Get Away from the Metaphorical Understanding of Meaning

Propositions are supposed to be idealizations, rather like numbers or vectors or some other abstract formulation. It looks at first very powerful, and for some purposes it’s very useful. But it takes you away from enlightenment because it gives you this false sense that you haven’t understood something really until you’ve figured out how to articulate, how to point to, how to identify the proposition that a particular meaningful event has. No. There are all kinds of meaningful events that defy putting in terms of any particular proposition. That doesn’t make them not meaningful. You have to turn the whole thing upside down.

This is what I call David Haig’s strange inversion. Start with the simplest imaginable case, like a bacterium that responds to a gradient in its environment, and that response has a meaning. Well, what does it mean? In a way, don’t ask. It has meaning because the response in one way or another is relevant to the wellbeing of that bacterium. If it’s responding to food by moving towards it, that’s its meaning, and it’s not more precise than that. We have to get away from the idea that that’s a merely figurative or metaphorical case of meaning. It’s as real as meaning ever gets. Then, we start with dead simple cases of meaning, the meanings of the actions of bacteria and the like. We can get even simpler than that and talk about the meanings of the structures of proteins. We can get very simple and treat those as our atoms, those as our basic units. We see human meaning in books, newspapers, and on television—meaning that’s linguistically bound as important and which has many properties that other kinds of meaning don’t have, not as the foundational case but rather as the exotic cases of meaning, the cases that create theoretical illusions of various sorts, such as the hunt for the phantom propositions.


Folksonomies: meaning understanding anthropomorphism preposition

/health and fitness/disease (0.598942)
/science/mathematics/arithmetic (0.448425)
/art and entertainment/books and literature/poetry (0.331217)

Meaning Propositions (0.945958 (:0.000000)), particular meaningful event (0.849958 (:0.000000)), simplest imaginable case (0.799604 (:0.000000)), human meaning (0.760065 (:0.000000)), dead simple cases (0.684824 (:0.000000)), Metaphorical Understanding (0.579029 (:0.000000)), meaningful events (0.546182 (:0.000000)), abstract formulation (0.531704 (:0.000000)), particular proposition (0.508320 (:0.000000)), David Haig (0.499576 (:0.000000)), false sense (0.493223 (:0.000000)), strange inversion (0.489840 (:0.000000)), metaphorical case (0.488203 (:0.000000)), phantom propositions (0.480187 (:0.000000)), basic units (0.461154 (:0.000000)), various sorts (0.450714 (:0.000000)), foundational case (0.446891 (:0.000000)), theoretical illusions (0.444416 (:0.000000)), exotic cases (0.419406 (:0.000000)), bacterium (0.293924 (:0.000000)), kinds (0.257603 (:0.000000)), meanings (0.247949 (:0.000000)), response (0.237584 (:0.000000)), way (0.227453 (:0.000000))

David Haig:Person (0.835848 (:0.000000))

Abstraction (0.960053): dbpedia_resource
Semantics (0.862431): dbpedia_resource
Philosophy of language (0.851445): dbpedia_resource
Linguistics (0.621916): dbpedia_resource
Simple living (0.579738): dbpedia_resource
Meaning (0.534790): dbpedia_resource
Truth (0.503798): dbpedia_resource
Metaphysics (0.472193): dbpedia_resource

 "A Difference That Makes a Difference"
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Dennett , Daniel C. (11.22.17), "A Difference That Makes a Difference", Retrieved on 2017-11-22
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: information thought ai