• creativesoul
    4.6k
    What is it, and what does it take?

    Clearly it requires meaning. Generally speaking, we're talking about language users when discussing shared meaning. So it seems safe enough to say that shared meaning requires a plurality of language users.


    So, what is it that is being shared between language users? To answer "meaning" is not at all helpful nor informative.

    What say you?
  • Luke
    321
    There are a variety of different language-games, as Wittgenstein notes at §23 of PI, but one thing that may be shared between language users across at least some of those language-games is behaviours or actions. The obvious example is giving and acting upon orders or requests, where the speaker uses (or behaves with) language to elicit the desired behaviours of the hearer(s). In this case, knowing the meaning of the speaker's words is knowing how to behave/act in response.

    I doubt that this "answer" fits all uses of language, as there is probably more than one answer depending on the use.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    One thing that's important to clarify re "shared meaning" is whether someone is positing (1) one "thing" that's multiply present--a la the traditional concept of universals, where there's a solitary universal that somehow obtains in multiple things, (2) multiple "things" that are somehow the same (somehow identical despite not being numerically identical), or simply (3) something that can be observed by or passed around to multiple people--sharing in the "show and tell" sense.

    Note that neither (1) nor (2) can be held by nominalists, although (2) is maybe not too far removed from trope nominalism if we don't insist on identity.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.4k
    So, what is it that is being shared between language users?creativesoul

    You'll find it hard to get agreement on this, so let's start with something simple. Words are shared. Are they not? Anyone disagree?
  • Mww
    491


    Understanding.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    You'll find it hard to get agreement on this, so let's start with something simple. Words are shared. Are they not? Anyone disagree?Metaphysician Undercover

    I'd agree in my sense (3) above, at least.

    I'm a nominalist, so I have issues with someone having in mind my (1) or (2) above.
  • Josh Alfred
    98
    I think "shared meaning" might be the result of knowledge modalities as well as similar experience and similar reference. I refer to a spider across the room, you see it and have similar reference and similar experience, and are thus able to know what I am talking about. Knowing and meaning are very close together in this sense, as is the similarity between awareness and reference. My question is, what is this similarity?
  • unenlightened
    3.3k
    Rwy'n rhannu rhai geiriau gyda chi, ond oni bai eich bod eisoes yn gyfarwydd â'r Gymraeg, ni fyddwch yn deall yr hyn sy'n cael ei ddweud.

    As I'm sure you all agree. But perhaps you do not know that you agree?
  • Isaac
    340
    Rwy'n rhannu rhai geiriau gyda chi, ond oni bai eich bod eisoes yn gyfarwydd â'r Gymraeg, ni fyddwch yn deall yr hyn sy'n cael ei ddweud.unenlightened

    Ond, gall unrhyw un ddeall unrhyw beth os oes ganddynt Google yn cyfieithu?
  • unenlightened
    3.3k
    That's fake news propaganda, or perhaps it isn't. Google translate doesn't make you understand what has been said; it replaces the words you don't understand with words you understand, and you take it on faith that the meaning is the same. And perhaps that tells us something about meaning. Perhaps the same sort of faith in one's own intelligence (rather than google's) is required to make sense of what is being said in a language one does (seem to) understand.
  • Galuchat
    524
    So, what is it that is being shared between language users?creativesoul

    With regard to shared (intersubjective) meaning, whether communicated verbally, or non-verbally:

    1) Communication requires message vocabulary and syntax which is understood by both message source and destination.

    2) Semantic message encoding and decoding requires knowledge of the code used, corresponding mental representations, and the communication context.

    3) A semantic message may be encoded differently and have the same (or similar) meaning in each code.

    In addition to intersubjective (social group) meaning, there is also: universal (innate or inherent), subjective (personal), and unknown meaning.
  • Isaac
    340
    Perhaps the same sort of faith in one's own intelligence (rather than google's) is required to make sense of what is being said in a language one does (seem to) understand.unenlightened

    Yes, when I looked at the English translation in Google it said.

    "I share some words with you, but unless you are already familiar with the Welsh language, you will not understand what is being said."

    Mostly fine, but I immediately raised an eyebrow at "I share some words with you", just doesn't sound natural in English. But if someone had said that to me, word for word, in English, I would have presumed they meant something by their odd phrasing. With Google, I just presumed it was an error.

    Perhaps we should pass everything a couple of times through Google? Translate it to Welsh and back to even out any idiosyncrasies in an individual language style.
  • Isaac
    340
    "What is it and what do you need?

    This, of course, requires value. In general, we talk about language users when discussing common concepts. It is safe to say that many language users need general purposes.


    If so, what is common to language users? The answer to "meaning" is usually not useful.

    What do you say;"

    ___

    The 'purified' version of the question. English - >Korean - >Russian - >Greek - >Finnish - >English.

    I think it makes just as little sense as the original.
  • praxis
    975
    What is it [shared meaning], and what does it take?creativesoul

    It’s what facilitates cooperation within social groups. It primarily requires shared values and goals.
  • Pattern-chaser
    801
    So, what is it that is being shared between language users?creativesoul

    I think this has a lot to do with the bidirectional nature of shared speech. I utter some words, and I intend for them to carry a particular meaning. You hear my words, and you discern from them a meaning. But the meaning I intend and the meaning you receive might be two quite different things. I think this is the core of the sharing question. :chin:
  • unenlightened
    3.3k
    But the meaning I intend and the meaning you receive might be two quite different things. I think this is the core of the sharing question.Pattern-chaser

    They might be, or they might only be as different as two slices of a shared pizza. Some philosophers claim that a meal is only shared if the mouths connect to the same stomach, but I think they are mistaken.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    Why isn't anyone (else) addressing the ontological ambiguity of "shared"? We need to pinpoint just what sense we're referring to in order to answer the question.
  • Isaac
    340
    Why isn't anyone (else) addressing the ontological ambiguity of "shared"? We need to pinpoint just what sense we're referring to in order to answer the question.Terrapin Station

    I did, but no one got the, admittedly obscure, method. If I keep going translating paragraphs into other languages, each step is perfectly understandable (with the odd awkward wording), but before long it becomes nearly unrecognisable. Like a game of Chinese whispers. So if there is some "external" thing being 'shared' then why isn't it preserved through translation. I'd say it's more like a process, than an extant thing.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    I did, but no one got the, admittedly obscure, method. If I keep going translating paragraphs into other languages, each step is perfectly understandable (with the odd awkward wording), but before long it becomes nearly unrecognisable. Like a game of Chinese whispers. So if there is some "external" thing being 'shared' then why isn't it preserved through translation. I'd say it's more like a process, than an extant thing.Isaac

    Good points.
  • unenlightened
    3.3k
    f someone had said that to me, word for word, in English, I would have presumed they meant something by their odd phrasing.Isaac

    It is just the sort of error a non-native speaker might make, because the distinction between the present simple and present continuous is not marked in most languages, but is derived from context, which in google's case it does not have.

    But I see you understand this already, or at least that you understand how the meaning that is shared can be 'to an extent'. Sometimes we might be 'of one mind' about things, but mostly we sort of agree, mostly or at least understand how we agree and how we disagree.

    Why isn't anyone (else) addressing the ontological ambiguity of "shared"? We need to pinpoint just what sense we're referring to in order to answer the question.Terrapin Station

    Do we? Can you pinpoint for me the sense of pinpoint here? No, I don't want you to, really. I think we are better off allowing our pins to be microscopically blunt and rough, and likewise meaning of the points we make to each other - d'you see what I mean?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.4k
    I'm a nominalist, so I have issues with someone having in mind my (1) or (2) above.Terrapin Station

    I think your (1) and (2) are expressed in a way so as to be contradictory.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    I think your (1) and (2) are expressed in a way so as to be contradictory.Metaphysician Undercover

    You mean so that one wouldn't hold both (1) and (2)? Sure. They're different options about what one might have in mind with "shared." The idea isn't that someone would have all three options in mind about the same thing.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.4k
    You mean so that one wouldn't hold both (1) and (2)? Sure. They're different options about what one might have in mind with "shared." The idea isn't that someone would have all three options in mind about the same thing.Terrapin Station

    Each one is contradictory in its own right. The first, I assume one thing "multiply present" means one thing that is a multiplicity of itself, which is contradictory, and the second, multiple things which are the same thing, is just a different way of stating the same contradiction.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    Each one is contradictory in its own right. The first, I assume one thing "multiply present" means one thing that is a multiplicity of itself, which is contradictory, and the second, multiple things which are the same thing, is just a different way of stating the same contradiction.Metaphysician Undercover

    Ah--well, that's up to realists on universals to try to make sense of. It's their doctrine. :wink:
  • Banno
    4.8k
    Meaning isn't a thing. So it's not shared. Forget about meaning. Just get on with the discussion.
  • unenlightened
    3.3k
    Meaning isn't a thing. So it's not shared.Banno

    Well thanks for sharing that opinion, but why can we only share things? People talk about shared responsibility; is communion not shared? I think the thought police are over-stepping their remit here.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    It's not shared so much as built. Even in Welsh.
  • unenlightened
    3.3k
    It's not built alone though. Even in English. We share the building, then we can share the result, even if the building is not a thing.

    But you're not making much sense. When the builder says "slab" and the assistant passes a slab, they are both using the language in the same way to do the same thing together. And meaning is use, so meaning is co-operation, and cooperation is sharing.
  • xzJoel
    5
    Working on pithy.

    Meaning is shared only insofar as the context demands. Even words that seemed to create shared meaning in one context may, when used in a different context, demonstrate that the meaning was never shared to begin with.

    Yelling "slab" may get a house built, but it could just be that in the context of a construction site, it was sufficient for the yeller to mean "hand me what is next on the pile" and the receiver to have understood the word to mean "hand me the hard rock thing cut into a manageable shape."

    I suck at pithy.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.4k
    When the builder says "slab" and the assistant passes a slab, they are both using the language in the same way to do the same thing together. And meaning is use, so meaning is co-operation, and cooperation is sharing.unenlightened

    Let me see if I can understand this. The builder and the assistant are doing something together, building something. This is cooperation. I would say that the act of building, in this instance, is something which is shared. So "cooperation" refers to a sharing, and in this case what is shared is the act of building.

    Let's suppose that "meaning" refers to an act of cooperation, so it is also a type of sharing. What is the act which it is a sharing of? In the example above, the act of building is shared. In the case of meaning, is it communication which is the act that is shared? If we share in the act of communicating, then I think that the question of the thread is whether meaning is a property of the act of communication (and therefore shared), or is "meaning" something particular, something which each individual who shares in the act of communicating contributes.

    So back to the example. Each builder adds something to the act of building, and also each assistant adds something to the act. However, each of these individual acts only has significance in relation to the overall, cooperative act of building. Does "meaning" refer to something like this, something that each individual adds to the act, but only has importance in relation to the overall cooperative act of communicating? Or, does each individual act contain meaning within itself, regardless of the act's relation to the overall, shared act of communicating?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1k
    Does "meaning" refer to something like this, something that each individual adds to the act, but only has importance in relation to the overall cooperative act of communicating? Or, does each individual act contain meaning within itself, regardless of the act's relation to the overall, shared act of communicating?Metaphysician Undercover

    The overall “conversation” has meaning, and so do the individual contributions of the participants. “Meaning” is what words, thoughts, representations, etc. refer to. My two cents.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.