Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri Mar 22 2002 - 00:55:12 GMT

  • Next message: Grant Callaghan: "Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence"

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence
    Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 16:55:12 -0800
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    >From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence
    >Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 21:26:24 +0100
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: Wade T.Smith <>
    > > On Sunday, March 17, 2002, at 02:28 , Grant Callaghan wrote:
    > > > You may not like what they were trying to do, but what has that got to
    > > > do with observing the way words are used?
    > >
    > > Didn't remark upon my likes or dislikes, but, about the way words were
    > > being used. To intentionally befuddle and swindle.
    >Hi all,
    >Picked the post of Wade out of the many to get this across,
    >Reading the posts about this thread it seems to me there are two sides
    >with a different saying about the way words are used, and accordingly
    >so, there meaning.
    >Just reading a magazine, I came across the idea of ' Twin- Earth ' by
    >Hilary Putman. Can 't the list- mem(e)bers use that thought- experiment
    >to settle their argument !?
    >After all, he writes that we all learn to use a word in a particular
    >context, that
    >once the meaning of a word is connected with its " reference ", than is its
    >meaning fixed, water becomes H2O so to speak.
    >The simple man in the street knows the stereotypical aspects of water, but
    >we need scientists to give us the essence of water...
    >Meaning, the ' meaning ' of words is determinated by the context wherein
    >we learned to use them. You can 't determine the meaning just by yourself.
    >The reference of ' water ' is fixed by the context wherein you have learned
    >to use the word. We are not in control over the meaning of our words.
    >( Although, a vague memory tells me something about two twinsisters
    >who developed a language on their own....)
    >Trying to help,
    That's where the twain no longer meet, Kenneth. I say a word means what I
    use it to mean when I manke an assertion. You may not understand what I
    mean by it, or you may think I'm not using the word properly, but the
    meaning of the word I mean when I say it is mine. What you get from it is
    yours. The "meaning" you are talking about is the most common meaning as
    exhibited in a dictionary. But if you are trying to understand what I or
    anyone else is saying, you have to make a judgement about what I/they are
    using the word to mean. You will understand my words in direct proportion
    to your familiarity with how I have used those words in the past. The less
    familiar you are, the less likely you are to understand.

    A hip, for example, is commonly a reference to a part of the body. But if I
    ask, "Are you hip?" that's a different usage entirely. And if I say "I'm
    going to hip you in the head," that's a meaning you might have to reach for
    to understand. But how I use the word determines what it means to the
    people I am addressing it to. Jazz musicians might have no trouble at all
    understanding that last quotation. An English teacher, on the other hand,
    might just be confused by it.


    Now tell me, what did that word mean the way I used it in the preceeding

    If you guessed "nothing," you got it right. In isolation, it can only
    represent a sound, as in "Hip, hip, hooray!"



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