I need a precise understanding of the concept 'content'.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by d10kim, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. d10kim New Member

    English-US / Korean (bilingual)
    Hi,

    So by 'content' I am referring to the term that connotes something like 'substance', not 'satisfaction'.

    More specifically, are the following two statements the same in content or different?

    (A) "Driving a car is wrong"
    (B) "Driving a car is morally wrong because they emit carbon emissions which pollute the atmosphere, thus causing weather related maladies. However, driving a car may be permissible in urgent matters or when it is necessary for life-saving or humanity-benefitting related instances or practices."

    What is important for me to note is that the first statement is spoken by the agent to mean the exact same thing (so in regards to the same subject matter) as the second except without the detailed explanation as to why.

    In that context, are statements (A) and (B) the same in content or different?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Cheshire
    English / England
    I would say there are different in content for the simple reason that one of them contains a lot more detail and information.



    They might be said to be the same in meaning, but I would be prepared to argue the point at that level too!

    What is your real reason for posing this question?
     
  3. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    "Content" means what it contains. I agree with Suzi - the two sentences clearly contain very different amounts of information, and therefore cannot be considered to have the same content.
     
  4. d10kim New Member

    English-US / Korean (bilingual)
    Thanks for the reply Suzi/Glas

    So then content is directly related to amount of information/detail that is contained in a statement and not strictly just the subject matter involved?

    Also, this is for a paper I am writing where I was confused by (did not quite understand) the feedback my advisor gave me.
     
  5. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    I agree with the above and get the impression that you have misread the nuance of "content" meaning "substance" as shown in the WRD for content

    As a side note, you do not tell us the source of your quoted statements, but (B) is poorly written and perhaps not the product of a native English speaker.
     
  6. d10kim New Member

    English-US / Korean (bilingual)
    Thanks Graham,

    The WRD link you provided was helpful but perhaps it is just my own stubbornness but I wanted to ask this question one more time.

    For clarity, are the two following statements then the same in content?
    (A) Donating to charity is right.
    (B) I ought to donate to charity.

    (To me at least they are the same in content, the content being about donating to charity)

    Regarding your side note. Actually I put the quotes on just to express that they are propositions. Both statements were written by me (in my paper) and were not actual quotes pulled from somewhere but actually (B) was kind of roughly written off memory. The actual sentence I wrote in my paper was:
    Morally, it is always wrong to drive a car because driving cars emits carbon emissions which pollute the atmosphere, thus causing weather related maladies. However, driving a car may be permissible in absolutely urgent matters or when it is absolutely necessary such as for live-saving or humanity-benefitting related instances or practices.

    I would appreciate it if you let me know whether this statement is also poorly written and why (run-on perhaps).
     
  7. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    No, and they are not even the same concept. (Approval does not imply obligation)
     
  8. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    You seem to be confusing, as sdgraham already pointed out, content and substance.
    content : the information contained
    substance : the main message(s)
    form : the way it is written

    Consider (example from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_depletion#Ozone_hole_and_its_causes ) :
    The Antarctic ozone hole is an area of the Antarctic stratosphere in which ozone levels have dropped
    The Antarctic ozone hole is an area of the Antarctic stratosphere in which the recent ozone levels have dropped to as low as 33% of their pre-1975 values

    Here the form and substance are similar but the content is different - the second contains more information - it has more content.
     
  9. Truffula

    Truffula Senior Member

    English - USA
    Here is an example where one could say that the content of A and B are the same.

    A) "Driving a car is morally wrong because they emit carbon emissions which pollute the atmosphere, thus exacerbating climate change."
    B) Driving a car is wrong. Why? Because when you drive a car, the exhaust increases air pollution. This is making climate change worse.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'm just wondering, d10kim: are you by any chance thinking of the word context, rather than content?
     
  11. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Cheshire
    English / England
    "About". That is the word you need. The sentences are about the same topic but do not have the same content on the topic.
     
  12. d10kim New Member

    English-US / Korean (bilingual)
    Thank you all for your input. I talked to my advisor and realized my confusion was due to the fact that content is used as a technical term in my field (philosophy).
     

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