Re: What Meaning Means (was: RE: presentation)

From: John Wilkins (
Date: Sat 17 Jun 2006 - 12:05:01 GMT

  • Next message: Robin Faichney: "Re: What Meaning Means (was: RE: presentation)"

    On 17/06/2006, at 9:56 PM, Chris Lofting wrote:

    >> -----Original Message-----
    >> From: [] On
    >> Behalf
    >> Of Robin Faichney
    >> Sent: Saturday, 17 June 2006 9:09 PM
    >> To:
    >> Subject: Re: What Meaning Means (was: RE: presentation)
    >> I think I'm basically in agreement with Tim on this, but would put it
    >> slightly differently.
    >> Meaning has a subjective component and therefore, strictly speaking,
    >> has no place within memetics.
    >> I follow Wittgenstein in viewing the meaning of language as its
    >> use in
    >> a given context. You know what a word means if and only if you know
    >> how to use it.
    > Words are representations of feelings. The basic feelings are
    > genetic such
    > that we all have a sense of 'wholeness' but what it is applied to
    > is up to
    > personal and/or collective preferences.
    > It is possible to communicate with others without speaking the same
    > language
    > in that as species-members we all have the core meanings as these
    > qualities.
    > Thus given a novel context any member of the species can guess what
    > is being
    > communicated based on the 'hard coded' set of meanings we all share.
    > This gets into the differences of primate emotions vs those derived
    > from a
    > developed sense of self (starting about 24 months after birth). As
    > such, we
    > may have problems communicating using derived emotions but will
    > find it easy
    > using genetically-determined emotions.

    It's very arguable whether emotions are genetically determined. Some emotive responses are, but the actual emotions are socially mediated.
    > We still depend on over 50% of communication being none verbal and
    > operating
    > holistically (in parallel). That form of communication may be
    > 'vague' when
    > compared the precision of our serial forms of communication but it
    > is still
    > communication and contains universal elements and so not related to
    > local
    > context.
    > Since the qualities of meaning are sourced in patterns of self-
    > referencing,
    > and the universe demonstrates properties of self-referencing, so the
    > universe can be found to be 'meaningful' without there being any
    > agent of
    > communication present other than the perception of that universe by
    > individual consciousness.
    > Since context can push instincts/habits so it can push 'meaning'
    > without the
    > individual consciousness actually 'knowing' what is going on; the
    > species-nature reacts as the consciousness-nature is still trying to
    > interpret things; IOW there are cause-effect dynamics going on that
    > relate
    > to 'purpose' without the individual realising that dynamic.
    > This moves into the singular/particular-general differences where the
    > singular is driven to interpret and so comes up with specialist
    > perspectives
    > that create a 'new' language to describe something already
    > described in some
    > other form(at).
    > Included in the realm of the singular is the creation of specialist
    > languages that rely on existing, unconscious, qualities as the
    > foundations
    > for language creation through application of labels. These basic
    > qualities
    > are universals in that they are context-insensitive. Thus all
    > specialist
    > languages are relabelling of these universals and it is the
    > universals that
    > allow for translations etc.
    > Specialisations, and so specialist languages, be they of the
    > individual,
    > general collective (e.g. English), or some specialist discipline (e.g.
    > physics), all have a common base that allows for one specialisation
    > to be
    > used as a source of analogy/metaphor in describing some other.
    > Children, when first learning what to associate the inbuilt
    > qualities with
    > the local labels have no idea what the word means, they just
    > associate it
    > with intuitive qualities of wholeness, partness, etc and develop
    > from there
    > using heuristics.
    > Thus the local universals such as the word 'house' are associated
    > with the
    > general qualities (objects/relationships) and work by rote. THEN
    > comes finer
    > details analysis and the recognition of abstract terms as well as
    > concrete
    > terms.
    > The hard coding of meanings allow for customisation to make one's own
    > language and so communicating with self - this is common in
    > psychosis as it
    > is in general singular development (fundamentalism leads into new
    > 'language'
    > developments to sharply differentiate the particular collective
    > from all
    > others).
    > Given the studies on other neuron-dependent life forms so feelings
    > equate
    > with meaning derivation - and so there is no need for words per se
    > where
    > words are serial communication and can be precise and so refine
    > parallel
    > communication where words are no longer necessary ;-)
    > Emotional communication is by resonance where it is the only method
    > that
    > allows us to share the same space with another - where empathy/
    > sympathy
    > operates, where mirroring operates, where mime operates. No words
    > necessary.
    > Chris.
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > see:

    John S. Wilkins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biohumanities Project
    University of Queensland - Blog:
    "Darwin's theory has no more to do with philosophy than any other
    hypothesis in natural science." Tractatus 4.1122
    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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