• Banno
    2.7k
    Well, your mental image of a dog was caused by previous experiences with dogs. The image on the paper is the effect of your mental image of a dog. This is a chain of causation. The image on the paper that I see contains information about your previous experiences with dogs. There is meaning in the image on the paper that refers to your mental image and your experience with dogs. Meaning is the same thing as information.Harry Hindu

    I don't think so. Rather, the way I use the word "dog" is the way that it is used in my community. As I explained, there is nothing that all these uses have in common apart from that use - no mental image of a dog that includes dachshunds, wolves, prairie dogs, fire dogs and hot dogs. It seems clear to me that your account cannot explain the vastness of our use of language.
  • Banno
    2.7k
    I never said that everything was a noun. I said that every word refers to something in the world.Harry Hindu

    Hm.
  • Banno
    2.7k
    all we can talk about are concepts. Words are references to concepts, same goes for the word meaning.Tomseltje

    Perhaps we can agree that your desire for definitions has its roots in a certain theory of meaning, one more or less in line with the ideas that Harry espouses and that I have discussed elsewhere. That theory of meaning was closely critiqued during the middle of last century, by philosophers from diverse backgrounds.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.2k
    A transcendental argument. We get on with our lives; the only way we could get on with our lives is if we understand cause and effect; therefore we understand cause and effect.

    I do not find it at all convincing.
    Banno
    I don't see this as a detriment to my argument for it seems to me that you could say that for any philosophical argument. So I guess you don't find any philosophical argument convincing? Isn't the fact that we get on with our lives the result of our understanding? Could we get on with our lives without a proper understanding of anything? It seems like you wouldn't be alive long enough to get on with your life without an understanding of cause and effect.


    It doesn't. There's just the use of the word "dog".Banno
    So all you do when you see or hear the word, "dog" is see or hear the word, "dog"? You MUST be an internet bot without an internal mind and without any non-verbal experiences.

    I don't think so. Rather, the way I use the word "dog" is the way that it is used in my community. As I explained, there is nothing that all these uses have in common apart from that use - no mental image of a dog that includes dachshunds, wolves, prairie dogs, fire dogs and hot dogs. It seems clear to me that your account cannot explain the vastness of our use of language.Banno
    Exactly, you use the word to refer to a particular species of animal that includes all it's breeds. Which breed does "dog" refer to? Which species? To say that a word is "used in your community is to say that it is used to communicate some non-verbal idea.
  • Pattern-chaser
    52
    "to be useful, a word must refer to something in the world." — Harry Hindu

    Where "world" refers to the physical spacetime universe plus the ill-defined and sprawling mass of human culture, in all its wonder, and all its guises? For the latter is where 99% of humans live out 99% of their lives. And some words, those that are often applied and used to describe human culture, or some smaller part of it, are equally ill-defined. I think "meaning" --- in the sense of 'the meaning of life', not 'Many words have more than one meaning' --- is one of these. Human concepts like wisdom, value, and quality are similar in this regard. We all know what they mean, but writing it down in words is next-to-impossible. :brow: — Pattern-chaser

    Here you are engaging in anthropomorphism.
    Harry Hindu

    Anthropomorphism? I don't understand your intended meaning. Did you intend anthropocentric, to which I happily admit? I prefer philosophy that is useful and meaningful to humans, and I prefer to consider matters relevant to humans, from a human perspective. But maybe this isn't what you're objecting to?
  • Pattern-chaser
    52
    What tree rings mean are the age of the tree.Harry Hindu

    Although the age of a tree can be measured by tree rings, this isn't what they mean. I submit that they have no meaning at all. Clouds have no meaning either. Nor do black holes. They just are.
  • Banno
    2.7k
    I don't see this as a detriment to my argument for it seems to me that you could say that for any philosophical argument.Harry Hindu

    Not all philosophical arguments are transcendental.

    Edit: I'm referring to the logical structure of the argument: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/transcendental-arguments/
  • Banno
    2.7k
    It doesn't. There's just the use of the word "dog".
    — Banno
    So all you do when you see or hear the word, "dog" is see or hear the word, "dog"? You MUST be an internet bot without an internal mind and without any non-verbal experiences.
    Harry Hindu

    No, Harry. When we use the word "dog", we use the word "Dog".

    DO you have a serious argument to present?


    Edit: the "You MUST" looks to again be transcendental.
  • Banno
    2.7k
    I don't think so. Rather, the way I use the word "dog" is the way that it is used in my community. As I explained, there is nothing that all these uses have in common apart from that use - no mental image of a dog that includes dachshunds, wolves, prairie dogs, fire dogs and hot dogs. It seems clear to me that your account cannot explain the vastness of our use of language.
    — Banno
    Exactly, you use the word to refer to a particular species of animal that includes all it's breeds. Which breed does "dog" refer to? Which species? To say that a word is "used in your community is to say that it is used to communicate some non-verbal idea.
    Harry Hindu



    All right Harry. If you are not going to read what I write. there's not much point in my writing it. Have a good day.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.2k
    No, Harry. When we use the word "dog", we use the word "Dog".

    DO you have a serious argument to present?
    Banno

    Do you? Because all you are doing is making these half-ass attempts at doing philosophy. I have produced far more meat to chew on than you and you want to ask if I'm serious? It was obvious from the get-go that your only intent was to be facetious.

    What does it mean to use a word? What do you mean by the word "use"?

    What is it that we are translating when we translate one word in another language to another? What enables us to translate words at all if both words from different languages don't refer to the same thing?
  • Harry Hindu
    1.2k
    All right Harry. If you are not going to read what I write. there's not much point in my writing it. Have a good day.Banno

    Its you that isn't reading my post. As I have already said words come in the form of visual scribbles and sounds. Hearing a word spoken is no different than hearing the wind blow or a wave crash. It provides information about what is happening in the outside world. In fact hearing the wind blow and hearing me say, "the wind is blowing" is redundant - obvious.
  • Arne
    193
    Are you suggesting that all must agree upon certain definitions of terms before the discussion can even begin? Who would decide what terms needed to be agreed upon? And who would decide the definitions of those agreed upon terms, if any there be? I find that the important thing in discussing philosophy is that you (as in this case me) have a definition for the terms I use that I can clearly articulate to those who ask. In addition, it is equally important to know when someone is using a term that is inconsistent with your definition and that you press them to define their term. In my own experience, the most interesting of philosophical discussions are among people who do not agree about which terms are most important and do not agree how those terms are to be defined. And beer helps.
  • Tomseltje
    129
    Perhaps we can agree that your desire for definitions has its roots in a certain theory of meaning, one more or less in line with the ideas that Harry espouses and that I have discussed elsewhere. That theory of meaning was closely critiqued during the middle of last century, by philosophers from diverse backgrounds.Banno

    I don't know, I'm not sure what you are referring to. My point about providing definitions, especially on an international accessable forum, is that I think it's rather relevant to know when someone sais the word 'mile' wether its a landmile or a seamile since they are not the same , and preferably just translates the quantity to si standard, So i can just substitute the given definition for the word that may have several different meanings, or in case the word used is new to me.
  • Tomseltje
    129
    Are you suggesting that all must agree upon certain definitions of terms before the discussion can even begin?Arne

    No, I'm saying that I need to know the definition the OP apllies in his/her statements in order to understand his/her statement, wich is required to determine whether or not his/her statements make sense to me.
    Especially if the OP is using a different definition of the word than the definition(s) I am familiar with.

    The discussion wether it's the 'right' definition is a complete seperate one. I even don't mind if the OP made up a word used in his/her statements, as long as he/she can define it to me using more familiar, less ambiguous words, so I become able to understand his/her statement.
  • Tomseltje
    129
    I find that the important thing in discussing philosophy is that you (as in this case me) have a definition for the terms I use that I can clearly articulate to those who ask. In addition, it is equally important to know when someone is using a term that is inconsistent with your definition and that you press them to define their term.Arne

    On this we seem to be in agreement. My frustration that caused me to start this OP, was that I didn't get the definitions when I asked for them on several occasions. Or got a two word definition that was equally non informative.
  • Arne
    193
    indeed. if we were live, so to speak, you could simply ask for them. But given the nature of this particular medium, having them in advance would be best.
  • Tomseltje
    129
    Although the age of a tree can be measured by tree rings, this isn't what they mean. I submit that they have no meaning at all. Clouds have no meaning either. Nor do black holes. They just are.Pattern-chaser

    Nonsense, if as you stated

    I prefer philosophy that is useful and meaningful to humans, and I prefer to consider matters relevant to humans, from a human perspective.Pattern-chaser

    following it's logical conclusion, you'd have to admitt that to humans for who the age of a tree is relevant and know about how trees grow, the three rings indicating the age of the tree have that meaning.

    Perhaps you meant that it has no meaning to the tree, but why would you with your preferance to consider matters relevant to humans?
  • Arne
    193
    Meaning is the same thing as information.Harry Hindu

    I disagree. Data is the same as information. Meaning is essentially derived from the context of the available data/information.
  • Tomseltje
    129
    indeed. if we were live, so to speak, you could simply ask for them. But given the nature of this particular medium, having them in advance would be best.Arne

    My main point wasn't even we should get them in advance, though I agree in this medium it can be usefull, especially for disambiguous words used. My point was mainly about that the definitions at least should be provided when asked for, rather than ignoring or refusing the request in the following response.
  • Arne
    193
    definitions at least should be provided when asked forTomseltje

    it is anti-philosophical to not respond to a request for definitions.
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