Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu Mar 28 2002 - 04:55:34 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence
    Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 20:55:34 -0800
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    >From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence
    >Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 19:40:44 +0100
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: Grant Callaghan <>
    >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
    >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.
    >Hi Grant,
    >Yeah, that is what Putman meant, I suppose.
    >You mustn 't confuse the meaning of the words/ expressions with the usual
    >criteria which defines the reference of a word.
    >Everybody knows,( like you with Hip) a lot of stereotypical characteris-
    >tics about what ' hip ' could mean. You have mentioned a few.
    >But if the meaning of a word is fixed into its reference, than is the
    >of that word what IT IS.
    >In Putmans example, the reference is fixed by which what the substance
    >has to be in all kinds of different worlds possible to be water_ thus H2O.
    >In all possible worlds water has to be H2O and H2O has to be water
    >and not like Putman said " twater ".
    >It means that you indeed can use the word ' hip ' in all the by us known
    >possibilities ( and a few new ones can be found, I don 't doubt that), but
    >you can 't make up a few where ' hip ' looses its reference_ that is its
    >meaning in all possible worlds.
    >Meaning, that the 'real meaning' of any word is known only to a small
    >group of people_ only by jazz players for example.
    >You can indeed force a new meaning for the word hip, but only after
    >agreement it will be accepted as such.
    >You can 't say, in a way I am going to blow my hip... I suppose every-
    >body will know what you are talking about ( by resemblance), but ' hip '
    >has no reference with/ to that expression.
    >Jus for laughs_ break a hip ! Sounds more agressive than the tendency
    >for good fortune if you break a leg, don 't you think !?
    >That is what Putman meant, without the reference a word has no meaning.
    >PS, I am not an expert in such matters, I was just reading an article....
    Ironically, my Taiwanese brother-in-law blew his hip out practicing karate
    and had to have it replaced with a metal implant. But that's another story.



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