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Questions tagged [meaning]

**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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With infinite language would the meaning of words collapse?

If our language was infinite to describe an infinite amount of objects, would it even be possible for any of those concepts to mean anything? My intuition is that the meaning of a word is given to it ...
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Under what definitions of truth and knowledge (especially Bayesian) are 'definitely knowing' and 'certain' different

Under what definitions of truth and knowledge are 'definitely knowing' and 'certain' different? Apologies if too much of a semantic question, but I think we should agree that we can have a sense of ...
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Meaning in use and naturalisation of intentionality

What is the relation between pragmatism and intentionality? Two different enterprises in philosophy seem to be well established and yet contradicting: Inferential Pragmatism: from Wittgenstein and ...
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4answers
186 views

The myth of the given and externalism

According to Wilfrid Sellars any talk of a given out there should be condemned as a mere myth. Therefore, nothing from the physical world outside can limit our language - the "space of reason", and ...
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94 views

Which philosophers would argue that hard determinism makes life more purposeful than randomness?

It appears to me that randomness could or could not produce something meaningful but either way hard determinism seems a better bet. Is there a writer who explores this territory?
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80 views

How do you talk about unclear or indefinite statements

In logic a statement can be the assertion that is made by a true or false declarative sentence... a statement is viewed as a truth bearer However, in everyday speech a statement is a definite ...
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3answers
151 views

What analytic philosophers were concerned with meaninglessness?

What analytic philosophers were concerned primarily with meaninglessness, and where can I read what they said about it? I just find the idea interesting, but I want to circumvent existentialism for a ...
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0answers
103 views

In which sense Quine denies that the translated expressions do have a meaning?

Early on Kuhn drew a parallel with Quine's thesis of the indeterminacy of translation (1970a, 202; 1970c, 268). According to the latter, if we are translating one language into another, there are ...
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1answer
120 views

What does it mean to say what happens in your experience is inside your mind in a way in which what happens in your brain is not?

"If what happens in your experience is inside your mind in a way in which what happens in your brain is not, it looks as though your experiences and other mental states can't just be physical ...
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2answers
147 views

Philosophical approach for discussing the meaning of many words?

I lack a good background in philosophy and often get stuck while trying to understand it. There is a particular issue that keeps me from understanding or enjoying or appreciating many videos or texts ...
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1answer
125 views

Is “quality of life” an in-efficacious measure for a “meaningful life”?

Definitions Quality of life (QOL) is the general well-being of individuals and societies, outlining negative and positive features of life. It observes life satisfaction, including everything from ...
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243 views

In the joke about math vs. philosophy, why don't philosophy departments need erasers? [closed]

I don't understand the joke (before the era computing) quoted by Peter Flom: The math department is the 2nd cheapest one to supply in the university: All the[y] need are pencils, paper and erasers. ...
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182 views

Purposelessness and DNA Propagating

Positivist evolutionary biologists claim that living beings are nothing but byproduct of purposeless random evolution. (For example, say, a flower is just a DNA propagating machine.) I am especially ...
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4answers
72 views

Can purpose be attributed to events without grounding in agency

As observers we observe events around us. All events have causes, either deterministic causes or non-deterministic ones. As observers however we can additionally attribute purpose (or meaning as in ...
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4answers
165 views

Help to explain the meaning of work beyond the sole purpose of making money

My brother is obsessed with money and I feel like the sole reason he works is to make money, I think in your work you should aim for goals of higher value ie. not only should you earn money but your ...
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2answers
210 views

What makes our words different than symbols like X?

There is an issue that blurs my head. For instance, lets have a proposition p that says: “X is round”. X is a symbol that we could mark something into. If we say X is an orange fruit, then the ...
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244 views

What is Derrida's différance?

I am very perplexed by the concept of différance. Is it even a concept at all? I've had some sources saying otherwise. How should I interpret this?
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3answers
89 views

Does an overridden duty still exist while it is overridden?

I'm an LSAT instructor and I've been stuck on the following LSAT question ever since I first saw it. This question is in the only freely available LSAT (Section 3, #18). If this question is ...
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2answers
69 views

What's the name of the argumentation position / logical fallacy of saying “well prove it doesn't exist”

For e.g someone says they believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. When you ask for evidence they reply: "well, prove it doesn't exist!" Surely it's the prerogative of the believer to provide ...
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1answer
79 views

What is the name of the fallacy when someone conflates a motivation for one of the variables?

Some examples: "An atheist killed someone. They killed them because they were an atheist." "A man strangled his wife. He is clearly a misogynist." As you can see, one variable has been extrapolated ...
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3answers
1k views

What fallacy infers motivation from mere description?

Here's some example: "Men dominate women in the majority of fortune top 100 CEO positions" "Women dominate men in primary school teaching jobs" Neither the men nor the women are actually purposely ...
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3answers
44 views

What's the term/phrase when someone assumes you take on the diametrically opposed view simply because you negate a position?

What's the term/phrase when someone assumes that you take on the diametrically opposed view simply because you disagree with a position? For example, I recently posted an article challenging ...
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391 views

What are the relations between externalism (Kripke, Putnam) and holism (Quine) about meaning?

Three points are not clear to me about the relations between semantic externalism (Kripke, Putnam) and holism (Quine): Is there a way according to which externalism and holism can be held together or ...
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2answers
346 views

Some questions on “context” in Mathematical Logic

Recently I was having a discussion with user21820 in this chatroom. There very naively (in the sense that I didn't choose carefully each word of my following statement) I expressed the opinion that, ...
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4answers
5k views

What is the difference between responsibility and commitment?

I was recently looking at philosophy of responsibility, and something interesting which I had not thought about before, was that the way we use "responsibility" includes things not necessarily caused ...
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226 views

Can there be a sufficient account of meaning without an account of intentionality?

Much has been said in recent philosophy in criticism of representationalist theories of meaning. The idea is that any representation can represent what it will only in a prior, limiting context. ...
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113 views

Would a pragmatist allow that meaning is representational of things in its use?

Pragmatism contends that use should be stressed when talking about the meaning of words before 'representation'. But what if we were to look at signification/representation as a sort of activity? If ...
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1answer
67 views

How are you intended to interpret x.R and x.S in Davidson “Truth and Meaning”?

I'm entirely unfamiliar with the syntax and corresponding semantics Davidson uses for the four equations at the beginning of Truth and Meaning. He states that the following sentences are supposed to ...
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44 views

Are anti-realists faced with a point where they have to take for granted the referential function of words to things that are not words?

Pragmatism is strongly associated with anti-realism, the view that words are meaningful not because they represent a reality independent of the word itself but because of how they are used in a given ...
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223 views

How do pragmatists explain how words attach to things in reality?

If I'm feeling particularly despotic I can tell my daughter to go pick me up an apple in the dining room. A couple of seconds later and I am greeted with the thunk of an apple dropping on my lap. ...
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1answer
51 views

Writings on meaning within a materialist framework

Most people in 2016 who are paying attention accept the materialist perspective, that is that the scope of the universe is made up of physical phenomena that follow natural laws. For the brunt of ...
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4answers
489 views

Is Peirce's pragmatic maxim self-evident?

Peirce's pragmatic maxim seems to have an appeal, at least as a "tiebreaker": Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have....
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145 views

In laymen's 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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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
159 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
680 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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7answers
513 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
512 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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860 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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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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1answer
148 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
378 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
154 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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1k 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's ...
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75 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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119 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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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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220 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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47 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
280 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 ...