Thursday, May 04, 2006

Implication

This is a much more general topic, but it deals with the fundamentals of reasoning.

Implication. Implication is the unspoken, hidden, but intended meaning of any remark. For example, if I say, "I don't like black people," that implies that I, in fact, dislike black people, rather than the less likely possibility that I am unaware of the existence of black people, and thus have no opinion regarding them one way or the other (or any other possible interpretation).

That's crap. There's no such thing as implication.

Yes, I did just say that. There exists no unspoken, hidden, but intended meaning in any remark. If I say, "I don't like black people," that tells you absolutely nothing beyond the denotative meanings of those statements. I may well be unaware of the exitstence of black people. Or I might be generally misathropic and dislike all people, black people included. You don't know, because I haven't told you.

Any conclusion you draw beyond that denotative meaning is not due to any implied content, because there isn't any implied content. Your conclusion is due entirely to your inference, and no one but you is to blame for your inferences.

I'm not going to tell you not to draw inferences, but you need to be aware that inferences are caused solely by the inferrer.

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