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Re: [xmca] Word Meaning and Concept

On 13 June 2011 04:42, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> That is to compacted and complicated for me to be able to gloss to myself,
> David.
> I am struggling with the polysemy of both "meaning" and "concept" in this
> discussion to make sense of their relationship very well. Ditto sign and
> symbol, although Huw's
> note about signs and shadows nudged me along. I noted that Anton referred
> in
> a recent note to "tool and sign/symbol" and wondered what he meant, but was
> too preoccupied to ruminate.
> Here is a thought I had while ruminating. Might it be appropriate to say
> that meaning is a tool of human processes of concept formation ?
Yes, I think so.

Re nudges, you might like to consider that analog phenomena occurs in
parallel (all at once), whilst the non-analogical aspects of speech and text
are sequential.  In other words, speech is a serialized description of a

Words, word meanings, predicates and propositions serve the function of
(sequential, serialized) description.  Describing is a particular kind of
action, or activity.  Concepts are used to regulate (coordinate) action.

In this context, I think it would be useful to distinguish word meanings
from sentence meanings, such as the child's utterance of "Dog!", i.e.
"There's a dog!"


> mike
> PS- There was a fascinating segment on the American Evening TV Program, 60
> minutes, this evening.. A controversy about "The N word" , the banning of
> Huck Finn, and the success of a book which substitutes the word "slave" for
> the word "nigger." One proponent of the argument for using slave was
> teacher
> who is shown in class discussing "the n word", asking her class, "why do we
> say the N word instead of 'n-i-g-g-e-r' spelling it out?"
> Now THERE is an example of the power of the book!! At least I am not alone
> in my
> confusions about such matters.  :-))
> On Sat, Jun 11, 2011 at 8:17 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com
> >wrote:
> >  This is Evald Ilyenkov, "The Concept of the Ideal', in "The Ideal in
> Human
> > Activity", Pacifica, CA: MIA, p. 268:
> >
> > "The meaning of the term 'ideal' in Marx and Hegel is the same, but the
> > concepts, i.e. the ways of understanding the 'same' meaning are
> profoundly
> > different. After all the word 'concept' in dialectically interpreted
> logic
> > is a synonym for understanding the essence of the' matter, the essence of
> > phenomena which are only outlined by a given term; it is by no means a
> > synonym for 'the meaning of the term' which may be formally interpreted
> as
> > the sum total of 'attributes' of the phenomena to which the term is
> > applied."
> >
> > Ilyenkov then goes on to discuss Marx's cuckoo-like propensity "not to
> > change the historically formed 'meanings of terms'" but to propose very
> > different understandings thereof, and thus to change the very concept.
> >
> > Three questions:
> >
> > a)  In addition to the ONTOGENETIC argument against the equation of
> meaning
> > and concept (viz. that if meaning were already equivalent to concept then
> > meaning could not develop into a concept), can't we make a SOCIOGENETIC
> one?
> > Doesn’t this sociogenetic argument explain both the cultural adaptation
> of
> > concepts over time (e.g. “quantity” into “operator” in math, “grammar”
> into
> > “discourse” in linguistics) and the cuckoo like exaptation of other
> people’s
> > terms to express quite different concepts by Marx and by Vygotsky (e.g.
> > "egocentric", "pseudoconcept", etc.)?
> >
> > b) Viewed sociogenetically, isn't this distinction between conceptual
> > essence and word meaning the same as the distinction between
> signification
> > value and sense value? That is, from the point of view of Johnson's
> > dictionary (or the Kangxi dictionary, or the Port Royal grammar, or any
> > other state codification of meaning) the state-ratified meaning of words
> is
> > their essence and the other, vernacular uses are simply senses, folk
> values,
> > the range of phenomena to which hoi polloi apply the words?
> >
> > b) Isn't the OPPOSITE true when we look at the matter microgenetically?
> > That is, from the point of view of interpersonal meaning making, the
> essence
> > of the phenomenon to which I apply the term in the given instance is the
> > self-legitimated, auto-ratified, individually-approved sense value and
> the
> > signification value is simply the range of conventional meanings, the
> range
> > of conventional phenomena to which the word is applied and misapplied by
> > others?
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Seoul National University of Education
> >
> >
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