The meaning of “meaning”.
Posted: 04 January 2009 04:04 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Thinking whether “supernatural” has any meaning (how can something that exists be super-existance???  ) I have come to the conclusion that I am not sure about the concept of meaning at all. Do you have good explanations for what “meaning” and “definition” are?


My shot:

I would use as basic terms the terms “referent” and “definition”

A referent is ” all the objects that correspond to a certain word in the real word”.
A definition is     “the words that one would use to describe a word to a person that doesn’t know what objects correspond to it”.


Words like “supernatural” are bait and switch words. Their actual definitions have no referents.  “Outside the world” has no referents, and cannot have. But the way people who use “supernatural” really define their term is more close to “awesome”, “amazing”, “wow”, “dude, I cannot understand this”. However, if someone asks them for a definition of “supernatural”, they do not give the real emotional definition inside their heads, but give a phony definition (“outside the world”), which is not the true one, but looks way more respectable.

And now I can outline the usages of “meaning” in the common language.

“meaning” is used as
              (1) a referent of a word
              (2) the definition of a word.
              (3) the phony definition of a word.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Gah! Meaning is a huge subject in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, etc. It’s otherwise known as “semantics”.

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Posted: 02 December 2009 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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i think meaning is one of those things that we intuitively know, accept and apply even if we lack the words to define it.  things can be understood by their definitions or they can also be understood by their purpose.  one can understand what a table is by having it’s dimensions and physical appearance defined but one could also understand what a table is by knowing what it is used for.  we intuitively know what meaning is not by definition, but by our everyday use of it in rational thinking.  one must always attribute meaning to one’s words if one expects his words to have any relevance to reality.  if we don’t attribute meaning to our words then what is the point of asking what meaning means?

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Posted: 02 December 2009 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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True, but one of the major problems in trying to communicate is our using words with varying definitions (meanings).  Quite often we have subtle differences in our definitions of the words we use.  Each person sees the word as describing a party of reality, but they happen to be somewhat different parts.

An extremely difficult problem to deal with is the person who redefines his/her words according to his/her desires rather than using them in consonance with the dictionary definitions.

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S.I. Hayakawa - Irregular conjugations:  “I am husky.  You are plump.  He is a fat slob.”

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Posted: 04 December 2009 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Lewis Carroll wrote:

“When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

oh oh

From the wiki on semiotics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiotics

Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of sign processes (semiosis), or signification and communication, signs and symbols, and is usually divided into three branches:

  * Semantics: Relation between signs and the things to which they refer; their denotata
  * Syntactics: Relations among signs in formal structures
  * Pragmatics: Relation between signs and their effects on those (people) who use them

The realm of semiotics:

Semiotics differs from linguistics in that it generalizes the definition of a sign to encompass signs in any medium or sensory modality. Thus it broadens the range of sign systems and sign relations, and extends the definition of language in what amounts to its widest analogical or metaphorical sense. Peirce’s definition of the term “semiotic” as the study of necessary features of signs also has the effect of distinguishing the discipline from linguistics as the study of contingent features that the world’s languages happen to have acquired in the course of human evolution.

And semiosis:

Semiosis or semeiosis is the process that forms meaning from any organism’s apprehension of the world through signs.

In other words, how an organism perceive and interpret reality is dependent on signs and semiosis. This has far-reaching implications in diverse areas of philosophy from epistemology, ontology to metaphysics and logic.

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Posted: 10 December 2009 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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That means, we should not consider Supreme Being as Supernatural.

I believe the Supreme Being is as natural as natural can be.

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Posted: 10 December 2009 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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ray - 10 December 2009 06:53 AM

I believe the Supreme Being is as natural as natural can be.

—••|•|•|•——•|••|—|—•——  wink

EDIT: Not that it probably matters much, but for some reason two hyphens (I have now replaced them with bullets) automatically get converted into an em dash. Weird.

[ Edited: 10 December 2009 09:03 AM by George ]
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Posted: 17 December 2009 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Some one wants to know what is the meaning of meaning.

Well, at least that is a start.

However, I think a more important question would be:

What is the meaning of you asking the meaning of meaning.

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Posted: 17 December 2009 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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And even a more important question may be: What is the meaning of you asking what the meaning is of him asking the meaning of the meaning?  wink

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Posted: 17 December 2009 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Good point; and definately an improvement on my question.

Now you know why I love you, George.

I think we can stretch it just one more time, and take it to the most important question:

What is the meaning of you asking me the meaning of my asking him the meaning of him asking the meaning of the meaning.

[ Edited: 17 December 2009 09:27 AM by ray ]
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Posted: 11 January 2010 09:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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god help me… what is the meaning of all this

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Posted: 12 January 2010 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I would try to explain it by starting off by separating three different things.

REALITY

Paradigm of Reality

and Language

Obviously REALITY is what IS.  Various people have varying degrees of understanding about various aspects of it.

Paradigm of reality is an individuals ideas and conceptualizations about reality.  Paradigms are in people’s heads.  They are not reality. These can be correct or incorrect to varying degrees with different individuals.

And of course Language is what we use to communicate about these things.  But language has evolved over time and often has built in misconceptions and distortions of reality and obsolete paradigms, like SUNRISE.  We know know the Sun doesn’t rise but we say it all the time.  But a lot of our paradigms are built up from language.  Since the invention of cameras and radio and probes into space our paradigms are built from multi-media tele-experiences.

Now the thing is when most people talk about reality what they are REALLY TALKING ABOUT is their paradigm of reality.  So arguments are over different paradigms.  Depending on the complexity of the subject they might both be partially right and partially wrong.

If I have an infra-red scanner and you don’t then I can “SEE” things that you can’t.

Watch the movie Sixth Sense.  What was reality for that kid?

If there is a supernatural aspect to reality then it won’t cease to exist because some people can’t detect it.  If there is no supernatural aspect to reality then it won’t come into existence because some people are deluded.  So until you can actually detect it for yourself then it is just so much Language.  But if you ever do then don’t tell anybody because they will just say you are crazy.  LOL

So meaning is the language used to describe some aspect of someone’s paradigm of reality.  How well that corresponds to reality or someone elses paradigm of reality is another question.

psik

[ Edited: 12 January 2010 10:23 PM by psikeyhackr ]
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Posted: 10 January 2012 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Meaning is the act of being mean.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 08:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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In other words, are you claiming it’s the present participle? smile

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Posted: 14 July 2012 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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One thing is certain, they are synonyms. Why should I be bothered to know the meaning of definition and the definition of meaning. wink smile

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Posted: 18 July 2012 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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The “meaning of meaning”?  Really?  *rolls eyes so far back in head brain is seen*

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