**NOTE: This tag should not be used.** For questions about the nature of meaning, please use "philosophy-of-language" if you want to ask about the meaning of some quote or idea, please use the name of that idea.

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What does Sartre mean by “freedom alone can account for a person in his totality”?

Could you please tell me what is the meaning of Sartre's saying: "freedom alone can account for a person in his totality"?
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75 views

In laymen terms, What is the meaning of 'meaning' in the the question “is there meaning to life”

Every now and then people talk about whether there is meaning to life, including myself. However recently I have realised I have assumed the definition. My understanding of it is that it is asking ...
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2answers
39 views

Did Quine have another reason to be skeptical of reference besides its context-dependence?

Quine, like many others before him, thought that the meaning of words depends on the context they are in. But what compelled Quine to hold that in light of this there is an ambiguity as to what any ...
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2answers
47 views

Why did Wittgenstein think that only something that could be doubted could have meaning?

One of the reasons Wittgenstein thought the exclusive use of ostensive definition failed was because it opened the possibility that a given symbol's meaning was sourced from whatever sensation someone ...
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2answers
48 views

How do we know that Wyman and McX aren't the same person?

Quine thought that only that which exists can be referred to, or in other words 'to be is to be the value of a bound variable'. However, what of his equally famous fictional characters Wyman and McX?...
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3answers
60 views

Is “A and not-A” meaningful (and false) or meaningless?

Is there any phrase of the form "A and not-A" that is meaningful? We can imagine vernacular expressions with that form that carry meaning. I could say, "I do like France and at the same time I don't ...
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3answers
104 views

What is the nature of pragmatism as a claim? Can pragmatism ever be understood as a claim in light of its own conditions?

Pragmatism is the suggestion that truth-value and meaning should be talked about in terms of the way we use those terms. All such talk should be hashed out in terms of the practical bearings of such ...
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2answers
58 views

What is the difference between propositional sign and proposition in Wittgenstein's Tractatus?

While explaining the problem of what philosophy is according to Wittgenstein's Tractatus, Frank P. Ramsey says: a propositional sign is clear insofar as the internal properties of its sense are ...
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1answer
115 views

Do Wittgenstein and Quine give the same criticisms of semantics?

What is the connection between the criticisms offered by Wittgenstein and Quine of meaning and language? Are both philosophers generally criticizing the same semantic theories with similar arguments, ...
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37 views

Meaning in Current Philosophy

I know that the question of the definition of meaning was one of the hotter topics in early/mid-20th century (and some later 19th century) philosophy, but I haven't heard too much about it, recently. ...
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1answer
55 views

Can meaning indeterminately be said to be indeterminate?

James Ross has given several reasons as to why he believes thought (and formal thought especially) is determinate. Among these, and under a formulation put forward by the contemporary philosopher ...
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1answer
65 views

What responses have made to Kripke's criticism of the descriptivist theory of meaning?

Under the influence of Kripke's acute analysis, there has been a growing trend of modern essentialism, or in other words, the assertion that there are 'essential' descriptors (rigid designators) that '...
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1answer
78 views

Was indeterminacy of linguistic meaning, as understood by Quine, anticipated by the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition?

Quine held that the meaning of words was indeterminate. The reasons he holds this view all seem to have in common a certain aspect; the indeterminacy that occurs occurs within what might be called '...
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3answers
145 views

Can a life have a trivial meaning if it's all there is?

I was thinking about (something like) Nagel's view from nowhere When one takes up this most external standpoint and views one's finite—and even downright puny—impact on the world, little of one'...
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40 views

How do debates about meaning affect the status of personal religious beliefs?

Debates about the meaning of meaning cut across the analytic/continental divide. According to externalist accounts (e.g. Kripke-Putnam's) people believe, or even know, that beeches are different from ...
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61 views

Is taking a drug that makes us mentally go back in time and simulate our life in sleep the same as doing it “physically”? [closed]

Imagine if you had done something really bad in the past which had caused you suffering in the present. You really want to go back in time and change it. Unfortunately, at the moment, it's impossible ...
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0answers
27 views

Does Ricoeur Elaborate His Essay in a Book?

I'm reading "the model of the text : meaningful action considered as a text" in New Literary History by Paul Ricoeur, and I'm wondering if there Ricoeur has a more extended treatment of this elsewhere ...
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58 views

Is Nietzsche saying here that agnostics admire the unintelligible?

I need help understanding the last two paragraphs of the 25th section, third essay, which is provided below from the free link: http://home.sandiego.edu/~janderso/360/genealogy3.htm Similarly who ...
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2answers
39 views

“To experience person to person – artist to viewer – a shared sensation”

What does the second half of this paragraph mean? In viewing art, we recognise that we are not alone, confined by our mental and physical boundaries. We merge into a collective consciousness. Of ...
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2answers
71 views

What is the reflection of a mind discarded?

It's my first time in the Philosophy section of Stack Exchange. Since I am a non-native speaker, normally I ask questions in English Language Learners. However, I thought this one was in the field of ...
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3answers
242 views

Is there a point to arguing about the meaning of words?

Firstly, I should mention that I am not sure, whether this the right place to ask such a question, but I am trying it anyway. Furthermore, one could say I come from a mathematics background and I am ...
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4answers
363 views

How does Putnam's twin earth thought experiment disprove functionalism?

In the twin Earth thought experiment Putnam determines that meanings are not in the head. Later interpretations, by himself and by others, take it to falsify functionalism. It seems to me that the ...
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3answers
245 views

Is there an idea of linguistic realism similar to moral realism?

The better way to phrase it is: "Are there objective truths about language?" -- this question is parallel to the question of moral realism: "Are there objective moral truths"? One way to interpret ...
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4answers
164 views

Why are some communication failures regarded as important opinions in philosophy?

As a newbie here (though not on SO or on the net before that) I am surprised at the number of questions about what some philosopher meant. Examples, just picked from the time point of writing this ...
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1answer
115 views

What is “moral pathos”? [closed]

What is meant by “moral pathos”? I am not sure how to define it as a term. Examples: Have seen it in various contexts, but I'm afraid I have marked me the term more then where and when; thus all I ...
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1answer
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What is there so much of, is his property? (Locke 1690) [closed]

Source: Sec 32, The Second Treatise of Civil Government, 1690, by John Locke As much land as a man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and can use the product of, so much is his property. He by ...
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1answer
45 views

How's it true that all mankind 'will but consult reason'? [closed]

Source: Sec 6, The Second Treatise of Civil Government, 1690, by John Locke The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches ...
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2answers
82 views

Why are propositions about Hamlet false while propositions about Louis XIX meaningless?

The following is an excerpt from Russell's "My Philosophical Development," Chapter XIV Universals and Particulars and Names: 'Hamlet' pretends to be a name, but is not; and all statements about ...
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2answers
48 views

Saussure and idealism

If terms are arbitrary designations like Saussure says then does semantic idealism [language does not refer beyond itself] not collapse into scepticism?
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7answers
573 views

When is Mathematics not about counting?

A comment on an answer I posted asserted that "Mathematics is NOT always about counting". My thoughts were that if there's a unit (inches / milligrams / light years etc), then someting is being ...
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4answers
1k views

Understanding Grice's Theory of (Non-Natural) Meaning

I am trying to understand Paul Grice's famous essay "Meaning". So consider a computer system which is fed a dictionary of every English word in existence. The computer system then randomly spits out ...
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1answer
73 views

Consciousness and its relationship to Category Theory [closed]

Since consciousness is implicitly understood/used in the use of categories , could we consider it a "fundamental" functor ? Category Theory is very general (covering/useful) to many fields now ...
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211 views

What is an “unarticulated background”?

Does a sentence only mean something because it draws on knowledge outside of itself? Take 2 + 2 = 4: is it a tautology? No: it depends on a conception of '+', which is not located within that sentence/...
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4answers
142 views

Can empty universe have any significance?

Let's consider a universe such that: The laws of physics do not allow life or any other consciousness to be formed within it. There's no outside observer of that universe (e.g. God or an ...
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2answers
279 views

Albert Camus on the meaning of life?

What is wrong (if anything) with the reasoning in the following quote by Albert Camus, and why? I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others ...
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2answers
67 views

Term for skepticism about whether a concept is meaningful

What is the term for the philosophical stance that a given concept which people seem to imbue with meaning actually has no meaning, especially if this means it makes no sense to speak of believing in ...
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6answers
147 views

Should “meaning”, as we experience it, be considered qualia?

By qualia - assume as defined in [wikipedia]:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia, give or take ( up to you ) By "meaning as we experience it", perhaps I could just say "meaning", but i want to ...
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2answers
185 views

Can Frege coherently admit expressions that have a sense but lack a reference?

I am looking here for any sources that respond to the question given: Can Frege coherently admit expressions that have a sense but lack a reference? I am familiar with a lot of the exegetical work ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the difference between 'meaning' and 'reference' for Putnam?

In Reason, Truth and History, Putnam talks about 'meaning' and 'reference', but I don't understand the difference between the two for him. He says: what goes on inside our head does not determine ...
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2answers
1k views

What does this quote from Einstein mean? [closed]

Common sense invents and constructs no less than its own field than science does in its domain. It is, however, in the nature of common sense not to be aware of this situation. source
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Difference between ‘determinism’ and ‘fatalism’

What is the difference between determinism and fatalism?
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2answers
691 views

How does Derrida explain the possibility of meaningful communication and linguistic coordination?

Consider this passage on Derrida and meaning (from here): The search for an 'essential reality' or 'origin' or 'truth' is futile, because "...language bears within itself the necessity of its ...
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2answers
85 views

Is there any quantifiable way to determine irony?

Irony has always been one of the most subjective words/ideas in the common language. I wonder if this is a perception or a lack of understanding of the concept at a deep rooted level. When does a "...
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2answers
474 views

What does “is true” mean in the phrase “a philosophical position is true”?

I have run into an online discussion about philosophies and world views (theism, atheism, humanism, nihilism, and all the other "isms") where phrases like "*ism is true" and "*ism is false" are used. ...
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4answers
278 views

Is meaning distinct from language?

Many theories of speech describe speech acts as being phenomena with both a sign and signified aspect. ( http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/meaning/ etc.) In another perspective, which is exemplified ...