As K. Marx thought (Marx, 1959), people's opinion about reality was influenced by the material conditions of life, a basis. A superstructure of the basis, of science, of culture and ideology depends on it. But the subsequent development of social thought disapproved this theory. Today, the person who masters the minds of the people can determine their behaviour and life of society as a whole. The rapid development of social media in particular led to the formulation of the question about alternatives in science, culture, social life, i.e. the alternatives of civilization. It is the concept of fractal that can explain the mechanism of the formation process of opinions about the reality in modern conditions. Fractal is a new methodological tool in humanities. “A withdrawal” of most dichotomies, an integration of various points of view on the subject, including the opposing ones are its advantages. The fractal concept can be the algorithm not only for understanding and explaining the world, but also for its designing through the production of statements. If the dialogue and criticism suggest the pluralism and plurality of opinions, their result (culture and civilization) on the contrary would be based on a consistent and progressive development of a unified system of ideas. A fractal vision of the world allows resolving this contradiction.
Keywords: Linguistic fractallinguistic personalityfake realityinterpretationdiscourseunderstanding
Today "alternative facts", fake (fictional) news, etc. have spread with the development of social media and the aggravation of political struggle as a struggle of opinions and have acquired a global character. Division of the society into people accepting its foundations, institutions and achievements and people rejecting them, offering their "alternative" history, science, medicine, management, morality (Martinez-Conde, Macknik, 2017) is becoming very actual. Both social groups rely on a single conceptual methodology of knowledge, although this methodology can not ensure the communication between them, because of the incoherence of connotations of the same concepts. It can be assumed that the world as a whole is in a transitional stage of its development: from many independent states - to a global society. The internal contradictions of individual countries in this condition of state relativity, the "blurring" of borders and laws "go outside" represent global problems for humankind.
The concept of fractal
The concept of fractal can be proposed аs a constructive hypothesis (Korjachkina, 2016; Kulakov, 2014; Mavrikidi, 2017; Tarasenko, 1999). The fractal hypothesis combines global and local visions of the world, representing the relationship of local parts to a global integrity. Semantic fractal is considered to be an ordered set of semantic associations of the name, many meanings of the word and a structure of the concept — so one will deal with fractals of different "density". For example, the concept of the fractal power of Plato (Plato, 2017) (the dialectic forms of government) from "polity" to democracy and dictatorship, represents the society as a single social body, driven by different passions. No matter what kind of passion dominates now, only the transition from one passion to the other is necessary.
The fractal ontology
Fractal as an open system should correlate the contradictions, not synthesizing them as dialectics does, but pointing to their place in the entire semantic space. The ontology of fractal world picture is similar to the ontology of Democritus (Mourelatos, 2004), an open system, involving the indestructibility of atoms, constructing simple elements into complex structures, consistency and determinism.
The social basis of the fractal theory can be made up by a personal fractal of a person with his or her own understanding of the world and building the activities based on this understanding. Hence, all the general properties, inherent in man in general, should be personified, and their manifestation should be explained based on individual history of a particular individual.
Modern European civilization is traditionally focused on science as a source of truth, concerning the natural world, and on media as a source of proven facts of the social world. But the contradiction of the modern world globalization and local resistance of individual states to it is expressed, in particular, by the fact that fake (fictional) news are spreading representing an "alternative" version of reality by means of social media.
If evaluations and opinions on the facts can be alternative and can exist in a shared intellectual space, the facts themselves should exist objectively, giving a basis for different opinions about them. Otherwise, no communication is possible. Lie is a crime in the world of law. The contradiction between the postulated by the Western philosophy unity of an individual and "clip-on", fragmented content of consciousness and knowledge of a person becomes the expression of this problem at the level of an individual. On the other hand, even the true reality is perceived as an imaginary one, if a person cannot affect it.
Typical solutions to this problem are:
The prohibition and persecution
The prohibition and persecution of "alternative" versions of reality are one method. Prohibition is a well-known way of fighting against these ideas. Holocaust denial is a typical example of that in the modern world. This rule asserts the existence of fact. For example, there are scientific restrictions, concerning the set of all sets, the development of a time machine, the ethical bans on human cloning etc. Legal practice develops this idea further, barring not only the denial of an existing fact, but also a free interpretation of the accepted cultural fact — for example, the Bible (the ban of the "Jehovah's Witnesses" organization). It is easy to ban not only the "alternative" version of history, medicine, evolution, but also ideologically "inconvenient" interpretations of these historical events and competing versions of scientific theories if one follows this path. It was the path that destroyed genetics and several other branches of science in the Soviet Union. Every ban is a rule, and every rule, according to Gödel's theorem, can be an incomplete or contradictory one. Besides, the rule can be abused, because "the instructions cannot be exhaustive" (Serikov, 2009) and "a malicious use" (Serikov, 2009) of the rules is possible. The abuse of the rule that "every crime must be punished", can be demonstrated by the well-known expression from Mussorgsky's opera "Boris Godunov": "thе holy fool was offended, his kopeck was taken away", the requirement is in fact: "Nikolka was hurt by small children... kill them as you killed the little Prince" (Mussorgsky, 1872, act 4). A ban is a primitive argument of a dispute, repression, suggesting the existence of the author’s ban of super-knowledge, super-abilities, playing the role of God in relation to the opponents.
The logical refutation
The other way is a logical refutation of the arguments of the opponent or compromise with one. As Kant proved, the criterion of reality, objectivity is not in the world, but in mind. This reality is not outside us but inside us, although it is expressed through language. Reality does not determine language choice of the ontological schema (Makeev, 2006). This implies ontological relativity. Different schemes divide reality into objects in different ways and form various worlds. It is interesting to compare the antinomies of Kant and the alternative versions of reality, ontologies of today. Each part of the antinomy is a logically closed deductive theory. Its justification involves the generalization of the initial conditions, i.e. tautology or solipsism. I. Kant proves the limitations of the human mind, of its conceptual tools in resolving fundamental questions of reality. Alternative theories can be simultaneously logically true according to this theory. He makes a logical argument resolving his own contradiction: "If someone said that everybody smelt good or smelt bad, then you would say the third thing, namely, that body does not smell at all, and, thus, the two conflicting judgments can be false. If I said that each body was fragrant or not fragrant, these judgments would be in condition of contradicted opposites..." (Kant, 2007). Only contrary judgments can be alternative ones.
The reassurance of the opponent
The third method is the reassurance of the opponent, i.e. such criticism of his views, which leads to a change in the original position. Most people do not consider their system of concepts, beliefs in a critical way. Their beliefs are rules of operation with the value (Hunt, 2002), i.e. the relationship between judgments about facts and assessment of these facts. Values are fundamental for human morality, although revaluation of all values is possible, according to Nietzsche. Reassurance is not required in most cases. It is sufficient to show the other person a simple and human way to achieve common values. This implies the reordering of the system of his ideas, connected with the realization of values. Freedom of interpretation in the stability of linguistic values is the essential feature of Indo-European languages and cultures. One should convince the opponent, trying not to deny his thought.
One should attach people who feel "unnecessary" to socially constructive activities
All these solutions are inadequate in modern conditions, because they are methodologically based on the postulate about the unity of the individual and of the average terms of its characteristics.
How is the opinion on the reality of an individual as a native speaker in a "clip thinking" and fake reality formed? The opinion of a person about reality depends on social institutions, flow of news, personal priorities, or something else. This view is absolute, relative or concrete, depending on that.
Is communication between individuals under these circumstances possible?
Pluralism prevents communication of people whose views are far from each other. But pluralism brings those people together whose opinions coincide. Hostility or a dialogue can be the result. What can serve as a basis for a dialogue?
How can one convince someone of errors in his or her opinions?
The opinion of a person about reality can be incorrect from the point of view of science; denying known facts, it can be morally wrong, rude, and vague. Each of these errors requires special refutation. On the other hand, one deals with a set of opinions that should be considered on the whole.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose is to show the fractal model of opinions forming in the reality of a person as a bearer of a language in the communication process with other people.
The systematic nature of linguistic values
Is the external individual communicative fractal, i.e. the understanding of the subjects, possible within a world picture? The value in any language has a systemic nature and manifests itself not in an individual character, but in speech in general (the context), depending on other signs (the inner form of the word). Static and dynamic stabilizers of value act in speech. The first ones are represented by the semantic rules, the coherence of a text, and the second ones are introduced by the origin of the sign from other signs, i.e., language as a process (Lebedev, 1998). For example, the term "chimney sweep" can be seen as the result of a convolution of the original expression: "the one who cleans the pipes". The symbolic system produces common, universal names out of the specific names and pronouns as a result of their combination for specific conditions with the subsequent synthesis. That is, pronouns as the atoms of the language, such as “I”, “you”, “he”, can be considered to be the upper, original level of the sign system, which can implement all the basic functions of the language. They can be called by their nominal names – nominis nomina (names calling). One can reconstruct someone else's belief system and understand 'alternative' concepts of a native speakers beginning with these ideas.
Core values of the person and his personal experience
People tend to doubt in the significance of some surface for the system of knowledge. When we come closer to the ontological centre of their knowledge, the "centre of the cyclone", they will cling stronger to their faith. If one considers personality as a field force similar to the solar system, some surface knowledge will form its outer layer, and they will never contradict the general concept. The middle level will be represented by common concepts such as: communism, happiness, freedom, great country, etc., to perform a guarding function like planets-giants protecting the inner planets of the solar system against meteorites (ontological relativity) (Quine, 1968). And the inner circle of beliefs of an individual will be represented by personal impressions and estimations of the individual reaction to events, to the lives of parents, the system of upbringing adopted in the family, resentment and gifts received in childhood. It is psychohistory that tells one about it (Hunt, 2002). So, one can establish the deep relationship of values with other areas of experience and personal "world map" (Abelson, 1973).
The concept of fractal in its application to the subjects of humanities is the main research method. Conceptual, critical discourse analysis of a language of an individual (personality) and formal logical methods are auxiliary methods.
The methodology of fractal
Fractal is a new methodological tool in humanities (Korjachkina, 2016; Kulakov, 2014). “A withdrawal” of most dichotomies, an integration of various points of view on the subject, including the opposing ones are its advantages. In addition, the fractal concept allows differentiating and to organizing different meanings of a single concept and considering and studying it comprehensively. This methodology allows one not only to analyse specific concepts, but also to build the harmonious picture of the world that opens new perspectives of intercultural dialogue of them. Fractal repeats itself, and considers someone as seeking self-repetition. It is a new philosophic category claiming for consideration along with matter, consciousness, existence and essence, etc. There are still open questions to deal with. What is repeated? Do external factors influence the formation process of a fractal? If they affect, how is it done?
The concept as a method
The concept as a method of research can complement the fractal. The concept assumes the existence of the semantic structure: the structure of the concept suggests interpretive freedom of its substantive content, as well as correspondence between the levels of linguistic means and contextual value that exists at this level: 1) something exists; 2) something is cognized as something existing; 3) the something known is a rule, value etc. Different interpretations of one and the same concept of two users, being differentiated into typical concept levelsб will be correlated with each other as the degree of the same qualities: 1) as the degree of reality (being); 2) as the degree of validity and reliability of knowledge; 3) as the effect of the use of certain rules, etc.
Critical discourse analysis
Critical discourse analysis of the language of the individual (personality) implies (Fairclough, 2000) that the person forms an opinion about the world through trial and error and creates his or her own semantic space, in which assessment and response correlate with the impressions of personal experience. And if the mind of a person is individual, why should the language be a collective one? Writers and poets, geniuses and madmen (Foucault, 1997) pronounce their truth only using their individual language (style). This truth cannot be expressed in a foreign language. This is manifested in the fact that impressions of a person and assessment of the response to them together represent a value-effective semantic design operating under the laws of all other sign systems at the language level. They create the vocabulary, grammar, and they in particular, produce a secondary ontological category as the basic principle to ensure the completeness and isolation (Shiyan, 2008) of the semantic system, which impose limitations on the use of formal schemes, such as consistency of the semantic system. These hypotheses can concern the structure of the external world, the strategy of behaviour in it, etc. The semantics of an individual finds its way in the socio-communicative world, interpreting the existing expressions of the language by their closest semantic images from the system of personal meanings, giving them an individual colouring. So, the personal fractal is the local expression of global conditions of existence of a particular person: the expression of a compliance degree with these conditions (activity/passivity; friendliness/aggression, etc.). The place of a person in the "ecological system" of society is defined by this individual combination. Personality is local and global and, at the same time, fractal.
The following ways can be used to protect individuals against false, fake information:
Individual set of circumstances.
An individual set of circumstances, impressions from personal experience, can be the basis for the formation of his or her worldview.
An individual language is a style of thinking and understanding other people. "An individual language", which was impossible according to L. Wittgenstein (Putnam, 1983), was a paradox for conceptual theories of meaning. A language has been traditionally understood as a means of communication. And with whom can I communicate? With myself? To submit myself for myself? The consequence of such a dialogue with oneself becomes the disintegration of the personality into "I for myself", "I for friends" "I for my family" "I for superiors," "I for enemies", etc. A problem arises: how not to mix his or her own "I"? And there is a more intimate question: "who's the real one?". The traditional metaphor of a language as a mirror of culture seems inadequate. The social language "works" like a machine of objectification, identification with others, and emulation. A collective mirror is watching at one (in the reverse perspective) as it says, "This is YOU", and kicking one out of oneself makes one a stranger to oneself, and for strangers - their own. Imitation is considered (Putnam, 1983) as a basis of understanding. An indirect confirmation of this is study of "mirror neurons" (Rizzolatti, Sinigaglia, 2008). Understanding is achieved by means of association of new and familiar actions. But cars and animals also frequently imitate the human. Does it indicate that they understand the meaning of what they imitate? The individual language relieves the person from the hazard identification with the other and/or collapse, although it makes difficult to understand it as far as other people are concerned.
Formation of individual language leads to emergence of kaleidoscopic personality, society and world picture.
The clip, kaleidoscopic personality appears.
It will always be identical to itself "here and now", but not to its past or future. This person will respond to external change in the situation, but it will not enter a social contract with other individuals.
The kaleidoscopic society can appear.
The society consisting of such individuals will be pluralistic, open to change, but not ready to act collectively to form these changes. This society is personalised with their characteristic kaleidoscopic view of the world.
The kaleidoscopic picture of the world can appear.
The kaleidoscopic-based picture of the world "blurs" the boundaries of science, religion, art, social institutions and social roles. But it is possible with some effort to distinguish the true of the imaginary in this world.
The fractal model of formation of opinions about reality suggests a strong dependence on "initial conditions" like a fractal model of personality. This is a random fragment of reality of an individual, which becomes the basis for his interpretation of the social world. This piece will be the "key" to understanding his or her worldview, the ontological scheme that is constantly extrapolated to the outside world. If the person chooses another reality fragment, as a “key”, it will change his or her entire worldview.
Interpretation of collective concepts
Human individual languages and interpretation of collective concepts are in the modus of the struggle (competition) and in the modus of cooperation, benevolence to each other. The common and clear subject can be born as a discourse (Mavrikidi, 2017.), not being initially given and existing in anyone's interpretation. In addition, if the dialogue and criticism suggest the pluralism and plurality of opinions, the result (culture and civilization), on the contrary, is based on a consistent and progressive development of a unified system of ideas. A fractal vision of the world picture helps to detect and to substantiate it for the representatives of different cultures and worldviews.
The production of statements
The fractal concept can be the algorithm not only for understanding and explaining the world, but its designing through the production of statements. One can talk about returning to the state of the language, when words were grouped around certain ideas (work, rest, love, power); they were correlated, making their intellectual space. This unity can be found in the works of the early Greek philosophers: the verb grows out of the same semantic basis as the noun – as the same name, but taken in action. "Repeating the same words is like two pieces of one and the same language tissue" (Freidenberg, 1978). That is, to speak a speech, to think a thought.... One extracts further meaning to the activity and manifestations of what is referred to in the statement, following the linguistic rule of "pleonasm" – as detailed as possible, using all parts of speech and parts of the sentence to talk about important things out of seeming repetition. Let us take a sentence: "The terrible thunder rumbled loudly", not reducible to the literal and only meaning "thunder". In this sentence, each part of speech repeats what has been said. It bears the relation of a man to the value; it increases the effect of the value.
Even the post-modern, echoing N. Cusa, proved the system where the boundary was everywhere and the centre was nowhere. Although one can not make each person a philosopher and inculcates in him or her the idea of unity (Putnam, 1983), one can create a "cyclone" from other people's superficial knowledge and transmit it to the formation of scientific concepts. And then it is necessary to reach the field of "secret thoughts" and to show a person a different way to happiness. One should go from the "easy" names — pronouns, to adverbs, verbs, and complete judgments of common sense, rejecting naive and eclectic thoughts. The philosophy here should be realized by means of linguistics and psychology.
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19 February 2018
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Leonid, P. (2018). Linguistic Personality And Fake Reality. In I. B. Ardashkin, N. V. Martyushev, S. V. Klyagin, E. V. Barkova, A. R. Massalimova, & V. N. Syrov (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 35. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1066-1074). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2018.02.125