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Re: [xmca] activity (was concepts)
I will have to defer to you as I believe you to be the greater scholar as
well as better in translation ( as I alas know only english and pig
latin)> However, instinctively I believe concept to be the dialectic that
allows thinking and speech to merge and become what LSV refers to as
higher psychological processes.
From: Martin Packer <email@example.com>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 04/20/2011 11:30 PM
Subject: Re: [xmca] activity (was concepts)
Sent by: email@example.com
On Apr 20, 2011, at 3:47 PM, Martin Packer wrote:
> 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).
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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