• Harry Hindu
    3.2k
    If behavior is the effect of some cause, the cause is the meaning of the behavior...
    — Harry Hindu

    That doesn't follow. Rather it fails to draw the distinction between causality and meaning. "Neglects" may be a better word choice here. "Conflates" works as well.
    creativesoul

    If causality and meaning aren't the same, then what is the distinction?

    When you ask me what I mean when I use words, what are you asking?
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    When you ask me what I mean when I use words, what are you asking?Harry Hindu

    I'm asking you what you mean.

    The distinction between meaning and causality is one of elemental constituency. They are existentially dependent upon very different things.
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    What has no meaning cannot be spoken of.I like sushi

    What are you speaking of then?

    When we realize what meaning is, we know what it takes, we know what it is itself existentially dependent upon, what the necessary preconditions are. Hence, we can know that when those conditions have not been met, there is no meaning.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.2k
    When you ask me what I mean when I use words, what are you asking?
    — Harry Hindu

    I'm asking you what you mean.
    creativesoul
    Your answer lacks substance. Care to elaborate?

    The distinction between meaning and causality is one of elemental constituency. They are existentially dependent upon very different things.creativesoul
    How so?

    I would have expected something to chew on rather than these empty claims and answers you've provided. Be more specific.
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    If "pure" is meant to denote something in it's most unadulterated uncorrupted and/or basic state, then it doesn't get any purer that what I've set out here.
    — creativesoul

    By pure meaning I just mean the imagined context that can be moved from French to English. That somehow an English translation is the 'same' book suggest the notion of a language-independent meaning, though many translators will stress that they have only done their best and actually created a new, only similar work.
    Eee

    I would not say that translation suggests the notion of a language independent meaning. It does suggest that some meaning is neither bound nor completely determined by any particular language.
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    When you ask me what I mean when I use words, what are you asking?
    — Harry Hindu

    I'm asking you what you mean.
    — creativesoul
    Your answer lacks substance. Care to elaborate?
    Harry Hindu

    Look at what you wrote my friend. Your answer lies in your question.
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    The distinction between meaning and causality is one of elemental constituency. They are existentially dependent upon very different things.
    — creativesoul
    How so?

    I would have expected something to chew on rather than these empty claims and answers you've provided. Be more specific.
    Harry Hindu

    Do you know what elemental constituency is?
  • Harry Hindu
    3.2k
    If the answer was in my question, then it wouldn't really be question, would it? Why don't you start by explaining what "meaning" is.

    Do you know what elemental constituency is?creativesoul
    Nope. If I did I wouldnt be asking for you to clarify. I don't understand why you are finding it difficult to flesh out your argument because I have no idea what you're arguing for or against.
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    What do you make of this?
    Language, Saussure insists, has an oral tradition that is independent of writing, and it is this independence that makes a pure science of speech possible. Derrida vehemently disagrees with this hierarchy and instead argues that all that can be claimed of writing - eg. that it is derivative and merely refers to other signs - is equally true of speech. But as well as criticising such a position for certain unjustifiable presuppositions, including the idea that we are self-identical with ourselves in 'hearing' ourselves think, Derrida also makes explicit the manner in which such a hierarchy is rendered untenable from within Saussure's own text. Most famously, Saussure is the proponent of the thesis that is commonly referred to as "the arbitrariness of the sign", and this asserts, to simplify matters considerably, that the signifier bears no necessary relationship to that which is signified. Saussure derives numerous consequences from this position, but as Derrida points out, this notion of arbitrariness and of "unmotivated institutions" of signs, would seem to deny the possibility of any natural attachment (OG 44). After all, if the sign is arbitrary and eschews any foundational reference to reality, it would seem that a certain type of sign (ie. the spoken) could not be more natural than another (ie. the written). However, it is precisely this idea of a natural attachment that Saussure relies upon to argue for our "natural bond" with sound (25), and his suggestion that sounds are more intimately related to our thoughts than the written word hence runs counter to his fundamental principle regarding the arbitrariness of the sign.
    — SEP

    To me one of the interesting themes is a destabilizing of the so-called mental realm, the idea of which is tied up with pure meaning. Of course we have intuitions of being minds, and we take this granted, the talk of minds filled with thoughts. But there's no private language, and we use 'I' fairly automatically.
    Eee

    "Natural bond" might be better rendered as one that is not existentially dependent upon the written word.

    "The destabilizing of the so-called mental realm..." is an interesting notion. I take it to be referring to the conventional notion of the mental realm at that time. It was wrong. So, if deconstructing it destabilizes it, then such an endeavor was needed as a means for acquiring greater understanding of meaning and/or our own thought and belief.

    The 'problem', of course, is that what counts as "mental realm" and "arbitrariness" is relative to language use. One of these notions can be said to pick out something that exists in it's entirety prior to language use, but the other not so much.

    Some signs are arbitrary. Some are not.

    Meaning is most certainly not properly accounted for solely in terms of "mental realm".
  • I like sushi
    2.4k
    The quote was in a given context. I simply meant that the ‘meaning’ is present in any utterance - nonsensical items are recognised as ‘nonsensical’. This is comparable to Kantian Noumenon only being possible in a ‘negative’ sense.

    It’s basically a trick of language. Everything is necessarily ‘meaningful’ to us if it is within our scope of attention. That is to say anything outside our scope of attention is ‘not meaningful’ in one particular way - potential. What can never have meaning to us is not something we can ‘attend to’.

    As a further example just try and bring up a topic that has no meaning. Even something nonsensical or gibberish has ‘meaning’ surrounding it.

    Note: I understand you probably meant ‘meaning’ in a more confined way. I’m not encouraging rhetoric here just presenting the limitation of worded thought in terms of what is ‘real’ or ‘existent’. We must necessarily limit our thought and scope to possessing ‘meaning’ - no talk is ‘free floating’, but we can still offer up analogies and metaphors like ‘free floating’ to explore ‘gist’ ideas.
  • creativesoul
    8.2k


    That's better. It seems that you're looking into(talking about) what all meaning takes and/or has in common. That's precisely the aim!
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    Why don't you start by explaining what "meaning" is.Harry Hindu

    I did. From the first page of this thread...

    At a bare minimum, all attribution of meaning(all meaning) requires something to become symbol/sign, something to become symbolized/significant and a creature capable of drawing a mental correlation, association, and/or connection between the two.

    There are no examples to the contrary.
    creativesoul
  • Harry Hindu
    3.2k
    At a bare minimum, all attribution of meaning(all meaning) requires something to become symbol/sign, something to become symbolized/significant and a creature capable of drawing a mental correlation, association, and/or connection between the two.

    There are no examples to the contrary.
    creativesoul

    Does the correlation between symbol and what is symbolized exist only mentally, or is there an external, physical, causal relationship between the two that exists independent of any mind drawing the correlation?
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    Does the correlation between symbol and what is symbolized exist only mentally, or is there an external, physical, causal relationship between the two that exists independent of any mind drawing the correlation?Harry Hindu

    Are those the only choices?
  • Harry Hindu
    3.2k
    I don't know. If there are then move the conversation forward.
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    Can you think of any other way to talk about correlations drawn between different things aside from being either all internal/mental or all external?

    What if correlations consist of both?
  • Harry Hindu
    3.2k
    I would rather dispense with the use of external vs. internal, physical vs. mental dichotomies and just say that all correlations are causal.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    Furthermore, math only supports knowledge,alcontali
    can you clarify what you mean here? I my mind, math support all faculties of the human mind, esp. since the operate under known physics and signaling types.

    Furthermore, math only supports knowledge, i.e. justified beliefs, while knowledge is just one limited mental tool. Knowledge cannot possible be an essential or the primary ingredient in the discovery of new knowledge, because otherwise humanity would either have no knowledge at all, or else, have discovered all possible knowledge already.alcontali

    can you clarify in other terms what you mean here? I don't understand the logic/argument supporting "humanity would either have no knowledge at all, or else, have discovered all possible knowledge already"

    At a bare minimum, all attribution of meaning(all meaning) requires something to become symbol/sign, something to become symbolized/significant and a creature capable of drawing a mental correlation, association, and/or connection between the two.

    There are no examples to the contrary.
    creativesoul
    how are you so sure about that? For example, one type of meaning in something is if it, in-and-of-itself, contributes to an explanatory principle of something else; e.g., a causal reason for a process being triggered is not a symbol or sign.

    No, thats more incestuous 'word salad'. What is 'knowledge' or 'belief' other than 'degree of confidence in the results of potential action' ?.fresco
    knowledge is not confidence . do you maybe mean the know-how to actions needed to achieve a certain result, with some degree of confidence in the causal connection between acting on the knowledge achieving the result?
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    can you clarify in other terms what you mean here? I don't understand the logic/argument supporting "humanity would either have no knowledge at all, or else, have discovered all possible knowledge already"Sir Philo Sophia

    If you need formal knowledge in order to discover new formal knowledge, how do you get hold of the very first formal knowledge? How do you get the process even started? Conversely, all that is required to discover formal knowledge is formal knowledge, then it would all have unravelled already.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    If you need formal knowledge in order to discover new formal knowledge,alcontali

    why are you limiting the definition or process of knowledge building to formal knowledge? Very little of our initial, formative knowledge is formal. And what do you mean exactly by 'formal'?
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    ...one type of meaning in something is if it, in-and-of-itself, contributes to an explanatory principle of something else; e.g., a causal reason for a process being triggered is not a symbol or sign.Sir Philo Sophia

    This is incoherent.
  • Noble Dust
    3.6k
    We have a classic thread reviver.
  • Qwex
    366
    Hunger, Thirst.

    Beauty.

    If you want to live, or avoid pain, food and drink have meaning.

    If you don't, you can regard it as meaningless.

    So what is meaning?

    Examine the fact you take pain if you don't eat and drink, there is already a meaning bias.

    Meaning is a consciousness phenomenon, but in this universe we are forced to find specific things meaningful. Our consciousness is bound.

    In essence, meaning is subjective, but we have objective meaning included in our experience.

    Being in the universe is not like being held down agile by universal weight. We have enough liberty to disobey, but this liberty is gained along an objective path.

    The world's were created for animals theory where the worlds are just objectives for a pre-conscious mind.
  • alcontali
    1.3k
    Very little of our initial, formative knowledge is formal. And what do you mean exactly by 'formal'?Sir Philo Sophia

    Formal knowledge are sentences for which "the paperwork" containing their justification can (conceivably) be verified mechanically.

    Turing stated it this way: It was stated ... that "a function is effectively calculable if its values can be found by some purely mechanical process". We may take this literally, understanding that by a purely mechanical process one which could be carried out by a machine. The development ... leads to ... an identification of computability† with effective calculability.Statement of the Church-Turing thesis

    Paperwork concerning reasoning from first principles (=mathematics) can be verified mechanically. Paperwork related to experimental testing (=science) can (conceivably) be verified mechanically.

    why are you limiting the definition or process of knowledge building to formal knowledge?Sir Philo Sophia

    I limit it to formal knowledge because formal knowledge is by definition understood objectively, since its main requirement is that a machine must be able to perform the verification of its justifying paperwork.

    In Computational Knowledge and the Future of Pure Mathematics, Stephen Wolfram writes that he believes that formal knowledge can also be discovered mechanically (and not just verified):

    Math by enumeration. The first is to enumerate possible statements, and then to use (implicit or explicit) theorem-proving technology to try to determine which of them are true. And the second is to enumerate possible proofs, in effect treeing out possible ways the axioms can be applied to get theorems. It’s easy to do either of these things for something like Boolean algebra. And the result is that one gets a sequence of true theorems. But when I was working on A New Kind of Science, I did a simple experiment for the case of Boolean algebra. One day I’m sure doing this will be an important part of pure mathematical work.Stephen Wolfram on 'Math by enumeration'

    On the other hand, Stephen Wolfram also admits that there are fundamental problems in mechanically searching for knowledge:

    In a sense an axiom system is a way of giving constraints too: it doesn’t say that such-and-such an operator “is Nand”; it just says that the operator must satisfy certain constraints. And even for something like standard Peano arithmetic, we know from Gödel’s Theorem that we can never ultimately resolve the constraints–we can never nail down that the thing we denote by “+” in the axioms is the particular operation of ordinary integer addition.Stephen Wolfram on the limitations of 'math by enumeration'

    By the way, I do not completely understand what Wolfram means by "we can never nail down that the thing we denote by '+' is ... [what we think it is]." He seems to say that the existence of nonstandard models of arithmetic effectively renders the semantics of field arithmetic ambiguous. Of course, this could be the case, but I have never run into anybody else describing the problem in this way.

    I personally do not believe that knowledge can successfully be discovered by mechanical enumeration. But then again, I am not against Wolfram trying. ;-)
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    This is incoherent.creativesoul
    sorry, let me rephrase more clearly:

    For example, one type of meaning regarding something physical is if one observed a physical process that in-and-of-itself, w/o any need of signs or symbols, contributes to or completes, an explanatory principle of something else; i.e., a structural or causal reason or explanation for a process being triggered or explained is not a symbol or sign. e.g., think of observing a missing piece of a puzzle that exactly structural fits and contributes information that completes the empty part of the puzzle whereby you thereafter can understand what the whole puzzle means and how to use it. That (last) piece of the puzzle is not an objectified symbol/sign of anything, it is an analog of the source object.

    is this clear enough now?
  • javra
    1k
    Since the topic's been revived:

    At a bare minimum, all attribution of meaning(all meaning) requires something to become symbol/sign, something to become symbolized/significant and a creature capable of drawing a mental correlation, association, and/or connection between the two.

    There are no examples to the contrary.
    creativesoul

    What correlation, association, and/or connection would you ascribe to the meaning of a term that is at the tip of one’s tongue? To be clear: to the known meaning of a word which is momentarily not known to oneself as sign/symbol … but, again, whose meaning one is nevertheless aware of.

    At the very juncture of this experience, the meaning cannot be deemed to be due to a correlation involving its sign, for the sign is absent from one’s awareness while the meaning is not.
  • creativesoul
    8.2k
    What correlation, association, and/or connection would you ascribe to the meaning of a term that is at the tip of one’s tongue?javra

    This makes no sense on my view. Meaning consists of correlations. Your asking me what meaning I would ascribe to the meaning of a term that is at the tip of one's tongue.

    Hopefully the correct one.



    "At the tip of one's tongue"

    Temporarily forgotten... in part at least. The forgotten term's resting place. Times when one knows that one has previously been able to say something appropriate. Times when one knows that there is an acceptable description, but cannot remember it.



    To be clear: to the known meaning of a word which is momentarily not known to oneself as sign/symbol … but, again, whose meaning one is nevertheless aware of.javra

    Forgotten.


    At the very juncture of this experience, the meaning cannot be deemed to be due to a correlation involving its sign, for the sign is absent from one’s awareness while the meaning is not.javra

    The meaning of a term is lost when a word is on the tip of one's tongue; when a term is forgotten; when one cannot remember which term applies. Akin to apples and apple pies. Apples are part of apple pies. Terms are part of the meaning of the term. In order for a term to be on the tip of one's tongue, one must have already long since used it or been around it's use.

    One cannot forget which word to say unless previous use has paved the way.

    So... this poses no problem for my position.
  • javra
    1k
    This makes no sense on my view. Meaning consists of correlations. Your asking me what meaning I would ascribe to the meaning of a term that is at the tip of one's tongue.

    Hopefully the correct one.



    "At the tip of one's tongue"
    creativesoul

    Joking, I presume.

    Temporarily forgotten... in part at least. [...]

    The meaning of a term is lost when a word is on the tip of one's tongue; when a term is forgotten; when one cannot remember which term applies.
    creativesoul

    I'll offer that only the term's perceptual properties (both visual and auditory) are forgotten, and that terms are always percepts - but that the concept that the term would be used to adequately reference is itself present to the awareness of the person and, hence, is not forgotten. A simple argument for this: Were the concept that the term is used to denote to be forgotten, one would hold no means of recalling what the proper term is. There would be no reason to search for a term, for there would then only be a meaninglessness background to ongoing cognition - rather than a meaning one intends to adequately convey but is momentarily unable to. To make this explicit, a concept which a person contemplates will be in some way meaningful to the bearer - even if inexpressible.

    Again, at such instances of experience, there is awareness of meaning (here, of concepts) devoid of an awareness of what its proper, representational sign or symbol is (the latter always being perceptual - which concepts of themselves are not ... likely a different argument).

    In order for a term to be on the tip of one's tongue, one must have already long since used it or been around it's use.

    One cannot forget which word to say unless previous use has paved the way.
    creativesoul

    No doubt. But how a person comes to hold awareness of a particular concept and, hence, of a conceptual meaning holds no bearing on what is here at issue: the reality of being aware of meaning when the given meaning is, granted momentarily, devoid of a known sign or symbol.
  • creativesoul
    8.2k


    Causality is not existentially dependent upon meaning. Some of the most rudimentary level thought and belief recognize/attribute causality. Causality and meaning are distinct. It seems to me that you're conflating the two.
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