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Re: [xmca] Word Meaning and Concept

I pretty much agree with everything you said, Tony. We mean something only by means of utilising an existing material form, given meaning by usage by means of others' meaning, etc., Thus meaning is not objective OR subjective, but objective AND subjective. Otherwise we could not mean at all.

For this insight we must thank Johann Gottfried Fichte. I am delighted to hear that Good old Charles Sanders Peirce thought the same with his sign-activity.


Tony Whitson wrote:
Messages in this thread that have appeared subsequently to the one from Andy that I'm responding to here have used "meaning" as a noun (it seems to me), thereby referring to meaning as something that is appropriately signified by a noun.

Andy's post suggests using "meaning" as a verb (gerund or participle), which I think is much better. The meaning of a word is something the word does (actually or potentially), not something it contains, conveys, etc. A person's meaning (like a word's meaning) is also something that the person does -- just as their dancing is something that they do.

I am meaning this in the Peircean sense of meaning as sign-activity, or semiosis. Andy is suggesting a consistency with LSV.

But is not the "this" that I mean, when I say "I am meaning this," something that can be signified by the pronoun "this" (or the nominal phrase, "my meaning")? I would answer again that what I mean is like what I dance. We can treat my "dance" as a noun that names a thing, but it really is a nominalized term for the dancing -- for something that is not some "thing," but (rather) some doing -- for what is fundamentally an action or activity. (And dancing/dance seems to align well with acting (action)/activity.)

We can still differentiate among valid, less valid, or completely deranged ways a word can _mean_, as it's interpreted in the ongoing semiosic generation of interpretants (Peirce), and such differentiations can be along the lines of hermeneutical, anthropological, or more juridical or "official" (as in David's Kangxi example) in/validity; but the array of actual or potential meaning(s) that a word can do are all within the potentiality of the word's meaning.

I read David's post as not inconsistent with what I'm reading from Andy, except that instead of "meaning making," I would suggest "meaning doing," or the doing, not the making, of my meaning, or the meaning of a word.

What is your thinking?

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