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[xmca] word meaning and experience

I was reading an article  "Will and Anxiety" by Leslie Farber published in
1964 in Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry.  Farber is
exploring how word meaning changes historically and these historical changes
have profound effects on how we perceive experiences.  Farber is reflecting
on the term "anxiety" and the nature of the experience it describes.  He
asks if anxiety is a "particular" experience or a "general category" meant
to cover a range of painful states.  Before the advent f psychology as a
science Webster's dictionary listed its meaning as a "painful uneasiness of
mind over an impending or anticipated ill".  What we call "anxiety" today
might in another time have been rendered as apprehension, fear, fright,
tremor, uncertainty, uneasiness, dread, restlessness, worry, shakiness,
trepedition, desperation, palpitations, queasiness, agitation, anguish,
alienation, or cowardice according to WHICH EXPERIENCE we wished to
describe.  These various terms point to "novelistic" PRECISION which
contrasts with the psychological search for language to convey HYPOTHETICAL
PRINCIPLES [abstract and general] which govern psychological systems or
models.  Farber is drawing our attention to the fact that theoretical
language is not to be confused with EXPERIENCE.    He points out the
ambiguity of meaning with a term such as "anxiety" as USED in  psychology.
It is never made clear whether the term indicates a PARTICULAR experience,
or an ABSTRACT way of theorizing about a variety of experiences.  As a
result, historically within psychology, the term "anxiety" which at first
was an abstraction, now passes itself off as an EXPERIENCE itself, rather
than a way of TALKING ABOUT experience.
Farber points out that in our SCIENTIFIC AGE it is always a danger that
theoretical abstract terms may tresspass their original scientific
boundaries and become habitual common-sense conventional terms.  Experience

This article was written from another discourse framework or hermeneutical
"tradition" [psychotherapy] but is an example of the interplay of language
and experience. Farber, by contrasting particular "novelistic" ways of
describing experience with the evolution of the term "anxiety" within
scientific forms of discourse, the word meaning evolves to a more
abstract SYSTEM of  word meanings. Farber's description of how the meaning
of the term "anxiety" changed is a concrete example of linquistic
relativity.  Lucy and Wertsch in their article talked about the interplay of
language and thought as both developing the possibilities of human
consciousness [Vygotsky] and the implications for the limits and constraints
of human language.[Whorf].  Farber's reflections on the historical evolution
of word meaning for the  term "anxiety" and its shifting relation to
experiences is one example of this process

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