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Re: [xmca] activity (was concepts)

On Apr 20, 2011, at 3:47 PM, Martin Packer wrote:

> Eric,
> I don't know, I think LSV makes it pretty clear that word-meaning is not the concept. He criticizes Ach, who:
> "identifies concept and word meaning, and thus precludes any possibility of change and development in concepts" (T&S chapter 6, para 16).
> Martin

I apologise for my curt message earlier today. As it happens I had been sitting in a cafe for a couple of hours musing over this very issue, and when I returned home to read your message I couldn't resist a quick reply.

It seems to me that one way of thinking about what LSV does in T&S is that he defines what word-meaning [Значение] is by explaining successively what it is not. That does seem a bit dialectical, doesn't it? And one of the things that word-meaing is not is concept (ch 7). It is also not sound (preface and ch 1). Is it not objective reference (ch 2). 

And I think this clarifies some of the issues in reading the book. For example, when in chapter 5 LSV borrows Frege's & Husserl's distinction between 'sense' and 'reference,' Sinn and Bedeutung should translate as Смысле and Значение, but LSV has the *former* term as Значение. So Frege's distinction becomes 'meaning' and 'objective referent.' Why? Because LSV is using this distinction to make the point that the meaning is not the object the word refers to, which is a commonsense view and also that of several psychologists whose work he is critiquing.

In chapter 7, however, when LSV introduces Paulhan's distinction between 'sense' and 'signification' it is the *latter* term which he calls Значение, while the former is Смысле. Why? Because although LSV gives credit to Paulhan for introducing the distinction, he criticizes him for not solving the problem of the relationship between the two terms. And meaning, for LSV, is neither Paulhan's sense nor his signification. 

Here is the paragraph in full:

Our research has been able to establish three fundamental characteristics which are linked amongst themselves and which constitute the originality of the semantic aspect of inner speech. The first fundamental characteristic is the predominance of the sense [смысла] of a word over its meaning [значением] in inner speech. Paulhan has rendered a great service to psychological analysis by introducing the difference between the sense of a word and its meaning. The sense of a word, as Paulhan has demonstrated, represents the ensemble of all of the psychological facts which appear in our consciousness thanks to a word. The sense of a word is in this way a dynamic, fluid, complex semantic formation which has several zones of different stability. The meaning is only one of the areas of sense that the word acquires in a given context, but it is the zone which is most stable, most unified, and most precise. As is well known, a word easily changes its sense in different contexts. The meaning, in contrast, is the immobile and immutable point which remains stable in diverse contexts. This change in sense in the word is what we have established as the fundamental fact in the semantic analysis of speech. The real meaning of a word is not constant. In one operation, the word has one meaning, and in another it takes on a different meaning. This dynamicity of meaning brings us to the problem of Paulhan, that is to say the relationship between meaning and sense. The word, taken by itself in the dictionary, has only one meaning. But this meaning is nothing other than the potential which is realized in living language; this meaning is only the foundation stone of sense. 

LSV's word meaning is not signification because it is not a fixed, dictionary definition. But it is not Paulhan's sense either. Sense is an important phenomenon, especially for understanding inner speech and its relation to thought on the one hand and social speech on the other. But it is not word-meaning. For one thing, LSV points out that Paulhan shows that sense can actually be detached from the word.

So here too the emphasis is on what word-meaning is not. Not sense, not sound, not referent, not concept. 



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