Signs are in essence a significant

Signs are in essence a significant

Define: Sign

Throughout history mankind has always sought and desired meaning for without meaning reasoning cannot exist, and all reasoning is an elucidation of signs of some kind (Peirce 177). Therefore signs are in essence a significant part of communication in human civilization because if reasoning is derived from signs then consensus is also a by product of signs. Since in the consensus theory of truth consensus helps one determine what is said to be true, which leads to mutual understanding; a vital part of the ideal speech situation and society in general. According to Charles Sanders Peirce there are three kinds of signs likenesses, or icons; indications, or indices; symbols, or general signs (Peirce 178). First off likenesses or icons is a reproduction of the thing it represents, moreover it bears an analogical relationship. For example an instantaneous photograph is a reproduction of an object and since the sign (photograph) stands for the object it is inferred that there is an analogical relationship because there is a physical resemblance. Whereas likenesses has no physical connection with the object indications, or indices have a direct physical connection with its object (Peirce 181). In essence an index sign is a sign where there is a direct link between the sign and the object. For instance it is quite conceivable that traffic signs are index signs because they represent information which relates to a location. For example deer crossing warning signs are used to alert motorists in advance of locations where unexpected entries into the roadway by deer might occur. In regards to symbols, or general signs, there is not a definite definition for this sign because symbols, or general signs have various meaning across different cultures. Therefore it is only through consensus that meaning can be derived with these signs. So with symbols there is no logical connection between it and its meaning. For instance in western society a black cat has a connotative meaning of bad luck, whereas another culture might imply that a black cat is good luck.

Define: The consensus theory of truth

Just as important as the validity claims themselves, Habermas suggests that through consensus we can distinguish true propositions from false ones. He argues that the "universal-pragmatic meaning of truth is determined in terms of the demand of reach a rational consensus."(Habermas, 448) This means that in order to achieve reasonable truth, within a speech act, a group must want to reach a consensual state. This consensus theory of truth is only acknowledged when the speaker is actively seeking truth and righteousness through their speech act. In the event that the speech act was implied in a falsified fashion or that the speaker has no intention of righteousness then the consensus theory of truth is not valid. This disrupts the entire communicative act as the original speech act does not possess the sincere nature required in the four claims of validity, thus making the speech act invalid. The background consensus does not exist or is flawed in the speech act then Habermas suggests "hermeneutic discourse" in order to explore different interpretations and correctly identify, test and justify an interpretation in order to fix the background consensus (Habermas 450). It is in the consensus theory of truth that Habermas ascertains the very reasoning for the speech acts themselves, to achieve mutual understanding. Here Habermas finds the basis for all linguistic communication, a mutual rational consensus much be reached in order to achieve mutual understanding, the goal of communication itself. When people begin to linguistically communicate for anything their desire for mutual understanding and consensus is immediately established but without consensus communication begins to deteriorate.

Define: Ideology

According to the Marx and Engels article titled "The German Ideology" an ideology is basically a way of looking at things in different societies. Usually the set of ideas are set by the dominant class of society for the rest of society to follow. Ideology hides the real processes of control from people. Therefore the actual ideology itself is the idea that covers control; thereby one would be mistaken and have false conception of control and own reality. Ideology functions by making one believe that the ideas presented are natural, and since one already conceives the ideas to be logical and natural there is strong cohesion amongst members of society. Whereby the ideas brought forward are not questioned but received. Therefore in essence ideology could be considered a conditioning tool because the real process is hidden from members of society "men are the producers of their conceptions, ideas, etc.-real, active men, as they are conditioned by a definite development of their productive forces and of the intercourse corresponding to these, up to its furthest forms" (Marx & Engels 433). Throughout history there has been clear evidence of the existence of a class society from Egyptian time's masters and slaves to now where there is capitalist and workers. The people who work with their minds/intellects are the ones who form the ideologies. In today's society the capitalist organize the production of wealth (owners of businesses), the workers actually produce the wealth but don't fully benefit from it. Therefore it is evident that there is strong hegemony in modern society due to capitalists.

Define: Feedback

To live effectively is to live with adequate information. Therefore we must take in sensory information in order to adequately survive in the outer world. However like the transmission model of communication, message quality deteriorates as it flows through the transmission process. In this case the sensory information that is exchanged with the outer world as we adjust to it goes through entropy. Entropy is a measure of how disorganized or organized a system is. Meaning if a system is well organized there will be less of degradation and vice versa. Entropy is something that is hard to eliminate because we live in a universe that is constantly degrading therefore there will always be some negative force acting upon the other (Feb23, 2010 lecture). To counteract entropy in a sense messages themselves are also pattern and organization. The organization of messages in pattern allows one to interpret differently from others. In the article "Cybernetics in History" by Norbert Wiener readers are introduced to the term feedback the next critical step in this ongoing process. Feedback according to Wiener is a control mechanism that works on the basis of actual performance rather than its expected performance of a person or thing. As stated before to live effectively is to live with adequate information, therefore for feedback to determine whether or not the pattern/organization worked it relies on adequate sensory data. Feedback can have a negative or positive result. Positive feedback reinforces the causal event, whereas negative feedback tries to reduce the casual event. In all feedback seeks to repair the disorganization in a system and humans systems need it as much as mechanical systems do.

Works Cited

Muller, Robert T. Craig and Heidi L. Theorizing Communication Reading Across Traditions. London: Sage Publications inc, 2007.

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