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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 <packer@duq.edu>
To:     "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date:   04/20/2011 11:30 PM
Subject:        Re: [xmca] activity (was concepts)
Sent by:        xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu

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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