Inherent Meaning

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Bowser, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Does anything have inherent meaning, or is meaning only a product of the mind?

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  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It's only a product of the mind.
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Lilies remind me of a boss I used to have who liked lilies. She was okay as a person but a real asshole as a boss.

    I don't suppose lilies mean the same thing to everybody else.
     
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    As computers or neural investigations demonstrate, interpretative and semantic processes are realized by physical components, so the "mental" category itself can be viewed as an abstraction from the publicly observable (to some degree) dynamic structure / organization which correlates to any private awareness and thoughts.

    Meaning is relational (_Z_ signifies _R_), which can be established by functional connections within an organism or machine, or by contract and conventions between entities involving inter-connections in the environment.

    Certain characteristics and actions of creatures doubtless have a genetic basis, if that counts as inbuilt structure or configuration. But those are still relationally dependent upon members of a species or an outsider taxon having to cognitively interpret those signs. Part of the latter may be inherited (prior to "psychological" manipulations), but part of it is probably contingently learned or acquired as well.

    Some animals like poisonous frogs and insects can have bright colors or markings on them which warn potential predators. There can be courtship and other behaviors in various species. In living with and serving as the foster "mother" for a brood of juveniles in the course of weeks in their natural habitat, Joe Hutto established that wild turkeys have many distinct vocalizations that signify various things to the group. "While he had familiarized himself with around 25-30 wild turkey calls before hand, he realized that 'within each of their calls were different inflexions that had specific meanings.'".

    ~
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Things do have objective meanings, but they also have subjective meanings that are only valid to you.
     
  9. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    How can a flower have objective meaning? Words would have no meaning had we not learned it from others; try following the conversation of someone speaking a foreign language.
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    It can represent life while it is alive, which has a concrete meaning.
    It can allow the plant to reproduce, which has a concrete meaning.
    It can be blue, which has a concrete meaning in terms of what frequencies of light it reflects.

    It can also be beautiful to you, which is subjective meaning.
    ?? Right. But surely you are not claiming that words have no objective meaning, are you?
     
  11. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Words can have more than one meaning. I might be incline to say they are subjective, dependent on those using them.
     
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I tend to agree with the general product of mind thesis, but even still, perhaps on this occasion recursively to the point of paradox, the answer to the question depends entirely on definitions within the question.

    If I look to a theological inquiry, the answer to Augustine's infamous rock is the square circle. That is to say, the one thing Ultimate Reality, e.g., God, cannot do is what is contradictory according to definition.

    Definitions are important; the whole thing with Terence Howard and multiplication is that he tacitly disputes the idea of what times means.

    We can certainly make a square circle if we remove all definition from the words.

    The question therein is whether objective meaning exists; what words we assign to it are inherently a product of mind.

    Tree, forest, deaf guy who doesn't care, that sort of thing: If you meet the Buddha on the road ....
     
  13. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    How can it "represent" anything at all without a mind?
     
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Inherent meaning - the thing itself - is a product of a mind.

    Meaning is a relationship with a context. It derives from context. Is there inherent context?
     
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  15. Musika Registered Senior Member

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    It is a product of the mind, but then it moves to a bigger question of minds greater than our own and/or the nature of our mind being a tiny prototype of something bigger or grander.
    Why talk of mere flowers, you could talk of the notion of justice, etc.
     
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I find that when someone starts trying to redefine words to 'win' an argument, it's time to say good night.
     
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  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed. It's a logical fallacy:
    Equivocation – the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time).
     

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