Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Word meaning: The meaning of words must always be distinguished from the meaning of sentences, as the use of individual words and their context have a stronger influence on their meaning. See also sentence meaning, meaning, meaning theory, context, usage theory, subsententials.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Terrence W. Deacon on Word Meaning - Dictionary of Arguments

I 59
Word Meaning/Deacon: it is not the case that words differ from other signals by chance or conventionally.
I 60
Tradition: assumes that there are two kinds of referential or meaningful relations:
a) transparent: here a similarity between the signal (word, picture, sign) and the object addressed (icon) works
b) opaque: this resemblance is missing here. Instead, additional knowledge about the code is required.
Icon: Refers to similarity characteristics between the sign (word, sound, image) and the object. (Transparency).
Symbol: refers without such similarity, instead a code has to be learned. (Opacity).
Signal: is simply a sign that is physically correlated with other objects without considering the semantics.
>Signal, >Semantics.
>Index, >Petrol gauge example, Dretske.
I 62
Reference: Examples such as the > twin earth show that reference does not generally need something like meaning to be determined.
>Twin Earth, >Reference, >H. Putnam.
Reference/Solution/DeaconVsPutnam: what makes inanimate things such as blackening of the paper or a sign on the screen meaningful is an interpretation of which a crucial part really...
I 63
(even if not everything) happens „in the head“. Reference is not intrinsic "in the" word (noise, gesture), but reference is formed by a kind of response to it.
Cf. >"Meanings are not in the head"/Putnam.
>Reference/Deacon, > Interpretation/Deacon, >Intrinsicness, >Words, >Subsententials, cf. >Sentences.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Dea I
T. W. Deacon
The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of language and the Brain New York 1998

Dea II
Terrence W. Deacon
Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter New York 2013

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> Counter arguments against Deacon
> Counter arguments in relation to Word Meaning

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2024-04-18
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