• frank
    315
    Lol. Thanks.
  • Hanover
    3.2k
    What does meaning mean?
  • frank
    315
    Good question.
  • Hanover
    3.2k
    Surely meaning means something else there is no meaning and nothing means anything. If, though, meaning does have meaning, but you can't just put your finger on it, then you're saying it's ineffable. Now that's a problem for some, right?
  • frank
    315
    I have this thought that logic is an aspect of the language humans use in conversations with the world. I didn't want to say that out loud, though.

    I hadn't thought much about meaning, but I think maybe it's a multi-faceted concept. One aspect of it is a product of reflection. For instance, I may respond to your look of anger without consciously translating it into English. Later at the trial, I would explain what your look meant.

    In the same way, we read the world's body language and later translate it into English. Since the same situation can be translated multiple ways, the idea of the proposition is born.

    I think I need to go read some Russell.
  • Srap Tasmaner
    1.3k
    I want to focus on negotiationfrank

    So start there. One way of thinking about a person's interaction with the rest of the world, is to note that the rest of world resists and surprises. If you falsely believe that boulder will never roll down the hill onto your house, when it does your belief becomes untenable.

    So to keep with your approach, you tell the world what you're thinking and it might agree, disagree, or say nothing. Or something else. It has some input, and you revise your belief to take that input into account.

    David Berkowitz believed his neighbor's dog told him to kill. Something has gone wrong in the negotiation here.
  • frank
    315
    Oh! We start with raw interaction. Just spontaneous behavior. We find ourselves surprised and reflect on events. From this proceeds a proposition, which is a translation of what we believe the world's body language is telling us.

    Subsequent events may reinforce or diminish our confidence that we understand. More later...
  • Srap Tasmaner
    1.3k
    We start with raw interaction.frank

    Well that's a question, right?

    Your OP was based in part on the idea that this is something we do, that we're wired to do, to structure our experience as conversation. That leaves room for the idea that we more or less project this structure onto the rest of the world (or our experience of it). Projecting structure in this way is a mainstream issue for epistemology, most especially from Kant forward. And in this particular version, there are people we can point to who do project voices onto the rest of the world: we call them schizophrenics. That leaves a choice for how you proceed: do you propose a view that encompasses "hearing voices" as a variation of some kind on what we all do?
  • Galuchat
    366
    Generally though, I too tend to limit “communication” to meanings intentionally transferred from one sentient being to other sentient beings. For example, bees communicate to each other, but saying that sun communicates location to the bees seems to me a bit off mark. — javra

    And yet, to say that homoeostasis, gene expression, neural stimulation, endocrine signalling, and immunomodulation are types of biocommunication, doesn't seem so far-fetched to me.

    So, should the notion of communication pertain only to organic objects? And if so, at what level(s) of abstraction (i.e., physiology and/or psychology)?

    For those who would appropriately refer to the etymology of the word "communication" from the Latin "communico" (share, impart, make common), I would suggest that what the process of communication shares between informer (transmitter, sender) and informee (receiver, recipient) is code, given:

    1) Communication: the process of encoding, transmitting, conveying, receiving, and decoding, data (form).
    2) Code: transformed, translated, or converted data (form).
    3) Information: communicated data (form).
  • unenlightened
    2.1k
    When a cat feels threatened it will stand sideways, raise its hackles arch its back, and try to look big and fierce. Intentional or not, one can argue it, it looks like an attempt to communicate - 'I'm more trouble than I'm worth'. It is because it is a communication that it is funny when the cat does it inappropriately - to one of those automatic hoovers for instance. It is inappropriate because the hoover is incapable of receiving or responding to anything but the press of the off button.

    Martin Buber makes the distinction between I-thou relations and I-it relations, and it seems to me that communication is predicated on the latter, whether thou art a human or an animal. Communication is an attempt to persuade, engage, affect, another awareness.
    So, should the notion of communication pertain only to organic objects? And if so, at what level(s) of abstraction (i.e., physiology and/or psychology)?

    For those who would appropriately refer to the etymology of the word "communication" from the Latin "communico" (share, impart, make common), I would point out that what the process of communication shares between informer(transmitter, sender) and informee (receiver, recipient) is code, given:

    1) Communication: the process of encoding, transmitting, conveying, receiving, and decoding, data (form).

    2) Code: transformed, translated, or converted data (form).

    3) Information: communicated data (form).
    Galuchat

    Sure, there is a sense in which my computer is 'communicating' with your computer, but I want to put some scare quotes around such usage precisely because neither of our computers has any idea what they are doing. It is I and thou that are communicating, in the same way that if we were sword-fighting, it is not the swords that would be trying to kill each other.
  • Galuchat
    366
    Sure, there is a sense in which my computer is 'communicating' with your computer, but I want to put some scare quotes around such usage precisely because neither of our computers has any idea what they are doing. — unenlightened

    So, would it be your position that communication is the process of encoding, transmitting, conveying, receiving, and decoding, only semantic data (form)?

    I would be inclined to say that semantic communication requires empirical (physical and/or mental object) communication (again, given my general definition of communication).
  • frank
    315
    That leaves a choice for how you proceed: do you propose a view that encompasses "hearing voices" as a variation of some kind on what we all do?Srap Tasmaner

    We need some type of submarine that allows us to travel into other people's experience, extend a periscope, and record the happenings. But we'd need some way to filter out our own projections onto the recordings.

    What if there are two things happening:

    1. We exist in a state unseparated from the world, so projection of things like space and time wouldn't be an issue. It's a direct bodily experience, here and now. There is no conversation because communication depends on that separation.

    2. We withdraw from contact with the world to reflect on it. But as we withdraw, we take with us some of the paraphernalia of direct bodily experience, which comes out as inner space and time. And this is where the notion of projection comes in. We're trying to explain why space and time are present a priori in the inner domain when they're supposed to be features of the outer world. The confusion arises from failing to notice that space and time result from falling out of an undifferentiated state.

    One could be in both states simultaneously.
  • unenlightened
    2.1k
    So, would it be your position that communication is the process of encoding, transmitting, conveying, receiving, and decoding, only semantic data (form)?Galuchat

    I don't think that's quite what I think. Because the data that is conveyed from me to you and back is exactly the data that is conveyed from computer to computer. I want to say rather that I manipulate my computer such that it manipulates your computer, in order to communicate with you.

    I would not say that I communicate with the computer, or that the computers communicate though, any more than I would say that I communicate with a hammer so that it will tell the nail where I want it to go, or that when the bugger bends, it is correcting my grammar.
  • Galuchat
    366
    Thanks for your elaboration.

    My own elaboration: given that communication is the process of encoding, transmitting, conveying, receiving, and decoding, data (form), to communicate ideas on this forum involves:

    1) Encoding nonverbal thoughts to verbal thoughts.
    2) Encoding verbal thoughts to written words.
    3) Encoding written words to forms suitable for computer and/or telecommunication applications.
    4) Transmitting (carrier signal modulation) computer/telecom code by energy propagation (electrical signals, radio waves).
    5) Conveying telecom signals through internet media to a designated IP address.
    6) Receiving (carrier signal demodulation) and decoding of computer/telecom code by The Philosophy Forum web site applications.
    7) Receiving (reading) and decoding (understanding) written words by a forum member based on their association with semantic information (knowledge).
    8) Recipient mental action (e.g., cogitation), followed by physical action (e.g., composing a reply).

    So, I am inclined to say that semantic communication requires empirical (physical and/or mental object) communication.
  • unenlightened
    2.1k
    So, I am inclined to say that semantic communication requires empirical (physical and/or mental object) communication.Galuchat

    In space, no one can hear you philosophise. Because there is no medium of transmission.

    I can't really say that I disagree, so much as I object. I would like to hold a space for an interaction that is not mechanical, and that is not, as I see it, glossed over with the term 'semantic'. It's not that one cannot treat people as objects to be manipulated, but that one ought not.

    If we were in the same room, our communication would be encoded in vibrations of the atmosphere. Or to put it rather more ordinarily, we could talk out loud. But if our conversation were recorded and then replayed to us, it would be an entirely different experience of the same semantic vibrations. Rather as I might look back at this exchange next week and realise, for the first time, where our communication had reached a real sharing, and where (and why) it had missed the mark. "Oh, that's what he was on about!", is a moment of understanding, of communication, that might come years after the transmission of data.
  • javra
    502
    And yet, to say that homoeostasis, gene expression, neural stimulation, endocrine signalling, and immunomodulation are types of biocommunication, doesn't seem so far-fetched to me.

    So, should the notion of communication pertain only to organic objects? And if so, at what level(s) of abstraction (i.e., physiology and/or psychology)?

    For those who would appropriately refer to the etymology of the word "communication" from the Latin "communico" (share, impart, make common), I would suggest that what the process of communication shares between informer (transmitter, sender) and informee (receiver, recipient) is code, given:

    1) Communication: the process of encoding, transmitting, conveying, receiving, and decoding, data (form).
    2) Code: transformed, translated, or converted data (form).
    3) Information: communicated data (form).
    Galuchat

    I’m in general agreement with unenlightened. For my part:

    “Communicate” is one of those words whose ambiguity can facilitate a number of different meanings within different contexts. How much of it applies to what is ontic and how much of it will be strictly metaphorical can largely depend on the ontology that is presupposed. As to the metaphorical, when someone says something like, “don’t press any more keys on the keyboard; the computer is thinking” the “computer is thinking” part is not to be taken literally; it’s only a metaphorical shortcut to expressing concepts that otherwise require far more words to properly express.

    It strikes me that going by your denotations, a hammer that haphazardly falls can be said to communicate force to the rock if falls upon.

    Were this semantic to be upheld, however, it would to my mind nevertheless be distinct from the communication that occurs between sentience which thereby involves awareness and its apprehension, its understanding, of what is being communicated. For example, I can in no way concede to the rock literally understanding that a force was communicated to it by the falling hammer.

    To my mind, the two semantics would be made distinct primarily due to the difference between a) the strictly entropic interactions (or inter-paths, if one likes) that occur between entropic, inanimate givens and b) the agency-caused interactions that occur among negentropic, autopoietic, agency-endowed life.

    I’m on board with bridging the gap between nonlife and life in a stout ontological way, but this would not diminish the “quantum leap” (metaphorically speaking) between nonliving things and living things.

    Biocommunication specifies the contexts addressed. Maybe a term for “entropic communications” could be coined so as to distinguish it from what agents do?
  • Galuchat
    366
    Thanks for your input.

    My focus is the domain of cognitive psychology which partly consists of mental functions (i.e., psychosemiosis with semantic, syntactic and pragmatic properties). Pragmatics addresses the relations between signs and agents (including intentions).

    I currently consider data, communication, and information to be inter-related foundational concepts with regard to this psychosemiotic framework. Recognising that these terms are used differently in many areas of academic study and professional practice, I am keen to devise a description of communication which is as general as possible, so I can derive appropriate domain-related definitions.

    Suggestions are welcome.
  • javra
    502
    Suggestions are welcome.Galuchat

    For what it’s worth, the broadest sense of communication I can currently speculate of is “to impart form to”—this where “form” is interpreted in the broadest sense possible, hence encapsulating both the abstract and the concrete. One example would be that one meaning holds a different form from some other meaning; even more, a paradigm is larger in form when compared to an idea since it’s a collection of many ideas—and talking is roughly a bidirectional imparting of ideals/abstract forms which then in due measure in-forms each individual awareness. As another example, the hammer imparts form to the rock—or in-forms it—by colliding with it.

    I’m as of yet not personally comfortable with using the term “communication” to express such “imparting of form to” in all its usages. Still, to my mind, one could establish a dual aspect monistic ontology by interpreting all stuff, mental and physical, as information—here basically meaning, “that which endows form to”. Such a broad interpretation of information could thereby maybe be used to make the case that all information transfer is communication.

    Well, interpreting information as a dual-aspect monistic substance is an approach I take but, to be honest, there are some other components at work as I’ve so far made use of this understanding. Things like various causal influences or mechanisms by which information works. Also of information yet being other than core non-dualistic awareness even though information in-forms awareness—i.e., endows awareness with its form of first person selfhood, including that of its very being as an individual awareness within the universe. This being my take on the self/no-self motif. To further clarify this last part, this in-forming of awareness certainly occurs in large part via the operations of the living, organic, physical substrata—such as brains for vertebrate life—as well as via this then formed awareness’s interaction with its environment by means of subjectivity. But this is an entirely different ball park.

    At any rate, if any of this is of any use …
  • Galuchat
    366
    Still, to my mind, one could establish a dual aspect monistic ontology by interpreting all stuff, mental and physical, as information—here basically meaning, “that which endows form to”. Such a broad interpretation of information could thereby maybe be used to make the case that all information transfer is communication. — javra

    Yes. This is roughly my intent. With types of data, communication, and information corresponding to types of ideas (ideals and abstractions) and objects (physical and/or mental).

    Well, interpreting information as a dual-aspect monistic substance is an approach I take but, to be honest, there are some other components at work as I’ve so far made use of this understanding. Things like various causal influences or mechanisms by which information works. — javra

    Yes. I think this is down to code (messages) being:
    1) Common to (at one level of abstraction, or mutually understood by, at another) both transmitters (or senders) and receivers (or recipients), and
    2) Syntactic (i.e., conforming to structural principles).

    Also of information yet being other than core non-dualistic awareness even though information in-forms awareness—i.e., endows awareness with its form of first person selfhood, including that of its very being as an individual awareness within the universe...
    To further clarify this last part, this in-forming of awareness certainly occurs in large part via the operations of the living, organic, physical substrata—such as brains for vertebrate life—as well as via this then formed awareness’s interaction with its environment by means of subjectivity.
    — javra

    I currently view awareness as a dual aspect, mind-body condition; in its most general sense: an aware (perceptive, sensitive, and cognisant) condition. Perception being the mental experience of sensory stimulation, sensation being the mental experience of interoception, and cognisance being the mental experience of knowing.
  • unenlightened
    2.1k
    information in-forms awareness—i.e., endows awareness with its form of first person selfhood, including that of its very being as an individual awareness within the universe.javra

    This is an annoying feature, that is a defeater of psychology as a science, in my opinion. A psychological theory, including its roots as explicated in the two posts above is formative of the psyche it purports to explain. It is as though in physics the properties of space, time and matter were composed of the theories we have of them. Change your theory, and the nature you are theorising changes.
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