The Ontology of Language: What is a CONCEPT?
Some people have a tough time understanding what a concept is and what constitutes its underlying ontology. Atheists and Mathematicians are particularly known to attribute mysticism, magic and supernatural powers to concepts. They believe that concepts such as ENERGY, MASS, TIME, FIELD and FORCE are some type of mystical incorporeal entities in the Universe; akin to invisible souls or spirits. They specifically ascribe motion to concepts and have them perform phenomena in the Universe, like coming in contact with stars, planets and people, or even swallowing astronauts and clocks. These folks CANNOT tell you what these alleged entities are; they can’t visualize them or even describe them for you. But they will fight tooth & nail to get you to BELIEVE that their alleged conceptual “entities” are real, exist out there in the Universe and they directly affect our daily lives.
Fortunately, most people do understand that concepts are nothing but thought processes which are mediated by the atoms of our brain. Concepts are the fundamental building blocks of not just words, but of our intelligence. Concepts necessarily imply MEANING. You cannot refer to or even use a concept in its proper context without an explicit understanding of what it associates. Without concepts it becomes impossible to invent words and tautological systems, to imagine and visualize objects or to understand anything at all. Everything we understand comes from concepts, and concepts only!
This article will explain in detail what a concept is, why concepts don’t exist, how concepts define words, build languages, facilitate understanding and why they are the basis of our intelligence and a measure of our IQ.
WHAT IS THOUGHT?
Thought is ultimately rooted in the atomic activity of our brain. Atoms interact with each other via surface-to surface contact and signal transmission. But from a higher level of abstraction that we can directly relate to our experience, thought results from a process of mental identification and association. This is exactly what we do even for the most basic of thoughts. Just try to think of anything and attempt to mentally account for the source of that thought. You will realize that you are inevitably identifying entities and associating them. This whole process you’ve just performed is what we call conceptualization. The resulting mental construct or association from this process is what we call thought, idea or concept.
The primary purpose of concepts is for cognition, not for communication, as is usually assumed. Communication is merely the application of utility, not the primary purpose of conception. Cognition precedes communication; obviously, because the necessary precondition of communication is that we understand something before we communicate it, not only with words, but with other methods. By associating entities into concepts, we are able to organize, classify and generalize complex thoughts into simpler and therefore more easily usable cognitive units that take less brain activity to process.
The primary utility of concepts is to allow intelligent beings to understand and communicate their cognitive units to each other. Concepts are therefore used to build languages and to provide beings with a system of cognitive classification and organization, which enables them to acquire intelligence on an unlimited scale.
WHAT IS THE UNDERLYING FOUNDATION OF A CONCEPT?
Unlike images that we can visualize of real standalone entities, concepts cannot be visualized as discrete entities. Why? Because they are the result of atomic activity in the brain, not of standalone entities in our environment. Concepts are associative, they relate objects, and only result from thought. They can only be thought about or referenced by means of the name we assign them. The name is what we call a “word”. Words are labels for concepts; they label the explicit association between objects so the specific association can be referenced as a whole during communication.
Concepts lighten the load on memory and enhance our ability to communicate. For example, at the airport when asked what you have in your suitcase, you never answer with a detailed list of items: 2 jackets, 3 pairs of shoes, 4 T-shirts, pants, the Bible, The God Delusion, magazines, documents, and so forth. More likely your answer will be "clothes" and "reading material". This is an example of how we can use concepts to abstract individual related entities into categories.
Without a doubt, concepts are the underlying basis of all our thought processes. They are rooted in our ability to form languages, communicate and comprehend not just words, but complex abstractions which are invented on a daily basis. All words are first and foremost concepts of language, known as: lexical concepts. Furthermore, all words have an intrinsic ontological basis that can be resolved and grouped into two distinct categories: OBJECTS or CONCEPTS. We rationally justify this ontological basis in detail later; but first, we must understand the foundation of the word “concept”. And to do so, we need to define for our readers some key terms, specifically: object and concept.
Since we are using the word “object” as a KEY TERM which underlies the basis of our whole discussion, we had better be able to unambiguously define this term which makes or breaks our argument, right? Otherwise, how will the reader understand in no uncertain terms what we mean by object?
Please visit the following article to understand what an object is:
Intelligent beings are a direct product of their environment. Even their thoughts are a direct product of their environment because anything they think about has a relative reference to something else in their environment. There is no thought that can be conceived by any being (human, alien or even God) that can be declared as absolute; i.e. not in relation to something within the context of their environment.
Consider for example, the concept ‘up’. The instant you think of it you automatically associate it with the concept ‘down’ in reference to a surface and an observer. Thinking of the concept ‘running’ automatically associates a being that performs this action on a surface. The point of this is to understand that we can’t even conceive of any concept or imagine anything without referencing associations between objects. Those who disagree or those who believe in “absolutes” are welcome to post their reasoned argument in the comments section. The instant you conceive of any thought/idea, you have automatically invoked a minimum of 2 objects with some type of association between them - whether you realized it or not. Absolutes are impossible to conceive (and that’s why there is NO absolute truth).
HOW DO WE DEFINE "CONCEPT"?
Concepts are the thought associations we establish with entities in our environment for the purposes of:
a) Ascribing meaning to these associations.
b) Facilitating understanding.
c) Applying utility to these associations (i.e. language, math, logic, technology, business, etc.)
Before we formulate a rational and unambiguous definition for ‘concept’ that can be used consistently, let’s get a basic impression at what some popular dictionaries have to say. Note that we will not use a dictionary or reference for the purposes of forcing it down people’s throats as an Argument from Authority. Only those who can’t understand and justify their definitions and arguments commit such fallacies, right?
Oxford Dictionary: “An idea or mental image which corresponds to some distinct entity or class of entities.”
Webster Dictionary: “An abstract or generic idea generalized from particular instances.”
The Free Dictionary: “A general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences.”
They are pretty much on the right track but they need to clean up their painful ambiguities (i.e. Fallacy of Equivocation) and eliminate synonyms (i.e. rhetoric) to make their definitions crisp, clear and to the point. Like Einstein said: even a bar maid should be able to understand our definitions. Dictionaries are written by English graduate students and usually list definitions in quick & loose ordinary speech with ambiguity, rhetoric and inconsistency. Obviously we need to come up with a rational definition which can be understood by anyone, even a shoe shine boy.
Looking at the key terms in the definitions above, we can understand that a concept is a thought process (i.e. idea) that is dependent upon establishing an association between objects (i.e. entities, instances, occurrences). This is unavoidable. In fact, it is impossible to conceive of an idea which does not have any associations (i.e. corresponds, generalizes, infers) with some objects. And of course this makes sense because as humans, our thoughts and our words are a direct product of our natural environment (i.e. reality/existence) which only consists of objects.
As an example, when we invented the concept “surfing”, this notion tacitly associated the objects ‘water’, ‘surfboard’ and ‘human’ in a dynamic relation. These three objects are directly inter-related because each performs its own specific activity to collectively mediate this phenomenon we call “surfing”. Even though it may not be readily apparent to us, this is how people invent words in all languages. As concepts, words are nothing more than relations between specific objects which will convey our intended meaning.
Now that we have a clear understanding of what a concept is we have all the ammunition required to rationally define ‘concept’ in no ambiguous terms.
Concept: A relation between two or more objects. (Synonym: idea, thought, notion, cogitation, conception, conceit)
REMEMBER: All words are lexical concepts. What they reference may either be an object or a concept. The concept is our fundamental unit of understanding as this is the only way we can give meaning to the syntactic labels of language we call “words”. Furthermore, the concept is the fundamental unit of intelligence, as discussed later.
ALL CONCEPTS ARE DEFINED
Without concepts there are no thoughts or words, much less language. Any form of cognition or communication becomes impossible. Even sign-language (arm/hand movements), smoke signals (smoke patterns), Morse Code (audible sequences), caveman grunts (audible sequences), etc. are all based on concepts (i.e. relations between objects).
Q: Other than concepts, what do all the various modes of communication have in common?
A: MEANING! All concepts necessarily have meaning that is derived from the explicit relationship between the invoked objects.
Without the conveyance of MEANING, what would be the purpose of words, sign-language, smoke signals, Morse Code, cavemen grunts, etc? Would we do this stuff to please the gods? If so, they must have meaning then; it is inescapable! Even the word “concept” has a meaning.
Believe it or not, there are proponents of the claim that words don’t have and should not have any meaning whatsoever. No, it’s not just the patients in the asylum....I am talking about actual folks who are out there advertizing their ignorance in society and on the Internet. They don’t realize it, but their position is self-refuting because they used “words” to convey their expressive desired meaning to us. They can’t have it both ways. Regardless, a concept without meaning is an oxymoron and those who perpetuate such nonsense are obviously morons. I see some people laughing, but please.... have some respect and political correctness for these simple-minded ignoramuses; nobody deserves to be ridiculed for no legitimate reason.
Since all concepts convey meaning, it goes without saying that concepts must be defined in no ambiguous terms. Words with multiple meanings are committing one of the Fallacies of Ambiguity, specifically, the Fallacy of Equivocation!
Sure, there are words which have acquired various meanings in ordinary speech, like the word “band”, for example. This is fine for ordinary speech and colloquialisms. But the proponent of a critically-reasoned argument is responsible for defining his key terms (which underlie his argument) in NO ambiguous terms – equivocation is not allowed. This means that his key terms must only have one defined meaning that is used consistently in the context of his own argument. Otherwise not even the author will understand what he is talking about if his terms have various irreconcilable meanings. Eliminating ambiguity is a very simple task. Laziness is no excuse in academics, right?
Definitions must be rational, clear, precise and to the point; i.e. they must fully capture what is conveyed by the concept they represent. They must capture, either explicitly or implicitly, all the relations between the objects associated by the concept in question. Only then will the definition be rational and unambiguous. Only then can one use it consistently in their critically-reasoned argument. As an example, look at the definition of the word “concept” above and compare it to the sloppy ambiguous definitions provided by most dictionaries. No wonder there has been a lot of confusion over what constitutes an object and a concept. No wonder Atheists and Mathematicians don’t understand what a concept is or whether concepts exist as standalone entities in reality.
When we don’t define words unambiguously we inject much confusion, if not mysticism into our imprecise meanings. This allows the proponent of an argument to play Double-Dutch with his intentionally loose key terms. His intentions are disingenuous. He aims to deceive, not to elucidate. He builds his argument with handy dualities used as sleights-of-hand to confuse you by pushing forward various irreconcilable positions in his argument. His goal is to persuade you to accept his argument from various points of entry. This is no different than what the Sophists did in Ancient Greece with their tricks of circular logic, dualities, contradictions, rhetoric, ambiguities/equivocation, reification, etc. Their aim was to confuse, deceive and persuade. Those who don’t define their key terms are using the same linguistic tricks, mental gymnastics and obfuscations to deceive you. Obviously, intellectual discussions will not be influenced by such circus shows.
Regardless of whether one’s usage of concepts is knowingly or inadvertently dishonest, they are forewarned that it will be extremely easy to expose all their sophistry in detail. These tricks are old news.....over 2500 years old!
WHAT IS THE UNDERLYING ONTOLOGY OF A CONCEPT?
Naturally, the critical reader will ask: What objects are responsible in mediating the relation of the lexical concept “concept” or of any other lexical concept in and of itself?
Since any lexical concept, like “concept”, is indeed a concept in and of itself, then it is a relation between objects. This whole abstraction of the underlying inter-related objects is what we collectively refer to as a CONCEPT. The concept is the referent (i.e. that which a word refers to) of the word unto itself. We say that such words fall into the category of ‘concepts’ as opposed to ‘objects’.
The objects that a lexical concept relates are what mediates the brain activity which we usually call THOUGHT. Specifically, the concept (i.e. mental thought) of any word ontologically relates the neurons in our brains and the mediation of signals between them. It is this synchronous motion of neurons (and ultimately atoms) which mediate this phenomenon or state in our brain that we call concept, idea, thought, etc. Since our definition of concept was rational and unambiguous, we were able to use it consistently onto itself without ambiguities or contradictions.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR CONCEPTS TO EXIST?
Our environment is the Universe which is only comprised of objects that have standalone physical presence and are said to exist. Since a concept is an association between objects, it is crystal clear that it is impossible for associations or relations to be standalone entities. Hence, it is impossible for concepts to exist. The individual objects that are being related can be said to exist as long as they are not abstract (i.e. concepts). But it is impossible for a concept to exist because its ontological primacy is not that of discreteness; i.e. that of a standalone entity. Its ontological primacy is that of an action (verb); i.e. that of a process of inter-atomic signal transmission. Verbs don’t exist. Only objects exist; and it is objects that mediate verbs, right?
I mean, there are no concepts running around wreaking havoc or getting chased by dogs, right? And there are no concepts in the Universe grabbing the Earth and moving it around the Sun like a carousel, right? And there are no concepts acting like vacuum cleaners swallowing light, planets, astronauts and clocks; despite what some with a wild imagination will have you believe, right?
You see, neither God nor alien nor man can manufacture concepts. And they certainly don’t acquire length, width and height in zero-time and pop out of the void and into reality, right? Intelligent beings can only think of concepts, assign words to them, define them, understand and apply them.
SYNTACTICAL GRAMMAR vs CONTEXTUAL GRAMMAR
Some folks may have forgotten the Syntactical and Contextual Grammar constructs of language they were taught in Grammar School. Sentences in linguistic grammars are context-sensitive and thus have two stages of grammatical verification: syntax and context. Once we verify that the syntax conforms to the syntactical rules of grammar, we ascribe meaning to the sentence using the analytical phase of contextual grammar.
1. SYNTACTICAL GRAMMAR - The initial parsing phase of sentential syntax that ensures sentences comply with the syntax rules of grammar; i.e. qualifying nouns with adjectives, verbs with adverbs, etc, etc.
2. CONTEXTUAL GRAMMAR - This final parsing phase of sentences renders comprehension by ascribing meaning to words and clauses while maintaining the contextual domain of their referents.
Despite these and other linguistic issues which underlie the primacy of our understanding of words and sentences, there are some out there who will vehemently oppose them:
“Dude, you sound just like my teacher. This semantic stuff is for educational purposes only. This is all unnecessary and pedantic grammatical problematizing. I am experienced enough to guarantee you that I KNOW how to interpret and understand anything. LOL, you’re such a tool.”
Hmmm....unnecessary and pedantic grammatical problematizing, huh?
a) Do you know how to interpret the Bible? If so, why haven’t you enlightened the 30,000+ sects of Christian denominations out there who still haven’t resolved the issue?
b) Do you know how to interpret the many theories of truth? After 3000 years, Philosophers are still arguing on what truth is. Can you enlighten them on the correct theory?
c) Do you know how to interpret the 6 irreconcilable hypotheses of gravity (i.e. 0D gravitons, waves, warped space, force, field, energy)? Which is the correct one in reality?
d) Do you know how to interpret the proceedings of a murder trial and guarantee that sophistry or abuses in language will not persuade you as a member of the jury to put an innocent person behind bars? After all, don’t the members of the jury draw conclusions from their own personal interpretation of the statements presented?
e) Can you guarantee that every person out there will interpret statements in the EXACT SAME way as you?
Clearly, some people lack the ability to think and reason the ultra-basics. I didn’t know this opposition to reason was out there until I ran into these folks online. If they can’t even identify the self-refuting remarks in their own statements, would you trust these clowns to be the jury in YOUR murder trial if you ever get wrongfully accused? It really doesn’t take many of these clowns to lock you up forever....only one will do! But these lost souls underscore all the points in this article. I welcome such statements from clowns because they die at their point of conception. Their bellyaching is not an argument.
The critical issue with grammar and language is that of comprehension. Some will make wild claims that they don’t need to understand words, definitions and grammar in order to understand a sentence or to even write a Physics article. Isn’t that a self-refuting statement? Without clear and precise language there is no understanding to be had, even for the author of the argument. It is the proper use of concepts in grammar which allow us to present the proper context of our argument before the audience. Purposeful abuses in language have only one purpose: to deceive. Don’t whine and complain that you don’t understand your own argument when cornered. Clean up your linguistic failures and it will be crystal clear to you.
In the sections that follow we explore how to evaluate the “referent” of a concept for the purposes of determining its ontological usage in a sentence.
WORD ONTOLOGY: ALL WORDS RESOLVE TO EITHER AN OBJECT OR A CONCEPT
All words can be grouped into two distinct categories by way of their resolved ontology: OBJECTS or CONCEPTS. But how do we accomplish this?
Q: Since all words are first and foremost lexical concepts, how do we reference a rock in our sentences? Wouldn’t the rock be a concept?
A: No! This issue is resolved objectively by way of ontology. Opinion plays no role here. It is the ontology of the referent (i.e. that which a word refers to) which determines whether the word in question will be categorized as either an object or a concept.
The word “rock”, in and of itself, is obviously a lexical concept. We already explained previously that atomic brain activity is the referent of any lexical concept, like “concept” or “rock”; i.e. the referent is a verb or process (i.e. a concept!) That’s why all words are concepts in and of themselves. And this is what our brain does when we parse a sentence from a syntactical point of view, as sentential syntax strictly deals with concepts. But we don’t derive the meaning of words and sentences from syntax. Surely, there must be objects out there like rocks, planets and stars which are not just petty linguistic syntax of our brain activity. These are objects which must have their own physical presence because they exist, right?
Of course, in order to consistently resolve this issue we need to consider such words in their proper context. This means that we must evaluate the REFERENT of the word in question (i.e. “rock”) as this is what ultimately allows us to resolve its underlying ontological context. And this is exactly what we did previously when we evaluated the referent of the lexical concept “concept” as a process of atomic brain activity; i.e. a concept! But in our current case the referent of the word “rock” does not resolve to a concept or a process of brain activity. It specifically resolves to a standalone object.
Because all objects have shape! This is the only objective criterion which can be consistently used to determine whether the referent of a word is either an object or a concept (i.e. a relation or process). When we evaluate the word in question, we ask:
Q: “Does the Ontological Context of its Referent have shape?”
If so, then the word in question resolves to an object; otherwise it’s a concept. Since a rock (i.e. referent) has shape, then the word “rock” is placed in the category we call: OBJECTS.
Words in any language, even in God’s language will, without question, fall in one of two categories: OBJECT or CONCEPT. There is no other option, ever!
Because shape is the only objective (i.e. observer-independent) property that can be used to distinguish between objects and concepts by way of their ontology. There is no other property which is intrinsic to the object itself. Any other word you can imagine which doesn’t fall in the category of object is a concept because concepts specifically refer to the process of brain activity; i.e. the state or phenomenon we call “thought”. Hence concepts are not standalone entities in reality. The Moon was an object with shape before any being evolved to sense it and give an opinion on the issue. Hence the Moon is a standalone entity independent of observers and their thoughts. Of course, there are those who will disagree and I welcome them in the comments section.
Linguistic grammars are context-sensitive and it is this Contextual Grammar phase of language which elucidates the context and meaning of words from the ontological context of their referent. We use the Ontological Context of the Referent to OBJECTIVELY resolve whether a word can be classified as either an ‘object’ or a ‘concept’. Opinion or guessing plays no role here.
Whether you realize it or not, you are mentally performing this contextual phase of grammar each time you read and parse a sentence. This is how you are able to place all words and phrases in their proper context and extract the intended meaning of a sentence. If the meaning is ambiguous or not what the author intended, then it’s the author’s job to remedy these issues and convey the meaning he originally intended. This is not the job of the audience, right? Evaluating the Ontological Context of the Referents is the only objective method by which the author can guarantee his sentences to be free from ambiguities of ontology.
In the following section we will explore the construct of Contextual Grammar with an example and explain how to avoid the pitfall of the Fallacy of Reification.
FALLACY OF REIFICATION: CONVERTING CONCEPTS INTO OBJECTS
Most of the confusion we have with words revolves around maintaining the proper context of our concepts when ascribing meaning to a sentence. Some are oblivious to this phase of contextual grammar when ascribing verbs to syntactical nouns that are pure concepts. They sometimes unwittingly convert a CONCEPT to an OBJECT; thus making the sentence irrational. Since we use concepts to extract meaning within the scope of a sentence, we must be prudent of contextual consistency to avoid this common pitfall of language: Fallacy of Reification. Those who fall victim to this fallacy don’t understand the difference between a noun of Syntactical Grammar and a noun of Contextual Grammar. The difference may not only be huge, but also fatal to your sentences.
Reification is the irrational conversion of a concept into an object. For example, the conversion of the concept of “love” into an alleged entity which can move mountains is irrational and most certainly, impossible!
Consider the following sentence: “After the contractor received his payment, his obligation flew out the window.”
1. In syntactical grammar, the word ‘obligation’ is a NOUN OF SYNTAX, only. As a noun of syntax it is a concept because the syntactical-correctness phase of grammar deals exclusively with concepts. There is no contextual resolution here.
2. In contextual grammar, the word ‘obligation’ does not convey the meaning of a noun. It conveys the meaning of a VERB; i.e. the course of action which the contractor is legally bound to. This means that ‘obligation’ can no longer be treated as a noun, as we are past the syntactical-correctness phase. In the final, contextual phase of grammar, ‘obligation’ explicitly refers to an action (i.e. concept) which must be performed by the contractor. This is what is expected of the contractor in reality - his course of action. There is no noun of reality called ‘obligation’ which literally emanates from the contractor and flies out the window, right?
The above sentence is using ORDINARY SPEECH to figuratively tell us that after the contractor was paid, he ceased to abide by his ‘obligation’ (i.e. verb). This sentence cannot be taken literally because it applies the verb (flew) to the concept (obligation). Concepts don’t fly like birds. In fact, concepts do not exist, so you cannot ascribe motion to them as it doesn’t make sense.
The sentence is NOT telling us that the syntactical noun ‘obligation’ magically transformed (i.e. reification) into a noun of reality (i.e. object) and literally flew out the window, like a bird flies out the window. During the contextual grammar phase, the ontological context of the referent of the word ‘obligation’ resolves to a concept, not an object. Nobody in their right mind would convert the concept ‘obligation’ to an object (noun of reality) and ascribe motion to it. Obviously, sentences which literally ascribe motion to concepts are irrational. But there are people out there making these hasty mistakes without even realizing it because they don’t understand the object vs concept ontology of the referent.
The point of all this is to prevent our sentences from erroneously introducing magical “spirits” (i.e. concepts) into reality when it is impossible for them to be there. Reality (i.e. existence) is comprised of objects which exist. In Contextual Grammar they are known as the “nouns of reality”. All the nouns of reality are unequivocally, objects! Objects are the mediators which perform actions unto other objects; i.e. “the bulldozer moved the mountain”: objects (bulldozer, mountain), concept (moved). The concept “love” cannot move a mountain. There are no concepts in reality. Concepts do not exist. Not even God Almighty can make them exist, much less a sentence which ascribes motion to them.
WHAT IS AN ABSTRACT CONCEPT?
An abstract concept is a higher-order concept which encompasses an underlying relation of objects and concepts in perhaps a nested, hierarchical or other type of pre-defined association.
Q: Why do we need such complexities as abstract concepts?
A: Because they are useful for invoking ideas such as categories, hierarchies, links, sets, schemas, axioms, etc. for the purposes of generalizing, establishing complex relationships and solving problems in tautological domains. They are widely used in applications such organizational-type disciplines, mathematics, logic, technology, medicine, engineering, computer science, etc.
Abstraction is a method of expanding a being’s intelligence by reducing the number of entities the being needs to associate (and memorize) in order to convey more complex ideas and meanings. It is essentially a systematic means to an unlimited integration of cognitive data into our memory. By implementing abstract concepts we can represent condensations of knowledge and understanding. They facilitate quicker understanding by reducing cognitive labor through the process of abstraction.
As stated previously, our thoughts and our words are the product of our environment. But they can also be the product of abstract concepts, like the many tautologies that we invent. For example, we invented the concept “infer” to be used in the context of abstract concepts such as logic and mathematics. In this case, the concept “infer” relates a set of premises (abstract concept) to a person (object) who performs the action of inferring (verb/concept) a conclusion (abstract concept).
As another example, we can conceive of the abstract concept called “musical instrument” which relates the concepts “wind instrument” (flute, trumpet) and “string instrument” (guitar, violin), each of which is a relation between the specified objects.
HOW DO INTELLIGENT BEINGS USE CONCEPTS TO DEVELOP LANGUAGE?
All intelligent beings in the Universe invent their language directly from the bounty of their natural environment. As we explained earlier, any grunt, sign-language, smoke signal or word they utter will necessarily associate at least 2 objects from their environment. Only objects exist in the Universe because only objects can possibly have physical presence.
Whenever intelligent beings evolve in the Universe and become more sophisticated (i.e. begin to communicate ideas to each other) they develop languages. How do they go about doing this? In two simple steps:
1) They first look at all the objects in nature, point to them and utter a word to name them. Remember, this is exactly how it was done in Biblical Times when God brought the animals before Adam who pointed at each animal and gave it a name for the record:
Genesis 2:19-20 “Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”
Looks like God is a rational guy. I mean, even God realizes that objects can only be named....NOT defined! Yep, the old man knows that it is impossible to define an object because it is a standalone entity - it has no meaning in and of itself. Those who disagree will have to explain how objects have otherwise acquired intrinsic self-meanings. Was it from God? These folks are unwittingly making the same argument that Banana-Man Ray Comfort made: God made the banana with meaning for us; i.e. to conveniently fit into our hand and into our mouth. It even has a protective wrapper to keep it fresh!
Q: So where do we get meaning from? What is it exactly that gives meaning to words if not individual objects?
A: A word has no meaning other than that of the concept it symbolizes, whose meaning consists of the associations we establish with objects. Standalone entities have no way of giving meaning to the words which reference them. Words like “rock” resolve to a referent which explicitly has the ontology of a standalone object. Meaning is only obtained by associating at least 2 objects in a relation that is defined for its applicability to some purposeful utility.
2) After we name the entities of our environment we have a collection of objects that can be used as referents in our sentences. For example: In the sentence “The ball fell to the floor”, the words “ball” and “floor” are referents to objects in our environment.
Furthermore, these objects of our environment are also used in associations which explicitly define and provide some intended meaning, like a type of motion. In the above example, the word “fell” is a dynamic concept which describes and gives meaning to the relation between 2 objects, specifically, the motion between the ball and the floor. It is impossible to define the word “fell” without associating at least 2 objects. For example, you CANNOT define “fell” by simply referencing the ball by itself without any other relation. You cannot even imagine a lone ball falling in a Universe that is comprised of a single lonely ball. Even the dynamic concepts of energy, mass, time, field or force cannot even be imagined or conceptualized on a lonely object. Not even God Almighty can conceptualize them! Now you should be able to understand exactly why ENERGY, MASS, TIME, FIELD and FORCE do not exist, they never have....and they never will. It is Atheists & Mathematicians who believe these wordsto represent incorporeal entities akin to invisible spirits. Why? Because they don't understand the difference between an object and a concept!
During our initial conception of these associations between the objects in question, we can easily visualize how we link objects and how they relate to each other as a whole, in order to provide the intended meaning to our concept. This is how each and every concept is conceived and defined. There are no exceptions. Learning to speak does not consist of memorizing sounds. This is what a parrot learns to “speak”; just sounds. Learning consists of grasping meanings by associating the referents of words, i.e., the objects that words denote in reality. This is how we understand words and learn their proper usage in sentences.
And that’s how we’ve built languages and other systems of thought, like mathematics, logic, the legal system, governments, societies, etc. All words from every languages are concepts i.e. relations between 2 or more objects. For example...husband & wife are concepts (relations between 2 humans, like Adam & Eve). Running is a concept (a relation between the legs of a living being and the ground).
We invent new concepts every single day because of our necessity to evolve our society, education, technology, etc. Without question, this is exactly what any intelligent species does. They invent new concepts, define them unambiguously, and apply them toward the communication of new ideas or for solving problems in some domain of utility.
NOTE: Meaning is what WE explicitly define in the relation within each concept. Concepts don’t magically self-acquire meaning nor are they devoid of meaning, despite what some people will have you believe.
CONCEPTS ARE THE UNDERLYING BASIS OF OUR INTELLIGENCE
It is inescapable....you cannot understand or communicate anything without first performing the following 3 steps:
1) Conceiving of concepts.
2) Understanding their definition and what they associate.
3) Understanding how to apply them in their proper context.
This is the underling basis of our intelligence, concepts! Without objects....and without associations between them....we have no concepts....and no words! This means that the concept is our fundamental unit of intelligence. And indeed, you will find that this is exactly what an IQ test measures and scores you on: how many concepts you understand well enough to utilize in solving problems within a given time. That is all there is to an IQ test. There is no magic, mysticism or prestige. Are you not satisfied with your IQ score of 100? No problem....just study up on your concepts, practise solving problems and you can score 190+ if you are so inclined. There are no God-gifted geniuses or super-intelligent beings out there.
Please visit the following article for a detailed analysis of the concept of intelligence:
Concepts are your friends, so be nice to them: If you use them as KEY TERMS in your arguments, do them justice and unambiguously define them. Don’t wait for a member of the audience to showcase your contradictions and ridicule you. This is the only way you can demonstrate to the audience that you are smart enough to understand your own argument. Otherwise you have committed the Fallacy of Equivocation!
Don’t ascribe verbs to objects otherwise you have committed the Fallacy of Reification! Ensure that you always resolve the Ontological Context of the Referent.
It goes without saying that nobody can argue against the importance of consistency in concepts, definitions, semantics, grammar and contextual meaning. Those who disagree are declaring war against language, human understanding and rationality. But they are welcomed wholeheartedly to post in the comments section a rational justification for their position. If they cannot justify their venom, then they are merely protesting against rationality because it destroys their Religion.