the logic of the sentence

tacandr

Member
Russian (Russia)
Hello everybody,
can you help me to sort out this sentence:

But despite these good intentions, forging close and productive ties with the local community is just one challenge faced by this new way of participatory thinking.

Namely, I can't quite understand the logic of the sentence. If this is just one challenge why despite then? After such an introduction, I would rather expect is just one of many challenges faced by.... And still the use of "despite" here is not obvious to me, maybe I don't know all the uses of this word.

thanks!


 
  • Le Pamplemousse

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I would rather expect is just one of many challenges faced by

    I would expect that also, and in fact, that is what the sentence implies. If it were only one challenge, it would probably say "the only challenge" or 'the challenge". I think "just one challenge" means "just one of the challenges".
     

    tacandr

    Member
    Russian (Russia)
    Le Pamplemousse said:
    I would expect that also, and in fact, that is what the sentence implies. If it were only one challenge, it would probably say "the only challenge" or 'the challenge". I think "just one challenge" means "just one of the challenges".

    La Pamplemousse, thanks a lot.

    In view of this, can the usage of "despite" here be justified by the fact that those good intentions failed to eliminate/overcome even one challenge? or is it justifiable at all?

    To me it makes the sentence ambiguous if not illogical because an intention, being totally intangible, cannot eliminate anything. Another cup of tea, if there were "actions" instead... does this reasoning make sense?
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    I suspect that you are not aware of the function played by intonation (the rise and a fall of the voice's pitch, its frequency in Hertz). You are correct, in the sentence you have, "just one" is a paraphrase of "just one of many". When 'just' has the simple meaning of "only", then the intonational stress falls on 'many' in "just one of many challenges", and it falls on 'one' in "just one challenge".

    I can easily explain "despite" and "just one". But they are not the only messy parts. I am not sure that the meaning of the sentence is logically sound. Let's try just expanding the grammatical structure in hope of better understanding the "logic". (My suggested expansion depends on what I suppose the logic to be, and I may be mistaken!)
    "Despite good intentions, participatory thinking is difficult to acquire (difficult to learn). There are many steps (obstacles, challenges) to acquiring participatory thinking, one of which is to forge close and productive ties . . . ."

    According to this analysis, it is revealed that the challenges are not faced by a "new way of participatory thinking", but by people who are trying to think in "a new way of participatory thinking".

    Just for the sake of completeness, let me note that "new way of participatory thinking" is ambiguous because of ambiguous logical scope. (In English syntax, at least, it is ambiguous). The scope of 'new' and participatory' are indeterminate. The entire phrase can mean either

    (a) new and participatory [way [of thinking] ];
    (b) new [way [of participatory thinking] ], that is, participatory thinking is already being practiced, here is a new way to do it.

    Of course, we must not forget that the word, 'participatory' is mysterious because it doesn't tell us who the participants are. And can there be such a thing as nonparticipatory thinking? :D

    tacandr said:
    Hello everybody,
    can you help me to sort out this sentence:

    But despite these good intentions, forging close and productive ties with the local community is just one challenge faced by this new way of participatory thinking.

    Namely, I can't quite understand the logic of the sentence. If this is just one challenge why despite then? After such an introduction, I would rather expect is just one of many challenges faced by.... And still the use of "despite" here is not obvious to me, maybe I don't know all the uses of this word.

    thanks!
     

    tacandr

    Member
    Russian (Russia)
    DaleC said:
    I suspect that you are not aware of the function played by intonation (the rise and a fall of the voice's pitch, its frequency in Hertz). You are correct, in the sentence you have, "just one" is a paraphrase of "just one of many". When 'just' has the simple meaning of "only", then the intonational stress falls on 'many' in "just one of many challenges", and it falls on 'one' in "just one challenge".

    .........................

    Of course, we must not forget that the word, 'participatory' is mysterious because it doesn't tell us who the participants are. And can there be such a thing as nonparticipatory thinking? :D

    hello DaleC,
    Well I think am aware of intonation and its multiple functions in any language but given a written sentence and no English-speaking author nearby...:)

    And your recompilation "Despite good intentions, participatory thinking is difficult to acquire (difficult to learn). There are many steps (obstacles, challenges) to acquiring participatory thinking, one of which is to forge close and productive ties . . . ." is just what I couldn't get and is very helpful.


    as for "participatory thinking" it means here "community-based management" as I can derive from the broader context available, so no problem with this.

    many thanks!
     
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