Permalink Reply by Dee Neely
Words don't have meaning on the objective scale. They are symbols which relate to ideas, but they aren't objective. They are subjective. They are subjective depending on condition, on circumstance, on culture, on language...
Take the word power which we are discussing. The English word "power" has 20 different meanings according tohttp://www.thefreedictionary.com/power
This makes the word very, very subjective. Science and mathematics are the only reliable way to determine meaning.
Your statement than many people have been powerful and not corrupt bears investigation. I would be interested in seeing who you think qualifies as powerful and not corrupt so we can compare.
Permalink Reply by MCT
"Words don't have meaning on the objective scale."
-Abject nonsense. The concept of ability is objective, whether we refer to it with the phoneme power or ability. It has necessary characteristics that are real and reducible to perceptual evidence in any language. We remove the unique subjective perceptions when we form concepts, that's what makes them concepts. Your willingness and attempt to defeat the process of definition by essentials cannot invalidate that XBox is an electric gaming system, no matter how you cut it. It is not a relative or subjective concept. It has necessary essentials. It is definitely some things and not others. Words, the phonemes for concepts, having objective meanings is necessary for communication about this one objective reality we all inhabit. Atheism is the belief that there are no gods. This is not a subjective definition, in fact, if it is a definition, it is not subjective. Objectification of our perceptions is necessary for language development. Cortically, this is exactly what is going on. Our cortex examines multiple versions of patterns of perceptual evidence about something that actually exists in reality and after we remove or omit the subjective arbitrary characteristics, such as color and material, in the case of a chair, and retain the objective characteristics, such as shape and purpose, we can hold this in place, attach a phoneme and communicate to others or hold in our awareness for comparing and contrasting other things like and dislike it. This is how we make knowledge. This is very consistent with new successful models of artifical intelligence, most notably Jeff Hawkins' Hierarchical Temporal Memory. Concept formation, which is necessary for rational thought and communication is the objectification of our perceptions. And someone who has the ability to walk, also, objectively has the power to walk.
Are you saying words can only be subjective?
And, are you saying they can not be objective?
EEEK!!! Seems to me like words can be either subjective OR objective, depending on context, tone, and who is using them. Words are well known to change meaning over time and even place. The word 'liberal', for instance, I hear used to be closer to the meaning of 'libertarian'. Ideally, words would keep one meaning (and spelling) over long periods of time, but they don't always. Lawyers have jobs in order to untangle language.
My most hated recent word change is the word "troops', so often heard on the news. 'Troops" is a plural word meaning a bunch of soldiers/military, in a unit, probably. But, today 'Troops" means, wrongly, military personnel. When the newscaster says twenty troops were killed, it isn't 20 times, say, 12. They, wrongly, mean 20 people.
Ideally, words should be more objective, but humans created them and we are fickle and prone to error.
Objectivism is an IDEAL that is sometimes great in reality, but in otherways, like not compromising, it isn't so realistic. I am forced to cmpromise thirty-plus times a damned day. That's reality!
All meaning is subjective, belonging not to the physical world but to a subject. All words are qualifications and/or limitations, and of course those qualifications and/or limitations are meanings, are meaningful, only to a conscious subject/s. LOL!! I seem to be tuttering badly --lol!! The only possible reason for making a noise is that it might mean something, and again meaning is never the property of the object/world at large, but only to consciousness. Even an animal might hear the noise, not really know what it means, but will react to it in some way, for even a consider inaction is reaction to ones environment. Sorry for the tutterying post-please feel free to remove.
I agree that meaning is subjective, but without any objectivity in meaning, how do we communicate wth each other?
I may not understand 100% exactly what you are trying to convey in your last post, starting with "All meaning is subject...", but I can understand most of it. But what percentage do I truly understand of the post? 99%, 90% it's hard to say, because I can't read you mind.
Having said that, is there a possibility that there is also objectivity in meaning. If there is no objectivity in meaning then I might only be understanding 0% of what you have said.
"I agree that meaning is subjective, but without any objectivity in meaning, how do we communicate wth each other?"
When I say that all meaning is the property of a conscious subject it does not mean that the world as object does not contribute information/energy to the formation of subjective meaning. The meaning is after all, all about object as effect, affecting our biology, so meaning is about the relation between the two as subject and object. You cannot separate them and be a conscious subject, separated there would be nothing to be conscious of, it is the meaning which arises/emerges from this relation that allows us to move relatively safely in the world
"I may not understand 100% exactly what you are trying to convey in your last post, starting with "All meaning is subject...", but I can understand most of it. But what percentage do I truly understand of the post? 99%, 90% it's hard to say, because I can't read you mind."
All meaning is subjective simply means that if I look at a tree and determine it is a maple tree, that information does not belong to the tree, but to me, as conscious subject, indeed the fact that I know it to be a tree, is a subjective meaning.
"Having said that, is there a possibility that there is also objectivity in meaning. If there is no objectivity in meaning then I might only be understanding 0% of what you have said."
No meaning is never objective, it is subjective meaning about an objective world, the reason we can share through language what we know about the objects out there with our peers, is that we all have pretty much the same biology, thus will be affect by the object in a like manner. The world/object appears to us by the way it affects us, thus apparent reality is, a biological readout, ultimate reality is quite another topic. Hope that helps.
Ok, I think I understand where you are coming form now.
When you use the word 'meaning', you are not using it as the meaning of actual words. You are using the word 'meaning' as something on its own, regardless of words. Meaning is how we interpret that which we sense through our senses. Is this correct?
But when I was using the word 'meaning', I was using as the meaning of actual words. Each word has a meaning, but is each words meaning, subjective or objective?
Just want to make sure we are understanding each others use of the word meaning.
"When you use the word 'meaning', you are not using it as the meaning of actual words. You are using the word 'meaning' as something on its own, regardless of words. Meaning is how we interpret that which we sense through our senses. Is this correct?"
Yes you have clarified that nicely, words are our means of putting out into the world our subjectively held meanings, the fact that we can check them out against the existence of the physical world is somewhat reassuring that we are still mentally functioning well.
"But when I was using the word 'meaning', I was using as the meaning of actual words. Each word has a meaning, but is each words meaning, subjective or objective?"
If you remember that the physical world itself is utterly without meaning until a conscious subject--living biology, bestows meaning upon it, it will be less confusing. So, yes all meaning is subjective meaning about the objective world. There are processes of thought which make it seem that they are independent of the physical world, but indeed they are not. Subject and object as in consciousness and the physical world, can never be separated.
So what about words?
(I just want to limit words to subjective and objective, and not get into what words are or if they exist etc)
Eg: The word "cat"
The subjective image of the word cat, that you have subjectively developed over time will be different from my subjective image of the word cat. But the fact that we both understand the word cat, when we hear/speak it or read/write it, in order to understand or convey meaning about a cat, means there must be some objectivity in the meaning of the word cat.