Hidden assumptions in everyday speaking. Dangerous dogmas…

We every day talk. Simple phrases which convey meanings are exchanged between people. And yet, we do not realize how much meaning lies within these words. Because we should not forget that every word or sentence we use, bears a meaning which was carved from thousands of years of debates between philosophers before it reached us.

Take for example the “simple” phrase “I went to the supermarket yesterday and bought some bananas because I was hungry”.

Simple right? Self-explanatory right? Not.

It should be simple but it is not. Many philosophical assumptions lie behind this very “simple” everyday phrase and the dangerous thing is that we do not realize it. In that way, many philosophically-questioned assumptions are promoted to self-evident “truths”. Not the very best way for us to go on…

You don’t believe me? Well, here is the list of philosophical assumption which must be held as “true” in order to say the abovmenetioned phrase:

  1. Belief in time: Time is something which is not sure if it exists. At least in the philosophy realm. Scientists like Einstein and Godel have already started questioning loudly its existence.
  2. Belief in causality: You must believe in causality if you are to use words like “bacause” in your talking. And yet again, philosophy (and some enlightened scientists) is not sure if causality exists.
  3. Belief in the existence of “species”: When you refer to “bananas” toy refer to a specific species. But the very existence of species is not agreed upon among philosophers of biology. Darwin himself was enthustatic about “solving the problem of species” with his new theory: if animals/plants constantly “change”, there was no need for defining different species! 🙂
  4. Belief in Free Will: How can you decide to go somewhere if not by deciding your self? This is clearly implied here. I do not have to spell it out for you that the problem of Free Will is the main problem of philosophy and surely it is not solved yet…
  5. Belief in consciousness: Last but not least, what does that “I” you say refer to? Do you think you are more than a souless machine? Do you think you “exist”. Do you think you are different from the human next to you because “you are you” and “he is he”? Guess what: this could be a very good theme for discussion in a philosophy forum.
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All of the above have once been a matter of heated debate. Once upon a time one of the opinions “won” and becase the “mainstream” one. But that does not mean that this is the correct one. The matter was not “solved”. One opinion became more popular than the other and humans just went on. As simple as that.

Using words in everyday life is not something one can avoid. And surely we cannot think of all of the above every time we speak to each other. However being aware of these things makes one wiser…

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