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Re: [xmca] Word Meaning and Concept

Put most briefly, for anybody who is interested:

Signs potentiate interpretation. That is what signs do. That's what semiosis (the activity of signs) is. This is the _semiosic_ activity of triadic sign relations. The meaning of a word consists of the interpretation that the word (qua sign) potentiates.

Weights resist the muscular activity of lifting. This is dynamic physical action (not tradic semiosic activity). In this capacity, the weight is just a thing, and not a sign.

Of course weights, beyond just in their dynamic resistance, can also participate in sign activity (as apparently they did in Congressman Weiner's weight-lifting in the Gongressional gym).

On Wed, 15 Jun 2011, Huw Lloyd wrote:

On 15 June 2011 14:53, Tony Whitson <twhitson@udel.edu> wrote:

The OED reflects the existing usage of words.

Semiotics explores and attempts to account for the nature of signs and sign
activity, including the nature of the meaning that signs do, and how signs
do their meaning.

Semiotics is not about deference to common usage, any more than is CHAT.

Which is why distinct terms are used.

If by "The meaning of a word is something the word does", you mean the
active system of mental representations in which the word meaning (a set of
relations) inheres and participates with other word meaning in particular
contexts, then we need to dig into this system to identify which aspects
relate to the defined word, and which relate to the system in which it
participates.  Care must be taken not to confuse the defined thing with the
system it participates in.  Words (like the weights of weight lifter) don't
(on their own) do anything, the system they participate in does the doing.

This is simply my opinion.  It's fairly self-evident to me, and it's not
something I'm deeply interested in pursing, relative to other interests.
So, hopefully, I've answered the question put to me, and can let you get on
with your ruminations.

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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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