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Re: [xmca] fetishism | word meaning

And BTW - on the subject of "fetishism" - Sfard's book includes a good and relevant discussion of "reification."

On Tue, 7 Jun 2011, Tony Whitson wrote:

Peirce explicitly contended that the meaning of any sign (including words, thoughts, arguments, feelings, or whatever), _qua_ signs, lies in the virtuality of potential future interpretations (just by virtue of the fundamental nature of what it is to be a sign, i.e., in the activity of sign-relations).

Also, notice that I'm using "meaning" as something that we -- and our words, thoughts, etc. -- DO, not something they contain, convey, etc. I recently noticed similar usage in the title of Jay's MCA review of Sfard's book, which speaks of "Meaning Mathematically," not "mathematical meaning." The latter locution could mean the same as Jay's, but it also would allow the more familiar reading of "meaning" as a noun. If we need to begin meaning differently than how we might be heard to mean in positivist discourse, I think we need to begin choosing speaking that resists assimilation to that discourse.

On Mon, 6 Jun 2011, mike cole wrote:

The poem is neat and your explication brings to mind a recurrent thought
when I encounter the core idea of "the thought is completed in the word." I
(think I) know what LSV and Mandelshtam are saying, but I always have this
thought that the thought is not yet completed, not in so far as it is taken up, perhaps transformed, and comes back again at a later time, in some new,
albeit related, form, to begin that side of the cycle over again.

On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 2:24 PM, Tony Whitson <twhitson@udel.edu> wrote:

I clipped the wrong line from Martin's post in that last message. I meant
the Dickinson verse in reponse to the line that now appears below from

In Dickinson's verse, what's not timeless is not merely the meaning that a word does as a lexical unit in a language (i.e., in the philological sense), but even in a specific utterance the word spoken continues meaning, as it
continues living, non-timelessly.

On Sun, 1 May 2011, Tony Whitson wrote:

 On Tue, 26 Apr 2011, Martin Packer wrote:

 For LSV word-meaning is not timeless. It changes over time; he didn't

study philology for nothing!

 A word is dead
    When it is said
  Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
 That day.

     --Emily Dickinson

I find it helpful to think of meaning as something that words do -- not
something they contain, convey, etc.

Tony Whitson
UD School of Education
NEWARK  DE  19716


"those who fail to reread
 are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                  -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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