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The Meanings of 'Meaning': Dimensions of the Sciences of Mind


Garfield, JL, The Meanings of 'Meaning': Dimensions of the Sciences of Mind, Philosophical Psychology, 13, (No 4) pp. 421-440. ISSN 0951-5089 (2000) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/09515080020007599


The naturalization of intentionality requires explaining the supervenience of the normative upon the descriptive. Proper function theory provides an account of the semantics of natural representations, but not of that of signs that require the observance of norms. I therefore distinguish two senses of "meaning" and two correlative senses of "representation" and explain their relationship to one another. I distinguish between indicative signs and semiotic devices. The former are indicators of the presence of some phenomenon. The latter are rule-governed devices whose content derives from a set of recognized conventions for their use in the context of a system of other such signs. Each of these kinds of signs has its own kind of meaning, and each of these senses of meaning and representation has an important place in cognitive science. The indicative sign is fundamental and grounds the intentionality of semiotic devices. But the theory of indicative signs is insufficient for a general theory of intentionality and representation. Cognitive science must therefore comprise both a biological program aimed at understanding representation in the indicative sense and a social/ecological/linguistic program aimed at understanding the relational phenomena that allow semiotic meaning.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Philosophy of mind (excl. cognition)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Garfield, JL (Professor Jay Garfield)
ID Code:20299
Year Published:2000
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Philosophy
Deposited On:2000-08-01
Last Modified:2001-06-18

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