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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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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 ...
Stefan Perko's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
Amit Hagin's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
198 views

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 ...
Amit Hagin's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
649 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. ...
Eva's user avatar
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9 votes
6 answers
295 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 ...
Gush's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
George's user avatar
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4 answers
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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 ...
JSavant's user avatar
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8 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
BestAboutMe's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
2k 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, ...
Esse's user avatar
  • 309
8 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Dave's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
Amit Hagin's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is verificationism dead?

A long time ago, I was taught that logical positivism, though very productive in explicating what it means for one science to reduce to another (e.g. chemistry to physics), died because the ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
289 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. ...
Goob's user avatar
  • 313
7 votes
3 answers
188 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 ...
Ray Kay's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
635 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/...
labreuer's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
John Cooper's user avatar
6 votes
7 answers
2k 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 ...
user2808054's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
454 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 ...
Amit Hagin's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
680 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....
user3457798's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Dennis's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
franz1's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
Mathmo's user avatar
  • 316
5 votes
1 answer
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What does “there is something that it is like” in Thomas Nagel's “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” mean?

I was reading The enigma of human consciousness in ANNALS of the New York Academy of Sciences and this came up: think it’s very hard to define consciousness in terms of anything more basic than ...
Daruis soli's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
2k 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?...
Mos's user avatar
  • 735
5 votes
1 answer
234 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 '...
Ovid 's user avatar
  • 183
4 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
167 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 ...
Goob's user avatar
  • 313
4 votes
1 answer
407 views

Is all language meaningful?

Wittgenstein claimed that many philosophers misuse language and write nonsense. He later claimed that a private language, one that cannot in principle be understood, is impossible. Does that suggest ...
user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
331 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 ...
Dr Sister's user avatar
  • 1,770
3 votes
4 answers
276 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 ...
Cheers and hth. - Alf's user avatar
3 votes
7 answers
1k 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 ...
Guambra Feo's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
280 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 ...
George Chen's user avatar
  • 2,178
3 votes
4 answers
140 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 ...
tkruse's user avatar
  • 2,899
3 votes
2 answers
326 views

If I think life has meaning, then does that mean life is not meaningless? [closed]

I see some people say that life/existence is meaningless. However, I assign existence with meaning, therefore it's NOT meaningless. Yes?
AntiTruthist's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
178 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 ...
John Cooper's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
180 views

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....
user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
111 views

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, ...
Davius's user avatar
  • 661
3 votes
1 answer
130 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(https://www.jstor.org/stable/20114563). He states that ...
Nathan Gabriel's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
257 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 ...
blackened's user avatar
  • 395
3 votes
2 answers
236 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 ...
Uğur Erdem Seyfi's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
393 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 ...
A.K.'s user avatar
  • 133
3 votes
2 answers
8k 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 ...
user5212's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
220 views

What word do we use when we can't find an adequate one to convey what we mean?

Our unconscious minds do not process words, which are far too cumbersome and limited. They process meaning, which originates with stimulation and then moves from Recognition to Evaluation, Reaction ...
Christopher's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
293 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 ...
tr robom's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
442 views

Marcus Aurelius' progression in stoic thought

In what is ascribed to be Verse 18, Book V of Marcus Aurelius' Mediations, Marcus writes: [1] "Nothing happens to any man which he is not formed by nature to bear." Alternative ...
TomDot Com's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
143 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?
C. Stroud's user avatar
  • 505
3 votes
2 answers
336 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 ...
Ovid 's user avatar
  • 183
2 votes
2 answers
102 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 ...
John Cooper's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
106 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 ...
echristopherson's user avatar