Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Snow is white

I frequently see the idea of meaning explained like this:

The meaning of "snow is white" is that snow is white.

Authors who write that should be ashamed of themselves. 

For one thing they are trying to define meaning as the removal of quotation marks. That does not define any meaning when there are no quotation marks and could lead to the impression that only quoted strings can have a meaning; which is absurd. (Adding further quotation marks doesn't help but you can make some progress if you use a notation for the inverse of quotation marks.)

For another: Just how lazy are you? A more correct answer is that, there is a thing called "snow" with an attribute called "white", so the structure of the meaning is shown as
The content of the meaning consists of  the many contextual specifics associated to "snow" and "white". For example that white is a color or that snow is cold and happens in winter. If you want to try annotating it, there is a huge web of implicit meaning surrounding the expression.

1 comment:

  1. In college I tried to annotate the symbol pointing to its 'ground' meaning and tried to represent the passage of time as a sequence of lines like this:
    When the object was no longer present one could still write
    and this gives rise to putting the arrow on top of A, an ornament in the same style as quotation marks.
    The good thing about this notation was that "A", A, and A-> all meant different things.

    While I am summarizing my college philosophy, I'll take this opportunity to say that my central idea was that objects derived their "oneness" or "objectness" from the relation 'A->object'. And that without a naming of an object there was no segregation of that object from the rest of the universe [at least from the observer's point of view].