Assumptions in communication

All communication relies on assumptions, for example about the meanings of words. If someone says: „Pass the salt, please,” then without assumptions, endless clarifications would be needed about the meaning of „pass” and „salt”, about the language used and whether the request is a joke or carries some hidden meaning. If the requester clarifies: „I did not mean it as a joke, I really want you to give me the salt,” then clarifications about the clarification would result. Again, the clarification may be a joke (we shouldn’t assume it is not) or use words like „not” in an ironic way with meaning the opposite of the usual (we shouldn’t assume the usual meaning). There would be an endless cycle of clarifying the clarifications of… of clarifications.

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