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Meaning Is Use

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Posted by Harvey on October 25, 2001 21:27:40 UTC

Dick,

What you are really asking is how does the world have any meaning. If the world has meaning then we can use that meaning effectively to produce knowledge. For example, an early human might have said 'Thug threw rock'. Knowledge of Thug comes from recognizing words (sound impressions) with actions (visual impressions). There is a use or pattern between sound impressions (words) and visual impressions (actions). I think it is this pattern recognition ability that brings meaning to language (again, meaning is use to use a Wittgenstein phrase).

When we say terms like time, reality, truth, etc., we are associating patterns of sense impressions in a manner so that we can understand the patterns themselves in a useful light. It is this ability which allows humans and other species to take advantage of their environment. Without pattern recognition abilities we could not survive.

Warm regards, Harv

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