Context and The Specificity of language.

Have you ever had an ‘In Depth’ discussion with someone only to find that the other person has stopped you in mid-speech to question your use of a word, saying something like “Don’t you mean such and such?” or “Is that the right word you’re using?”

This scenario is usually brought about when two people are ‘On the same wavelength’ and have a clear idea of the context in which they are conversing. It seems to indicate a need for clarity and maybe it is necessary to maintain the clarity of context but sometimes it is a redundant response.
The implication of such a response is that that person does understand what is being said and is questioning the use of a word within the context of the discussion because they know what is meant.

There is, to use a popular vernacular, a fuzziness about language in general, what a particular stopf of words means is dependent on the context within which that stopf is used. Indeed one can misuse words and even make them up but the meaning is quite clear and this is because they have a context.

We have all experienced this in one way or another. It happens in discussions on matters of science, philosophy, ethics, morality and most poignantly in law. The notion of a ‘will’ is quite simple. “I bequeath all of my possessions to my wife, in the case of my death”. What could be simpler? The context is clear, the meaning is clear but to the lawyer there is a point of argument. He must define the exact meaning of ‘possessions’, ‘wife’, ‘death’. He then places a chronology onto the document. Was it written at a time that a first wife might have entitlement, and if there is no wife at the time of death. Is there a live former wife who has not remarried according to such and such a law sub-section such and such where the marriage could be construed as not valid in any sense of the law in which case there may be an entitlement under some provisions act sub-section such and such pertaining to individuals, not being residents of that state or country of less than so many years when and in the instance not discounting that they may have become permanent residents no less than so many years prior to the case in point. And if they have not, the provision of sub-section such and such dealing with such cases is not discounted if whatever whatever.

My point is that from a simple statement given a clear context we have arrived at a lot of mumbo jumbo, getting evermore specific, so that the most infinitesimal detail is clear and accounted for.
In doing so we have lost the context and thus the true meaning of the will. We all know what was meant by the will because the words were few and the context was clear. After the specification there is little context and therefore no meaning.

I might liken this to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. When you measure the position (of an electron) to a high accuracy the momentum becomes reciprocally inaccurate and when you measure the momentum to a high accuracy, the position is reciprocally inaccurate. Is it not similar with words and context?
Actually science is full of this “loss of clarity” particularly when it attempts to understand the macro by defining the micro. Who can appreciate the edge of a macrological  object by observing the structure of a proton within an atom. At this level there is no edge.

Are we indeed chasing the unattainable with language? Our current 500,000 words in English tell us less than the 50,000 that Shakespeare had in his day. Of course many will find lots of instances where my arguments are wrong but WHAT I MEAN HAS BEEN PERFECTLY UNDERSTOOD