“Most troublesome of all are the Idols of the Marketplace, misconceptions that have crept in through words and names. Words tend to oversimplify what they represent. Some words name things that do not exist or that are ill defined; others can be interpreted in a variety of ways and lack a clear, specific meaning. Different classes of words — nouns, verbs, adjectives — contain different degrees of distortion.”
In the above excerpt from Lee Jacobus’s “A World of Ideas”, the author pretty much sums up how flawed our perception of things is as human beings on the most basic level of our humanness, our unique ability to communicate through language. I mostly admire how sharp and simple he put it as, “misconceptions that have crept in through words and names.” In it, the word misconceptions itself hits the nail right on the head and is perfect example that is a perfect example of what the author is pointing to regarding his theory of Idols of the Marketplace. Simply put, how many of us has ever taken the time to give this word any thought to understand the importance of it in our daily conversations with others and ourselves? I’m sure if not for this assignment, that I would never have taken the time to look it up in various dictionaries.
According toDictionary.com, it is defined as “an erroneous conception; mistaken notion” and is indicated that it originates from adding the prefix mis toconception. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of the word, conception within the context of its use within the excerpt is, “a general idea.” By combining these two definitions up, it can also be said that a misconception is a general erroneous idea about something. To underline the importance of the word even further, it might be necessary to define the word, general which according to Dictionary.com is “not specific or definite.” Basically, something general is something that is not definite or indefinite. So here we have it, ultimately, a misconception is an indefinitely erroneous idea.
Now that I have a proper and generally accepted idea that isn’t erroneous about the word, misconception, I fully understand the point the author is trying to make which is clearly that we have indefinitely erroneous ideas inherent in our communication through language. It’s almost as though, the one main thing that defines us as humans, the ability to define things, is our biggest downfall. Before I went out of my way to understand just one simple word as misconception, I understood the excerpt differently than after I had taken