Questions tagged [meaning]

The relationship among signs and the kinds of things they intend, express, or signify; a concept central to semantics which is the study of how meaning comes about.

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Does Kant's scheme for the analytic/synthetic distinction have room for a (degenerate?) further distinction, for "hyperanalytical" knowledge?

Kant can be easily misread (or: I myself easily misread him, for a long time) as claiming that no "existence claims" are analytically knowable. Technically, though, his system has it that (...
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7 answers
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Does the success of AI (Large Language Models) support Wittgenstein's position that "meaning is use"?

By 'success' we think of current AI/LLMs capacity of producing text that is regarded as coherent, informative, even convincing, by human readers [see for instance Spitale et al. and Salvi et al.] ...
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Russell's "On Denoting"

“If u is a unit class, the u is a u.” This proposition ought to be always true, since the conclusion is true whenever the hypothesis is true. But “the u” is a denoting phrase, and it is the denotation,...
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What should I read on a journey of self discovery?

This year my goal is to do some self discovery. To understand my values, purpose, goals, and desires better. I think philosophy can help me with this. Where should I start? What reading would you ...
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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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What is respect? [closed]

“Respect”, “respectful”, and “disrespectful” are concepts we regularly hear being used, yet it has not always been clear to me if there is any essential underlying characteristic conveyed by these ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Why is Davidson's Swampman not an argument against Davidson's semantic theory?

In the swampman argument, Davidson imagines a character named Swampman, who is spontaneously formed from a swamp due to a freak lightning strike. This strike coincidentally arranges a swarm of ...
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7 answers
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Without good and evil, are we left with mediocrity only?

If there is no good or evil, then we could have done better with the climate crisis, we maybe could have stopped the world being burnt, but it doesn't matter, it's just that money was more important. ...
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If p then it is not obligatory to know p and if not p then it is not obligatory to know not p → not obligatory to know p or not p?

Suppose that if I am happy I am not obliged to know it, and if I am not happy I am not obliged to know it, then does that mean that I am not obliged to know if I am happy or not? It seems non ...
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Are some narratives worse than death?

Are some narratives worse than death? I'm not talking about psychological or physical suffering, but narratives (what actually happens, as we understand that, as humans) that are worse than it just ...
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Does the universe have an ultimate purpose? [closed]

Objective purpose is an alternative? Universal, fundamental purpose?
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Is philosophy the pursuit of wisdom? [closed]

What is philosophical discourse? What fundamental principles are involved?
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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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What is philosophical discourse? [closed]

Is philosophical discourse about the pursuit of wisdom? What principles are involved?
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Michael Dummett on the indeterminacy thesis

In his work "The Significance of Quine's Indeterminacy Thesis," Michael Dummett explores Quine's philosophy. In the beginning of section 3, he states: "Indeterminacy of translation ...
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Is meaning on the cognitive or meta cognitive level?

So if we didn't have meta cognition we wouldn't say I have anger, rather, we would say I am anger. Now, in the same way is finding meaning a cognitive or meta cognitive function? Naively, I would ...
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Is it possible for words to have a meaning other than how they are used?

Wittgenstein's language game concept holds that the meaning of a word can only be derived from its usage. However, some philosophers contend that some words have meanings other than that implied by ...
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Is there a domain of discourse in which the trivial/nontrivial distinction breaks down?

Let us suppose that we commonly imagine that problems have sets of solutions, wherein there are empty solutions, trivial ones, and then nontrivial ones. Add further that we have a relatively stable ...
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Can we evaluate life, existence and/or consciousness itself according to criteria that exist within it?

The idea of a criteria, of evaluation, of meaning, of assigning characteristics, of judging things as positive or negative or neutral, only exists as a subset of existence as far as I can tell. In ...
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Implicature justification for translating "P unless Q" as (¬Q → P)

In The Laws of Truth, Smith translates utterances of the form "P unless Q" as (¬Q → P) and takes the further suggestion that (Q → ¬P) to be an implicature of the utterance. The justification ...
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Does meaning begin with what can usefully be inferred?

There's linguistic meaning, and then there's meaning in the sense of purpose. I want to talk about a kind of non-linguistic, non-purposeful meaning. Let me give a few examples. You see that the lower ...
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3 answers
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Axioms, meaning, and notation

According to at least one philosophy of mathematics, the axioms determine the meaning of the primitive symbols that are used in the axioms. The phrase "used in" is somewhat imprecise, so ...
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What's the meaning of"reconstruction" and "elements" in the context? [closed]

An article on the topic of idealism claims that, from the idealist point of view: The universe can be comprehended through the mind, because both mind and the universe are reconstructed of the same ...
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Is asking to align on definition during a debate a derailling or disingenuous demand?

In a recent discussion with a group of friends, we found ourselves in a situation where we appeared to be using the same word, but it became evident that we held different meanings for it. At that ...
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What would it mean for the herd to be victorious over the overman?

What would it mean for the herd to be victorious over the overman? What would that amount to? I assume that the herd has its perverse plans, born out of ressentiment, for the ubermensch, and they will ...
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How does the Buddhist pursue meaning?

So I don't think positions like existentialism exist in Buddhist philosophy. I say this because the whole framing of causality is fundamentally different in Nagarjuna's treatise of dependent ...
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A position that claims meanings can't be abstract (but abstract objects still might exist)?

Is my titular question trivial, vacuous, encompasses every philosopher ever, none ever, or only encompasses a non-empty subset? I think there are different positions on it. If meanings aren't abstract,...
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Are there contemporary analytic defenders of the view that pattern/meaning is metaphysically fundamental and directly knowable?

Background: Much of philosophy since Kant has taken for granted that our basic experience of reality is structured by our cognitive apparatus, including notably our background conceptual frameworks. ...
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If it doesn't matter to you whether something is AI, then do you matter?

If it doesn't matter to you whether something is AI, then do you matter? I won't bother clarifying every inference (there's a few) that is being made there, if only because the conclusion is very ...
2 votes
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If a statement and its negation are in-principle-indistinguishable empirically, can it mean anything at all?

There exists a category of syntactically valid declarative statements which appear intuitively like they are descriptions of reality - but which no possible measurement could distinguish from their ...
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What is the idea is that "if a sentence is meaningless, then its negation is also meaningless"?

I remember hearing somewhere that this notion was a positivist or Wittgensteinian idea (?) but I cannot find info on it via Google search or Chat-GPT. I am curious whether this criterion is true, ...
2 votes
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What does J.S. Mill mean by "if they can once get their creed taught from authority"?

What does J.S. Mill mean by "if they can once get their creed taught from authority"? Does it mean that they receive the authority's creed and consider it their own creed, or that they ...
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How does culture add meaning to acts?

Suppose we take Thanksgiving in America, then on the day of it, eating a turkey is expected and seen as a highly meaningful activity. However, eating it the day after, or a week after or a month after,...
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Is the pleasure of drugs better than long term achievements? [closed]

If there are currently drugs which release more dopamine and other chemicals in the brain on a level which cannot be replicated naturally, why aren't more people taking them, considering you cannot ...
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Where is the line between semantics and ontology?

To be more specific, for a long time, it's seemed to me that a lot of open questions in philosophy, such as "What is consciousness?" or "What is truth?" come down, in large part, ...
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A refutation of Kripke's Feynman-Gellman case?

McGinn explains Kripke's Feynman-Gellman problem as follows (Philosophy of Language: The Classics Explained) Most people are not experts in physics and will not be able to tell you what Feynman's ...
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Comedy we play everyday and pretend everything is fine?

I am sure it has a name or is covered by a movement, and I am sure that many philosophers have already talked about this, but I have this on my mind more and more everyday. It is obvious, but how can ...
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How does one discover their personal meaning?

The question stems from this question. I attempted an answer, but the question I mentioned here was the obstruction from finishing. In the conventional sense, as also put by the question, meaning is, ...
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What is the meaning of "epistemic", "epistemological" and "ontological" in this context?

I was reading The Outer Limits of Reason: What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us by Noson S. Yanofsky and in some paragraphs of this books, The writer uses the words "epistemic",...
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Where does this concept of existence fall?

In exploring the questions of existence, I came to this concept. I am curious if anyone has any feedback or can point me to any other materials or ideas that relate to this? I am sure I am not the ...
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For what theories of meaning are ambiguous referents problematic?

Suppose I am talking to an English friend of mine and I say, "Boston is in Massachusetts." Since I am referring to the American city, I consider this sentence to be true. My friend evaluates ...
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Reversed Twin Earth: example from history of science

I'm looking for a real example from history of science, in which one thing is discovered to actually be two different things. This is a kind of a reversed Twin Earth experiment: Oscar's community is ...
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Can you think of the bible as organising logos?

Can you think of the bible as organising logos? I know there are different readings of the bible, as myth, as parable, as event, etc.. What sort of reading is that claim, that the Christian bible ...
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What decides when a conceptual analysis is 'complete'?

When an analysis of a concept is given like "A bachelor is an unmarried male." How is it decided if the analysis is correct and complete? Is there any way we can 'check' an analysis?
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Do we have to know certain things in order to die authentically happily?

Do we have to know certain things in order to die authentically happily? I am especially interested in things we don't need to know know in order to live happily, but nevertheless we do to die happily....
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Devising mathematical or quantitative theories of meaning

Around 1948, the mathematician and electrical engineer Claude E. Shannon presented work that would eventually lead to information theory. A mathematical theory based on uncertainty and probability, ...
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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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What is the meaning of "natural"?

It's a term we all know, like "time". We all know what it means but when trying to explain it the difficulties start. For example, in trying to explain time circularity enters the ...
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What is the word for a thing with meaning?

Assumptions: Let X be one of a fact, a set of facts, event, place, idea, statement, etc. with meaning. X may mean something different or nothing at all to a given person. The meaning of X is the set ...
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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 ...