in this category. It is
the most scientific out of the three stages.
Involves facts and making a provable link between two things.
Ambiguity and Vagueness
Ambiguity - a situation where a word, term or expression has several different meanings
which can be clarified given the context.
Vagueness - a situation where a word term is expression has several different meanings
which cannot be clarified given the context/
Example of Ambiguity
P1. Death is the end (point of termination) of life
P2. Whatever is the end (point of culmination) of something is its purpose
C. Death is the purpose of life
Example of Vagueness
1. Have a nice day (what exactly constitutes a “nice” day to you?)
2. This is a luxury condominium (“Luxury” actually means “filled with light”. What makes
a condominium “luxury” compared to other condos that may not be considered to be a