Re: Language?

I promised my mother on her deathbed that I would stay out of philosophical 
arguments about semiotics/semantics/language/meaning and other ivory tower 
items on "The Pedantic Web" but I can't resist dipping a tentative toe in 
this tub:

At 09:00 AM 5/11/01 +0100, David Allsopp wrote:
>No, not really[essentially about making usable inferences from limited 
>data]. With a lot of other examples we might be able to sort
>some of the symbols into tentative categories and guess at some grammar 
>rules (assuming that the foreign grammar is anything like ours!), but we 
>still can never tell what the symbols actually mean. We may be talking 
>about the same world, but it's a pretty big world, and the symbols could 
>refer to _anything_.

In a Chomskian sense there is no "foreign grammar" - the very notion of 
there even being a "grammar" demands that its being "anything like ours" is 
not *assumption* but *fact* - what we generally agree on as "axiom". Also 
"never" is such a long time that there is the possibility that if you wait 
long enough even the Pico bus will come by and they'll put a tunnel under 
the Channel. Not only "may" we be talking about the same world, it is the 
only one we've got and symbols, although they *could* refer to *anything*, 
in fact *don't* - they refer to something.

>One might have some success with very limited domains

In the sense herein *all* domains have limits, else they wouldn't be 
domains, but universes.

This is all very fun, but what we're about is (or should be, IMO) dancing 
the dance we sing of in these rather flighty songs.

Sorry, Mom - I just couldn't resist.


Received on Friday, 11 May 2001 08:28:28 UTC