the undefinable

As John Newman said with respect of definitions of communication: “The diversity and complexity of communication is such that a generally accepted definition becomes so profoundly involved that it hinders rather than helps further thought on the subject.” He proposes picking a meaning (not the meaning) which will permit us to speak intelligibly to one another–and proceed with our research.

Newman, John B. “A Rationale for a Definition of Communication,” The Journal of Communication, 10: 115-124, 1960.

as quoted in

Harrison, Randall P. and Knapp, Mark L. “Toward an Understanding of Nonverbal Communication Systems,” The Journal of Communication, 22: 339-352, 1972.

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