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Re: [xmca] Word Meaning and Concept
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- Subject: Re: [xmca] Word Meaning and Concept
- From: Tony Whitson <twhitson@UDel.Edu>
- Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 21:03:43 -0400 (EDT)
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On Wed, 15 Jun 2011, Andy Blunden wrote:
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
This is definitely the meaning of CSP's concept of sign-activity (although
he still used the word "meaning" more conventionally).
And Peirce was familiar with the German idealists, although his
appreciation of their contributions was tempered by seeing their idealism
drawing them into some unfortunate tendencies.
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
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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