Re: [xmca] RE: meaning and sense and has anyone any opinion

From: Wolff-Michael Roth (
Date: Wed Jul 27 2005 - 16:25:41 PDT

Hi Bill,
I am just coming back from a bicycle ride. I have been thinking about
the same issues. Especially I was sitting down to write about
majority--this, too, is problematic and here is why:

Most people in this world share the meaning of "force" and velocity
with Aristotle; few share it with Newton, physicists like myself, a few
chemists, and then a few others, perhaps. Now you (one, we) are in
trouble, for we would have to accept the majority position as the
shared meaning, but this is not the scientific one.

The other thing I wanted to say has to do with "the law" (as written in
a law book) and dictionary. This, too, cannot be the meaning you are
talking about, for, written, the former is reduced to linguistic
meaning and is no longer psychological, as you, LSV, I etc. want it.

We may get around the problem, if we take meaning as the possible
senses people can make, not the sum total of all people currently
living, but the generalized possibility. Then every sense is a concrete
(personal) realization of meaning, but it is also different--this is
just the way Il'enkov allows the concrete universal and the many
concrete particulars to be related, in a genetic way. This way we have
all people involved in constituting meaning, but none of the people
actually have to have the same as anyone else. We have a truly
dialectical articulation of meaning and (personal) sense, fully
psychological. . .


On 27-Jul-05, at 3:47 PM, Blanton, William E wrote:

> Michael,
> I suppose it is shared diversity of sense. Like the US citizens,
> Canada must have agreed to agreed with the meaning established by the
> representative judiciary, parliament, or whatever. The diverse senses
> do exist. But when meaning is contested, the coordinating tool is the
> meaning of the law. I would guess that its meaning rests a vote and
> even dissenting opinion. that represents sense of the minority. The
> disent. At that level, majority sets the meaning to coordinate civic
> behavior. Over generations, senses may be transformed to meaning. What
> a slow process, this thing of meaning.
> I wonder what the conditions are for having a meaning. We seem to get
> by with sense when we are dealing with very important issues. For
> example, if we get blown away with the next hurricane and want to sue
> the builder, do we engage in everybody's sense of a building code or
> what the meaning of a building code? A building code might have
> different meanings from one defined border to another, however.
> I guess we all get by with sense, but when it becomes important we
> seek meaning.
> BB
> So is this shared meaning of "marriage"? If we believe the media, then
> "most Canadians" share it to be "the union of two people" whereas there
> are, I don't know how many, for whom it is "the union between a man and
> a woman."
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