• Janus
    9.7k
    Not something essentially different, and hence (though this isn't Elgin's point) not an excuse to impute symbolic thinking (or an alleged cousin of it) anthropomorphically.bongo fury

    I think smoke being a sign of fire, and the like, are different than, for example a letter symbolizing a sound or a sound symbolizing an object. I would agree they are related of course, you might say symbolizing evolves out of signifying. I haven't read Elgin though.

    I am not sure I am exactly in line with Peirce on this (it's a long time since I've read him), but the way I see it is that signs are material correlations (the habit of association forms when one phenomenon is repeatedly found to be proximally occurrent with another), Ikons are imagistic correlations (the ikon or pictograph looks like what it represents) and symbols are conventional (the association has been established by traditional or social usage). This seems to make good sense to me, but I'd be happy to have this view corrected or improved upon.
  • bongo fury
    817
    ...the world as a metalanguage...
    — fdrake

    To be clear, the metalanguage is on the left, and contains the truth predicate. The object language is on the right. So the object language is the world.
    Banno

    I take it you mean the object language considered as a whole domain of symbols plus its own semantic world of denoted objects comprises the semantic world of the metalanguage? (Nothing like "the world as a metalanguage", but fine. Thank goodness, indeed.)

    But that wouldn't excuse blurring the distinction between syntactic and semantic layers of the object language.

    It doesn't matter that it's natural language, where the layers aren't as clear cut as for Tarski. There's still no need to confuse use vs mention, logical or grammatical subject vs subject-matter, state of affairs or disquotation as in statement vs state of affairs or disquotation as in event (or whatever).
  • Banno
    10.5k
    It doesn't matter that it's natural language, where the layers aren't as clear cut as for Tarski. There's still no need to confuse use vs mention, logical or grammatical subject vs subject-matter, state of affairs or disquotation as in statement vs state of affairs or disquotation as in event.bongo fury

    So... you think I am jumbling use and mention?

    I want to be clear about this. "The cup is on the table" can be dealt with in two ways. We can talk about it, saying things like "The cup is on the table" contains six words, or "The cup is on the table" is true; or we can use it to show that the cup is on the table.

    That's not an ambiguity.

    One can use a screw driver to drive a screw, or one can put it away into the toolbox. That does not make the use of a screwdriver ambiguous.

    Edit:
    When you push on the pragmatics, you end up with something like a formal semantics of statements alone to justify the belief claim.fdrake
    Is this what you had in mind?
  • frank
    6.1k
    Use is deploying a word, phrase, sentence, group or groups of sentences to refer, command, entreat, explain or whatever else we do with words, phrases, sentences or groups of sentences.Janus

    Sure. I was responding to Bongo Fury's comment that confusion of use and mention had reached pandemic status. I was asking for his view of it to set alongside Banno's (which is kind of unique, I think).
  • Banno
    10.5k
    I take it you mean the object language considered as a whole domain of symbols plus its own semantic world of denoted objects comprises the semantic world of the metalanguage?bongo fury

    I mean that the world is all that is the case.

    Look at that and reassure me that you can see that it is about what can be stated.
  • bongo fury
    817
    So... you think I am jumbling use and mention?Banno

    I do.

    The sentence on the right is being used, not mentioned.
    — Banno
    Used as in setting out a state of affairs.
    — Banno
    What is on the RHS is a state of affairs
    — Banno
    bongo fury
  • Banno
    10.5k

    I want to be clear about this. "The cup is on the table" can be dealt with in two ways. We can talk about it, saying things like "The cup is on the table" contains six words, or "The cup is on the table" is true; or we can use it to show that the cup is on the table.

    That's not an ambiguity.

    One can use a screw driver to drive a screw, or one can put it away into the toolbox. That does not make the use of a screwdriver ambiguous.
    Banno

    ??

    I cannot see your point.


    Use your words. Show me the ambiguity.
  • fdrake
    4.5k
    I'd like you to fill this out.Banno

    I shall try to contrast what I've been thinking to what you've been thinking, but I'd like you to answer a couple of questions first. I need you to spell out how you think this works before I try and make the contrast.

    So the object language is the world.Banno

    The missing piece may be that the world is, in Davidson's words, always and already interpreted. The illocution of making statements involves representing the world in words - that's what the game is.Banno

    When you say "the object language is the world", what does that mean? Does it entail that the world is a language because it is an object language, or are you making a different claim? If you are making a different claim, what metaphysics justifies treating the world as a language?

    Moreover, I'll grant that the world is "always already interpreted", but I don't see why that should make the content of that tacit interpretation propositional or even just language-like. Can you spell that out for me? Heidegger's emphatically against the claim that tacit interpretation works primarily by how it comes to be embedded in declarative sentences. Even though he sides with the claim that language ("discourse") plays a central role in giving the world its interactive texture (of institutions, intentions, rituals, signposts, jokes etc) and that texture is "always already there".

    For Heidegger, propositionality; called the predicative "as structure" - conceived of as the adequation of thought and being through sententially expressed judgements - is retrojected onto pragmatic activity. It arises during conceptual/intellectual judgements regarding activities. It's like Witty's seeing-as applied to statable judgements - a seeing that (such and such) is the case. This is contrasted to the pre-predicative "as structure"; the pragmatic, procedural and existential components of interpretation - more of a seeing-how and the how of seeing-as. He has language "discourse" interweaving+coordinating both of those "as-structures" without exhausting all of their aspects, notably only the first has statements (judgements) playing a central role.

    (substantial edits)
  • frank
    6.1k
    The missing piece may be that the world is, in Davidson's words, always and already interpreted. The illocution of making statements involves representing the world in words - that's what the game is.Banno

    There's a great sci-fi movie called Arrival in which the protagonist gains the alien's worldview as she learns their language. She subsequently has the ability to travel forward in her her own timeline like the aliens can.

    On the one hand, this plot expresses your point that what we know of the world is bound by language and vice versa.

    But it also conflicts in the idea that the world (in total) is expressable in language. It's logically possible that there are aspects of the world that we can't point to with language because we don't have the concepts (yet).

    So you could narrow down your assessment of the RHS to 'the world as we know it presently'.

    You can't say it's the world in total unless you can rule out the plot of Arrival and say our worldview is presently complete. And don't bring up Davidson's translation thing. I'm not saying these supposed hidden parts of the world are necessarily untranslatable. Just that our languages don't necessarily cover every aspect of the world in total.
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