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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontologies as social mediators

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 10:45:20 -0600
Message-id: <AA439018-F766-4741-BC17-107767C28805@xxxxxxxx>
On Dec 9, 2009, at 10:00 AM, Jim Rhyne wrote:
> "Meaning" is an ambiguous term, even to logicians who have several, 
>non-equivalent ways to define it.
> The fallacy in this discussion is that several parties are using different 
>senses of the term "meaning". Bill asks the presumed rhetorical question - 
>"Meaning" is a human phenomenon - isn't it? But this question is not at all 
>rhetorical.    (01)

Indeed.    (02)

> Meaning in much human discourse has a lot of what linguistics have called 
>"pragmatic" content, and this content differs from person to person and 
>situation to situation, even when a single utterance is the source of the 
>interpretation.    (03)

Moreover, a great deal of meaning (intuitively understood) is in no wise a 
human phenomenon, as indicated in such facts as that smoke means fire or that 
the pattern of rings in a given tree trunk cross section means that the tree is 
320 years old.  Meaning in this broad sense is simply a systematic connection 
between different types of events or states of affairs.  Such connections can 
be objective, lawlike connections in nature as well as conventional connections 
in human behavior (waving, pointing, winking, speaking).  Barwise and Perry's 
situation semantics in particular (from whom I cribbed the examples above) 
builds directly upon this broader conception of meaning.    (04)

-chris    (05)

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