• Terrapin Station
    8.5k
    It doesn't become anything other than what it already is: a language rule. This means that.S

    Where is the language rule?
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    Okay, so it's the relation that's within the fridge, so to speak. We all relate things differently. And this activity is what you call meaning.

    So how do we go from this activity -- which I'd say is common to many cognitive systems, which is evidenced by Pavlov's dog -- to knowing English? Since it is this sort of meaning that is of interest here, given that we're building towards moral statements.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k
    So how do we go from this activity -- which I'd say is common to many cognitive systems, which is evidenced by Pavlov's dog -- to knowing English?Moliere

    So conventionally, you know English in an individual's estimation if you can coherently (to the person judging) formulate sentences (usually we require many different sentences in many different contexts) utilizing words conventionally (at least per some subpopulation) named "English."
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    Sure. I agree that's the end state. But that's not the same thing as associating, yes?
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k


    No, of course it's not the same. Language doesn't just involve meaning, but it does involve meaning (at least at some stage).
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    If that's all you mean by meaning, then I don't think I'd disagree that we all associate things differently. We all have different pasts, different feelings, different ways.

    But I'd also say that you and I know the meaning of all the sentences we have thus far used in spite of that.

    Do you agree with me?
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k
    But I'd also say that you and I know the meaning of all the sentences we have thus far used in spite of that.Moliere

    Well, "knowing the meaning" refers to the fact that we're making associations for the words, phrases, sentences, etc., with an implication of understanding, so that everything is going along coherently (in our views) in context of the overall conversation.

    So yeah, keeping in mind that that's what it is, we agree.
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    "with an implication of understanding"? What's that?

    I'd just say that there's not much more to knowing the meaning than exactly what's said -- if I talk to a dog using English then the dog does not know the meaning of my sentences. If I talk to someone who doesn't know English they, too, do not know the meaning of my sentences.

    But if a person speaks within said conventions, seems to respond to statements, questions, commands, and so forth in the manner I'd expect a person who knows English to speak -- and to act, more widely -- then they know what I mean.

    And that we do this very successfully.
  • S
    9.7k
    Where is the language rule?Terrapin Station

    Where is the time? I can show you a clock, if that helps, but that only displays the time.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k
    Where is the time? I can show you a clock, if that helps, but that only displays the time.S

    In my view nothing exists without a location, including time. Time is located at every change or motion in the universe.

    You believe that some things exist without a location then?

    I don't buy that there are any real abstracts.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k
    I'd just say that there's not much more to knowing the meaning than exactly what's saidMoliere

    If what's said is the meaning then you'd say that meaning is a property of sound waves for example?
  • S
    9.7k
    In my view nothing exists without a location, including time. Time is located at every change or motion in the universe.

    You believe that some things exist without a location then?

    I don't buy that there are any real abstracts.
    Terrapin Station

    These are the possibilities: a) it has a location, but I don't know where it's located, b) it has a location, but no one knows where it is, c) it doesn't have a location, d) it doesn't even make sense to ask where it's located, as that would be a category error.

    I find d) the most plausible, but whatever possibility is true, there's objective linguistic meaning. I stand by that, and I think that my argument is logically sound. No one here thus far has proven themselves willing and able to refute it.

    So, where is what's the case located? Where are facts located? That seems like nonsense to me. If you're going to say that it's in our heads or something, then I think that that's a seriously flawed position. Even if we all went extinct tomorrow, this or that would be the case. There would still be facts. For example, it would be the case that there are planets. That would be a fact, even if there was no one around to grasp that fact.
  • S
    9.7k
    It feels to me like you're making a mountain out of a mole hill. Instead of writing such lengthy responses, why don't you just make it easier for both of us?

    If we all went extinct right now, what would happen to linguistic meaning? For example, it is the case that the word "cup", in English, means a small bowl-shaped container for drinking from, typically having a handle. Or, you don't even have to think of that as a rule of English. Let's just say that it is my rule, in English, for what the word "cup" means. If you don't accept that as a rule of English language, then let's say that it's a rule of my language, which is based on the English language.

    Now, can you simply tell me why "cup" would cease to mean a small bowl-shaped container for drinking from, typically having a handle, in my language, in this scenario? That strikes me as illogical. Because no one would be there to understand it? Why would that be necessary for there to be linguistic meaning? Why would that be necessary for "cup" to mean what it means in the language? That is baffling to me. Idealist logic in general is baffling to me. To be is to be perceived is codswallop.
  • Moliere
    1.6k
    More or less, yes. Something along those lines, regardless of whether said meaning attaches "in the mind" or "on the waves" or what-not, that gets at the gist of how I think of the matter. And, as with anything, open to revision insofar that some other way of thinking can account for just how successful we are in understanding language -- and how meaning is a public entity, in spite of needing a mind (which I would say is an interior space that isn't exactly shared, though can partially be so through language) in order to speak.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k
    So, where is what's the case located? Where are facts located? That seems like nonsense to me. If you're going to say that it's in our head or something, then I think that that's a seriously flawed position. Even if we all went extinct tomorrow, this or that would be the case. There would still be facts. For example, it would be the case that there are planets. That would be a fact, even if there was no one around to grasp that fact.S

    Facts refer to some set of physical phenomena, so wherever the phenomena in question are located. Locations can be complex, scattered, non-contiguous, etc.--for example, the fact that there are multiple mountains on Earth isn't one contiguous location; it obtains in the locations of all the mountains. Nevertheless, those are locations.
  • S
    9.7k
    I think that it's a key point that meaning can be public, and that in at least some cases it is so. I also think that these "In spite of needing a mind for such-and-such" are key points, because some people seem stuck on that way of thinking - this "But we need a mind for such-and-such!" - which I think fails to see the forest for the trees. The appropriate response is "Yeah, and?".
  • S
    9.7k
    Facts refer to some set of physical phenomena, so wherever the phenomena in question are located. Locations can be complex, scattered, non-contiguous, etc.--for example, the fact that there are multiple mountains on Earth isn't one contiguous location; it obtains in the locations of all the mountains. Nevertheless, those are locations.Terrapin Station

    I find that view peculiar and unconvincing. But anyway, if that is so, then language rules must have a location or multiple locations in one of those ways.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k


    Do you buy the notion of real (non-mental) abstracts?
  • S
    9.7k
    Do you buy the notion of real (non-mental) abstracts?Terrapin Station

    If what I've said counts as that, then yes. I buy that if we all went extinct right now, then language would still have meaning, and I don't buy that it makes sense to ask where that meaning would be, as though it has a location. Likewise with facts. It would still be the case that there are planets, and I don't buy that it makes sense to ask where what's the case is located.

    This seeking a location for everything, to me, is peculiar, like seeking what colour time is, or seeking what kind of beliefs rocks have, because this simply must apply to everything without exception. I think you'll inevitably end up grasping at straws.

    I can point to locations of related stuff, like written language and planets, but not to a location of linguistic meaning or facts about planets.
  • Judaka
    318
    Now, can you simply tell me why "cup" would cease to mean a small bowl-shaped container for drinking from, typically having a handle, in my languageS

    This is not what a cup is, there are all kinds of shapes in cups. There are also things which fit this description which are not cups like bowls, pots etc.

    It'd be easier if you just made up your own language. "ifhefihefo fiohewofi feo9fupojqpo fnewofi".
    Which would in your language, perfectly describe what a cup is in a way that can't be achieved in English. It is perfect from all perspective, no problems whatsoever at all and this is an immutable fact. Excellent work, there's nobody who can dispute it so therefore you must've created objective meaning.

    If we all went extinct right now, what would happen to linguistic meaning?S

    All we could say about language is how it used to be used. Without anyone there to interpret what the words meant, they would mean nothing.

    What does 1+1 = 2 mean? No interpretation, no meaning.

    Interpretation literally means to determine (consciously or subconsciously) "this means that", it's something only a living creature can do. You can write things down, make up your own rules and do whatever you want but these things only have meaning so long as you're around to interpret their meaning.
  • Banno
    5.1k
    Anyone remember the chair at the end of the universe?
  • S
    9.7k
    Now, can you simply tell me why "cup" would cease to mean a small bowl-shaped container for drinking from, typically having a handle, in my language
    — S

    This is not what a cup is...
    Judaka

    You've gone wrong straight away. That's what a cup is in my language. You don't get to make the rules. It's my language, not yours. And if you're talking about a different language, then you're changing the subject without warrant.

    It'd be easier if you just made up your own language.Judaka

    I just did. It is my language, based on how the English language is commonly spoken.

    "ifhefihefo fiohewofi feo9fupojqpo fnewofi".
    Which would in your language, perfectly describe what a cup is in a way that can't be achieved in English. It is perfect from all perspective, no problems whatsoever at all and this is an immutable fact. Excellent work, there's nobody who can dispute it so therefore you must've created objective meaning.
    Judaka

    I see no reason to switch to a different language which looks how you want it to look. But sure, why not? In my second language, a cup means ifhefihefo fiohewofi feo9fupojqpo fnewofi, which, when translated into my first language, means a small bowl-shaped container for drinking from, typically having a handle.

    You haven't successfully disputed what a cup is in my language. What makes you think you have? :lol:

    All we could say about language is how it used to be used.Judaka

    Why would the language rules cease to apply? The rules don't depend on constant use of the language. Why would they suddenly stop applying, just because we all suddenly died?

    Without anyone there to interpret what the words meant, they would mean nothing.Judaka

    That's absurd. So, because no one is there to understand the meaning, there is no meaning? Surely you can see the error here?

    There is linguistic meaning. For example, the word cup means what it does. Now, this linguistic meaning that is there, is not understood. Therefore, this linguistic meaning that is there, is also not there. There is meaning, but there isn't. :chin:

    This is clearly the same awful logic of an idealist, and you should at the very least own up to it. To be is to be perceived? I don't think so.

    What does 1+1 = 2 mean? No interpretation, no meaning.Judaka

    It means one plus one equals two. No interpretation, no understanding. Nothing of relevance follows regarding meaning. It means what it means, regardless.

    Interpretation literally means to determine (consciously or subconsciously) "this means that"...Judaka

    No, linguistic meaning is determined by setting language rules, which take the form: "this means that". This is not the same thing as interpretation, so stop muddling it up with interpretation.

    Language rules, once set, do not require language speakers hanging around, doing whatever, in order for the rules to apply, and thus for there to be meaning. That makes no rational sense whatsoever.

    Interpretation, on the other hand, is what we do to try to understand language, to try to ascertain what the meaning is. It's a mental process, and it obviously requires capable beings.

    You don't seem to understand this distinction at all, despite my sincere efforts. I am beginning to lose hope.

    ...it's something only a living creature can do.Judaka

    Interpretation? No shit. Unfortunately, that's completely irrelevant, as I've said multiple times. Why on earth would you think that I am so idiotic as to fail to realise that interpretation is something that only a living creature can do? I explicitly acknowledged this ages ago at the very beginning. Aren't you reading what I'm saying? Wake up for Christ's sake.

    You can write things down, make up your own rules and do whatever you want but these things only have meaning so long as you're around to interpret their meaning.Judaka

    That is simply illogical. Maybe we should just leave it at that, because you're just not getting it.
  • S
    9.7k
    Anyone remember the chair at the end of the universe?Banno

    Yes! Good times. I picked up a thing or two from that discussion, as you may have noticed. :grin:
  • Judaka
    318
    You've gone wrong straight away. That's what a cup is in my language. You don't get to make the rules. It's my language, not yours. And if you're talking about a different language, then you're changing the subject without warrant.S

    Fair point.

    That's absurd. So, because no one is there to understand the meaning, there is no meaning? Surely you can see the error here?

    This is clearly the same logic of an idealist, and you should at the very least own up to it. To be is to be perceived?
    S

    The problem with talking to you is that you decide what my positions are based on what you think is reasonable.

    If I talk about meaning, I mean it's coming from interpretation. That's my position. I haven't talked about understanding and I'm getting tired of being misrepresented, I appreciate that from your perspective what I'm saying seems irrelevant but if you don't take what I am saying as I'm saying it then we can't have a conversation.

    I can't talk about meaning as though it just exists in the universe like it's matter. To me what you're saying is like love exists without intelligent life, it's like saying confusion exists even if life disappears.

    If someone writes down what love is, perhaps the concept is immortalised but the thing love doesn't exist anymore.

    You can write down "this means that" but the actual thing of meaning, which is created by intelligent life, isn't present anymore. It's gone.

    But yes, let's agree to disagree. There was a lot of miscommunication between us which was unfortunate but it's pretty common in conversations I have with people where they are making assumptions about me from the get-go.

    It's kind of to be expected that someone who calls me an idealist with irrational contradictory positions within a few paragraphs of meeting me, isn't going to treat the rest of what I say as though I might have reasonable reasons for thinking the way I do.

    I think you've framed this whole debate like you have the standard, acceptable position and I'm over here preaching like a madman about doomsday.
  • S
    9.7k
    I thought that this would be a problem from the start. So, basically, I can't reason with you, because you're unswervingly committed to some sort of illogical idealist premise, and when I try to introduce helpful distinctions and logic into your thinking, you react as though it is some sort of repellent. I was trying to help you, but if you shut yourself off, then I won't be able to get through to you.
  • Judaka
    318

    I genuinely have no idea what you're talking about. I've been going around forums like this for 2-3 years and posting somewhat regularly and I've disagreed with a lot of people but this is the first time anyone has ever called me an idealist.

    I don't think you've thought very deeply about this topic at all. I feel like I'm debating a 12-year-old.

    Oh well, that's enough.
  • S
    9.7k
    You really see no resemblance between the reasoning of an idealist, and your reasoning here? Wow. Okay then. That makes me think of the emperor's new clothes. They look wonderful on you, sire!

    And by the by, I've been going around forums like this for at least ten years, posting far more regularly than you, amassing posts totaling over 9,000, and I've seen much of it all before. I've spent more time thinking about these things, whereas you've probably spend more time watching anime. That's why I'm drawing these philosophical links which you do not recognise.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k
    If what I've said counts as that, then yes. I buy that if we all went extinct right now, then language would still have meaning, and I don't buy that it makes sense to ask where that meaning would be, as though it has a location. Likewise with facts. It would still be the case that there are planets, and I don't buy that it makes sense to ask where what's the case is located.

    This seeking a location for everything, to me, is peculiar, like seeking what colour time is, or seeking what kind of beliefs rocks have, because this simply must apply to everything without exception. I think you'll inevitably end up grasping at straws.

    I can point to locations of related stuff, like written language and planets, but not to a location of linguistic meaning or facts about planets.
    S

    It seems equally weird to me that it wouldn't seem obvious that facts are located wherever the things they're "facts of" are located.
  • S
    9.7k
    It seems equally weird to me that it wouldn't seem obvious that facts are located wherever the things they're "facts of" are located.Terrapin Station

    Obvious?! It's extremely weird that you presumably believe that, for example, the fact that I'm alive is actually located somewhere, presumably somewhere nearby me at all times, wherever I go, like an invisible tracking device or something.
  • Terrapin Station
    8.5k


    That fact that you're alive is located wherever you are, as (long as) you continue to breathe, metabolize, undergo cell division, etc. How in the world would you think that fact is located nowhere or everywhere or whatever you think?
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