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Humanities LibreTexts

5: Obstacles to Better Communication

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    • Contributed by Bradley H. Dowden
    • Professor (Philosophy) at California State University Sacramento

    This chapter is designed to reveal some of the major pitfalls in normal communication. Usually your goal is to communicate well. You want to be clear, to be precise, and to get the message across with the proper tone. But not always. There are many reasons for not wanting to directly say what you mean. That birthday present from Aunt Bessie deserves a thank you, but you don't want to tell her that the present itself is useless to you. And when you insert into your history essay the famous remark "History is a pack of tricks played on the dead," you don't intend to be taken literally. However, this chapter explores the logical aspects of good communication when you do want to say what you mean and mean what you say. This goal is not always easy to achieve, as we will see.

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