Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Metaphysics of Meaning and the Symbolism of Language :: Philosophy Communication Essays

The Metaphysics of Meaning and the Symbolism of Language "There are no facts, only interpretations" — Nachlass Friedrich Nietzsche In this essay, I shall expound the naà ¯ve view, or theory, of symbolism, which assumes, or argues, that in the symbolic system of language thoughts are expressed by words, and that words have meaning, thereof. I shall show that the naà ¯ve theory of symbolism is invalid, and offer an alternative view incorporating my own empirical theories of meaning and language. I shall also argue against the naà ¯ve view of such a relation as 'expression' in the context of a symbolic theory of language. I shall further assert that meaning cannot be a property of words, or any linguistic symbol. In naà ¯ve symbolism, 'expression' is the relation connecting thoughts and words, allowing us to compile phrases such as, 'thoughts and their expressions', where 'their' implies a possessive quality that thoughts and words share. Here, the words are possessed by the thoughts; words belong to thoughts, and have a causal relation. It is statements such as these that I will pay philosophical attention to. I shall be considering whether such a relationship is possible, how it comes about, and the logic of such a relation. I will show that there is no such causal relation, nor logically mutual dependence between thoughts and words. Further, I will argue it cannot be said, with any logical validity, that symbolism in language implies a possessive relation such as, 'thoughts and their words'. Thoughts are not in the possession of words, for this implies an illogical causal relation. The term 'expression', and all its conjugated forms, is bogus in the naà ¯ve position it plays between words and thoughts. There are thoughts, there are words, or symbols. However, the two are neither logically related, nor mutually dependent. The conclusion of this essay will be the argument, logically and philosophically defended that the game of language we all share in order to communicate and understand each other, is a guessing game. The thoughts of others cannot be known through language, only pointed to. Expressions are merely indicators of meaning. Understanding, in the generally accepted sense, never happens. Finally, a piece of speculation into the theory of language development. Much of our ability to understand and use language comes from the tools we attained in our formative years. One such tool was the copy-cat style of learning the empirical expressions.

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