Discussion:
[analytic] Implicature and Entailment in Natural Meaning
(too old to reply)
J***@aol.com
2003-11-18 13:13:22 UTC
Permalink
Larry Tapper
2003-11-18 17:16:28 UTC
Permalink
Seth Sharpless wonders whether Grice's distinction between natural
and non-natural meaning is warranted, since meaning-n also seems to
be meaning to *somebody*, hence some sort of belief inducement enters
the picture just as it does for meaning-nn.

I've wondered also about some related questions, e.g. what is the
range of customary or possible uses of "X means Y", in Grice's
meaning-n sense? May we put for X and Y any old pairs of things or
events that stand in a relation of entailment or constant
conjunction, or whatever it is entitles to say that where there is X,
there is Y?

For example...

(11) Lots of geese flying south in formation --- that means winter's
coming.

...seems to be a more or less typical case of meaning-n (though I
suppose Speranza's geese, if he has them, might fly _north_).

However...

(12) Lots of geese flying south in formation --- that means their
distance from the North Pole is increasing.

...would be an odd thing to say, in apparent violation of some
conversational maxim perhaps. But setting aside the probable maxim-
flouting, what is it, if anything, that prevents (12) from being a
case of natural meaning? It looks to me like (11) and (12) are pretty
much equivalent in form; and in both cases, X and Y stand for
contingent facts of some sort.

Also, what distinguishes (11) and (12) from our core example of
meaning-n:

(4) Those spots mean measles.

?

Offhand I don't think it would be a fully satisfactory answer to say
that in (4), X and Y stand for common nouns, while in (12), X and Y
stand for propositional thingies. This is because we can always
nominalize X and Y in (12)...

(12b) That flying-south-in-formation means alienation-from-the-North-
Pole.

...or for that matter, propositionalize (4)...

(4b) The appearance of those spots means that Thelma Lou has measles.

...without doing much violence to the sense of either, I don't think.

What I seem to be getting at is the notion that "X means Y" is
typically a kind of elliptical way of stating a _theory_, often a
folk theory like "Red sky at night, sailors' delight". If this so,
then 'natural meaning' might be a misleading way to describe this
family of utterances?

Regards, Larry




...
***Gist of this post***
For both Grice and Peirce, it seems, any definition of
“meaning,”
whether of “speaker’s meaning” or “audito=
r’s meaning,”
must refer, in
the definiens, to someone, a potential auditor or interpreter,
taking a
belief. It does seem that this process in which something causes,
or
potentially could cause, belief in someone is the *sine qua non* of
meaning. But Grice draws a distinction between “naturalâ€=
 and
“non-natural” meaning which, it seems to me, is not warra=
nted.
In the very beginning of Grice’s early (1948, 1957) paper on
*Meaning*,
---Quotes from Grice-----
”Those spots mean (meant) measles.”
”Those spots didn’t mean anything to me, but to the docto=
r they
meant
measles.”
”The recent budget means that we shall have a hard year.”
(1) I cannot say, “Those spots meant measles, but he hadnâ€=
™t got
measles,” and I cannot say, “The recent budget means that=
we
shall have
a hard year, but we shan’t have.” That is to say, in cas=
es
like the
above, *x meant that p* and *x means that p* entail *p*. [WOW p.
213]
[Again, on pp.349f of WOW, Grice wrote:]
"It has been my suggestion tht there are two distinguishable
meaning concepts which may be called “natural” meaning an=
d
“non-natural”
meaning and that there are tests which may be brought to bear to
distinguish them. We may, for example, inquire whether a
particular
occurrence of the verb “mean” is factive or nonfactive, t=
hat is
to say
whether for it to be true that so and so means that p it does or
doea
nost have to be the case that it is true that p...We may now ask
whether
there is a single overarching idea which lies behind both members of
this dichotomy of uses to which the word “mean” seams to =
be
subject....The idea behind both uses of “mean” is that of=
consequence;
if x means y, then y, or something which includes y or the idea of
y, is
a consequence of x. In “natural” meaning, consequences a=
re
states of
affairs; in “nonnatural” meaning, consequences are concep=
tions
or
complexes which involve conceptions...
---End of Grice quotes---<
Now, I am having trouble with this, for it seems to me that Grice
was
wrong in saying, of cases of " "natural” meaning, that *x mea=
nt
that p*
and *x means that p* entail *p*. Take his example: “”Tho=
se
spots didn’t
mean anything to me, but to the doctor they meant measles.”
Grice says
that it would somehow be unacceptable to add, “but it wasnâ€=
™t
measles.”
A: “To the Shaman, the spots meant possession by an evil spirit,=
to Dr
J. they meant measles, but as it turned out, the child had scarlet
fever”?
To turn Grice’s own favorite dodge against him: when someone says=
“those
spots mean measles,” there is, no doubt, an *implicature* that th=
e
speaker believes that a person with those spots has measles, but is
it
an entailment? I think not. I think the literal meaning of
‘those
spots mean measles’ is that the spots may be, or are being, so
interpreted. That is obvious when the past tense, ‘meantâ€=
™, is
used, as
in A above, or whenever the speaker indicates to whom something is
“meant.”
‘Her blush means (meant) modesty to John’ would not
ordinarily be
taken as entailing that she actually is (was) modest. It could be a
sign of shame, or a fever, or too much punch. But it does entail
that
John, as a consequence of her blush, came to believe that she was
modest.
If we leave off the ‘to John’, the *implicature* is that =
the
blush
caused, or would cause, the *speaker* to believe in her modesty.
What is entailed in all these cases of “meaning” is that=
something
causes or is the occasion for, or should be the occasion for,
belief in
something. The essential element in interpretation, whether for
Grice
or Peirce, is the process of coming to belief. For Grice,
“meaning” is
referred to a speaker’s intent to cause a belief, and for Peirce,
“meaning is referred to the process in which something generates =
a
series of interpretantsâ€"thoughts--terminating in a belief (or
habit of
expectation).
In this respect, both Grice’s and Peirce’s theories may b=
e
regarded as
causal theories. But on the matter of “natural” signs, i=
t
seems to me
that Grice went slightly off base when he required that ‘x means=
y’
(naturally) entails y, falling into the trap which he in other
contexts
had done most to uncover, that of confounding entailment with
implicature.
I think you are right. We have discussed this general issue before,
when
Sharpless was wondering if _entailment_ is _implicature in all
possible
situations_, or something to that effect. Let's consider his
examples again,
Grice draws a distinction between “natural” and
“non-natural” meaning which ... is not warranted.
(For convenience, I'm sticking to the present-tense use of 'mean'
and the
attending verbs, 'have'. JLS)
(4) Those spots mean measles.
(5) Those spots [don't] mean anything to me,
but to the doctor they [mean] measles.
(6) The recent budget means
that we shall have a hard year.
Grice writes: "I cannot say (7) or (8)".
(7) Those spots [mean] measles, but he [hasn't] got
measles
(8) The recent budget means that we shall have a hard year,
but we shan’t have.
"That is to say, in cases like the above,
(1) x means that p
entails
(2) p
"We may ... inquire whether ... for it to be true that
[x] means that p it does or does not
have to be the case that it is true that p."
[Grice, 'Meaning Revisited, WOW, p. 394)
I am having trouble with this: it seems ... that Grice [is]
wrong in saying, of cases of “natural” meaning, that
(1) x means that p
entail[s]
(2) p.
Sharpless offers an alleged counterexample. Consider again
(2) Those spots [don't] mean anything to me,
but to the doctor they [mean] measles.”
Grice says it would somehow be unacceptable
(9) Those spots don't mean anything to me,
but to the doctor they [mean] measles
but it _isn't_ measles.
(9) strikes me as counterintuitive. Why can I not say (10)? --
(10) To the shaman, the spots means possession
by an evil spirit, to Dr J. they mean measles, but as
it turned out, the child has scarlet fever.
Sharpless thinks Grice is confusing here 'implication'
from 'implicature'.
The accusation reminds of two retorts by Grice, "Hey, I may be
mistaken but I'm
not confused" (cited by N. Wilson in _Nous_, 'Grice on meaning: the
ultimate
counterexample'), and more to the point, to Grice's first lecture
on Aspects of
Reason (Clarendon). The section is titled, "Too good to be
reasoning", and
Grice is discussing whether someone can say to reason p from p.
(for some
reason, this is called 'Woman's Reasoning' in the OED -- but Grice
does not mention
Is there not something very strange about
["A reasons p from p"]? ... Now, having
spent a sizeable part of my working
[as opposed to leisure. JLS] life exploiting
it, I AM NOT UNAWARE of the distinction
between a statement being FALSE, and its
being true but MISLEADING or
INAPPROPRIATE or POINTLESS, and on
that account a statement which it would be
improper, in one way or another, to make.
But I don't think myself lured to the idea of
using that distinction here."
(Grice, Aspects of Reason, p. 14)
when someone says
(4) Those spots mean measles.
there is, no doubt, an *implicature* that the
[utterer] believes that a person with those spots has
measles,
Not to be pedantic, I take it you mean that by uttering (1),
Utterer means
that U believes those spots mean measles. This is what I elsewhere
(in a
symposium/banquet in Central Africa, among other places -- a
virtual sympoisum) I
have called 'the disquotational theory of Gricean meaning). You can
quote me on
but is it an entailment? I think not.
I think the literal meaning
of
(4) Those spots mean measles.
is that the spots may be, or are being, so
interpreted. That is obvious when the past tense,
‘meant’, is used, as in A above, or whenever
the speaker indicates to whom something is
“meant.”
Well, this is connected, perhaps, with what Grice calls 'internal
subjectivisation' of verb-reports, as I think is the term I used
elsewhere. I am reminded
here of another example from _Aspects of Reason_, involving Richard
Nixon. He
is considering the utterance, "Richard Nixon must get the Oxford
Chair of
Moral and Pastoral Theology." -- Grice is delivering the John Locke
lectures at
"Depending on context, one might find THREE DIFFERENT
interpretations, all of them falling within the volitive
zone.
[On the third interpretation] one would be charging _Richard
Nixon_
with an incumbency to secure his own election to this august
chair. ..." (p.57).
The idea, in the case of 'mean' is that, indeed, there would be a
'relativized modality' involved -- a 'to something or someone'
involved. This connects,
strangely, with the etymology of 'mean' that Grice somewhat
minimises, if
that's the word. It is my personal opinion that 'mean' is 'mind',
and that only
'mindful' things can _mean_. It is you or I who can _mean_ this and
that. Spots
and smoke can -- only derivatively and metaphorically -- _mean_
measles or
fire. (Or as a friend of mine prefers, 'Where there is fire, there
is smoked
salmon'). If one takes 'mean' as related to 'mental', any use
of 'mean' to apply to
inanimate critters [sic] like 'spots' and 'smoke' is out of the
way. The
reason is that 'mean' seems indeed to involve an element of
_interpretation_ that
is obscured in simple natural phenomena like 'Smoke means fire'.
Surely, to
echo Berkeley, 'smoke means fire' to anyone who happens to perceive
the smoke.
Pity that Berkeley, being a bishop, would further conclude that, in
cases that
nothing or no-one perceives the smoke, we can always postulate God
to do it.
(But I think that's a gratuitious appeal to the Divinity who we
hope is
occupied with more important things that a little smoke down yonder
in the woods).
(11) Her blush means modesty to John.
(11) would not ordinarily be
taken as entailing that she actually is modest.
It could be a
sign of shame, or a fever, or too much punch. But it does entail
that
John, as a consequence of her blush, came to believe that she was
modest.
If we leave off the ‘to John’, the *implicature* is that=
the
blush
caused, or would cause, the *speaker* to believe in her modesty.
What is entailed in all these cases of “meaning” is that=
something
causes or is the occasion for, or should be the occasion for,
belief in
something. The essential element in interpretation ...
is the process of coming to belief. For Grice, “meaningâ€=
 is
referred to a speaker’s intent to cause a belief, and for Peirce=
,
“meaning is referred to the process in which something generates=
a
series of interpretantsâ€"thoughts--terminating in a belief (or
habit of
expectation).
In this respect, both Grice’s ... theor[y] may be regarded as
[a] causal theor[y]. But on the matter of “natural” sig=
ns, it
seems to me
that Grice went slightly off base when he required that ‘x means=
y’
(naturally) entails y, falling into the trap which he in other
contexts
had done most to uncover, that of confounding entailment with
implicature.
Indeed, that _seems_ to be the case. Thanks for the input.
Fascinating
issues, I find.
It is of some historical interest that the first reference ever to
Grice --
in a written text -- is in an obscure review to J. Holloway's book,
_Language
and Intelligence_, by H. L. A. Hart (Grice's colleague at Oxford)
for the
Philosophical Quarterly in 1952. (cf. essay by Martinich, on Black
on Grice in
_Dialectica_). On the other hand, T. Wharton, of UCL, has written
on what he calls
'natural pragmatics', too --.
I would also try and give some more thought to the interesting
point raised
by Sharpless.
I seem to be inclined to consider, a la Grice does for 'too good
reasoning',
that we can still speak of _entailment_ rather than _implicature_
in the cases
in question concerning natural-meaning, although there may be an
element of
mentalism (where 'x means y' _always_ involves an implicit
reference to some
propositional attitude), which is built into the notion as an
entailment or
implication, rather than a cancellable conversational implicature.
Cheers,
JL
J L Speranza
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-19 00:14:08 UTC
Permalink
We are discussing the _rationale_ behind Grice's famous (infamous?)
distinction between two _senses_ (ouch!) of 'mean' -- a 'natural' and a 'non-natural'
one:

In particular, L. M. Tapper writes in commentary to Sharpless's point about

(1) x means-n y

-- with 'mean-n' (or 'meaN', as I prefer) indicating 'natural meaning' --
_implicating_, rather than _entailing_ (as Grice seems to have had it) y. As
Tapper puts it,
Post by Larry Tapper
Sharpless wonders whether Grice's distinction between
natural and non-natural meaning
Or, as I prefer -- following what I find a happy phrasing by Wharton's-- the
meaNing/meaNNing distinction --
Post by Larry Tapper
is warranted, since ['meaN'] also seems to
be [meaN] to *somebody*
Well, but then, everything would be -- Bishop-Berkeleywise -- relative:

(4) The frame of that window is violet.

becoming

(5) The frame of that window is violet (to me).
Post by Larry Tapper
hence some sort of belief inducement enters
the picture just as it does for meaning-nn.
Well, for that matter, you have to be a human being to be able to _utter_
things like

(3) Smoke means fire.

But I get Tapper's point... Tapper continues
Post by Larry Tapper
I've wondered also about some related questions,
e.g. what is the range of customary or possible uses
of "X means Y", in Grice's
[meaN usage]? May we put for X and Y any old pairs of things or
events that stand in a relation of entailment or constant
conjunction, or whatever it is entitles to say that where there is X,
there is Y? e.g.
(1) Lots of geese flying south in formation
--- that means winter's coming.
Post by Larry Tapper
seems to be a more or less typical case of [meaN] (though I
suppose Speranza's geese, if he has them, might fly _north_).
Well, I can still utter

(1b) Lots of geese flying south in formation
-- that means _summer's_ coming.

(But I am confused).
Post by Larry Tapper
However...
(2) Lots of geese flying south in formation ---
that means their distance from
the North Pole is increasing.
Post by Larry Tapper
would be an odd thing to say, in apparent violation
of some conversational maxim perhaps. But setting aside the probable maxim-
flouting, what is it, if anything, that prevents (2) from being a
case of [meaN]?
Nothing. Similarly, one can, I suppose, say:

(2c) If you have two dozen eggs, that means
that you have twenty-four eggs.

I think a Gricean would accept that _analytic_ necessity can also be involved
Post by Larry Tapper
It looks to me like (1) and (2) are pretty
much equivalent in form; and in both cases, X and Y
stand for contingent facts of some sort.
Right. In (2c), there is some _analytic_ (or, strictly, necessary) fact of
some sort that is involved, too. And we would still use 'meaN', I would think.
Post by Larry Tapper
Also, what distinguishes (1) and (2) from our
core example of meaning-n, (3)?
(3) Those spots meaN measles.
Post by Larry Tapper
Offhand I don't think it would be a fully satisfactory
answer to say that in (3), X and Y stand for
common nouns, while in (1), X and Y
stand for propositional thingies. This is because
we can always
(2b) That flying-south-in-formation means
alienation-from-the-North-Pole.
Post by Larry Tapper
or for that matter, propositionalize (3)
(3b) The appearance of those spots means
that Thelma Lou has measles.
Post by Larry Tapper
without doing much violence to the sense of either, I don't think.
Interestingly, Grice does not think so either, as when he writes of the
following as being a paraphrase of the paradigm-case:

(3c) The fact that [Thelma Lou] had those spots
[meaNNs] that [she] has measles
Post by Larry Tapper
What I seem to be getting at is the notion that
"X means Y" is typically a kind of elliptical way
of stating a _theory_, often a
folk theory like "Red sky at night, sailors' delight".
If this so, then [meaN] might be a misleading way
to describe this family of utterances?
It _may_ indeed, but I think it is a kind of established usage already, no?

Back to the point in my previous post, rather obscurely stated, it is my
belief that 'mean', coming from the Anglo-Saxon 'maenan' (to opine, cfr. German
'meinen' and English 'mind' as in 'mind your own business'), certainly makes a
reference to a _mental_ (Latin _mens_ cognate with 'mean').

Therefore, what Grice sees as core example of 'meaN' (e.g. 'Smoke means
fire', 'Those black clouds mean rain', WOW, p. 291) are, strictly, _metaphorical_
(or derivative, if you wish) usages, and what seems to be the _primary_ (at
least from the etymological standpoint) usage is the use of 'mean' to mean
'intend'.

Interestingly, at least for me, Grice lists this use of 'mean' (= intend, as
in 'I didn't mean to tell you this') as a case of NATURAL meaning, which is
kind of back to Square One:

"I propose, for convenience, ... to include under the
head of [meaN] such [usages] ... as may be exemplified
in sentences of the pattern 'A means _to do_ so-and-so
by x', where A is a human agent."
Grice, WOW, p. 215.

The qualification -- "where A is a human agent" -- seems to be a restriction
to things like Searle and Dennett are thinking of when they say that a
_computer_, for example, can _mean_ to print a document. (And why can't a _dog_ mean
to sleep indoors?). In Romance Languages, we just don't have 'mean', which
does not meaN life is therefore simpler...

Cheers,

JL


WOW, p.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Larry Tapper
2003-11-19 15:49:59 UTC
Permalink
J.L. Speranza cheerfully accepts all sorts of expressions as examples
of Gricean 'natural meaning' or 'meaNing'. As does Grice himself
apparently. Speranza suggests that this is all right because it
is 'meaNNing' ('non-natural meaning') that really captures the core
sense of 'mean', while 'natural meaning' is a metaphorical extension
of the core concept.

I guess the main reason for introducing the N vs. NN distinction in
the first place is simply to recognize that not all common uses
of 'mean' involve 'utterer's meaning'. So it may not be of great
consequence if we find some disarray in the notion of N: N may be
just a placeholder for various uses of 'mean' that don't quite fit
patterns such as "U believes, and wants A to believe..."

Anyway, some comments below...

JLS> We are discussing the _rationale_ behind Grice's famous
(infamous?) distinction between two _senses_ (ouch!) of 'mean' --
a 'natural' and a 'non-natural' one:

JLS> In particular, L. M. Tapper writes in commentary to Sharpless's
point about

(1) x means-n y

-- with 'mean-n' (or 'meaN', as I prefer) indicating 'natural
meaning' -- _implicating_, rather than _entailing_ (as Grice seems to
have had it) y. As Tapper puts it,

LT>Sharpless wonders whether Grice's distinction between
Post by Larry Tapper
natural and non-natural meaning
JLS> Or, as I prefer -- following what I find a happy phrasing by
Wharton's-- the meaNing/meaNNing distinction --

LT>is warranted, since ['meaN'] also seems to
Post by Larry Tapper
be [meaN] to *somebody*
JLS> Well, but then, everything would be -- Bishop-Berkeleywise --
relative:

(4) The frame of that window is violet.

becoming

(5) The frame of that window is violet (to me).

LT>hence some sort of belief inducement enters
Post by Larry Tapper
the picture just as it does for meaning-nn.
JLS> Well, for that matter, you have to be a human being to be able
to _utter_ things like

(3) Smoke means fire.

Yes, though as you (JL) acknowledge, there seems to be more going on
here than the mere fact that it takes an utterer to utter something.

Roughly, I think it works something like this:

-Meaning-nn: U asserts p. A wants to know, what difference does this
make to me? The answer to this question involves both the
conventional decoding of the utterance 'p' and the assessment of any
relevant implicatures.

-Meaning-n: U draws attention to fact X, and declares "X means Y".
The core purpose of doing this is to help A understand why it makes a
difference to A that X is the case.

JLS>But I get Tapper's point... Tapper continues

LT>I've wondered also about some related questions,
Post by Larry Tapper
e.g. what is the range of customary or possible uses
of "X means Y", in Grice's
[meaN usage]? May we put for X and Y any old pairs of things or
events that stand in a relation of entailment or constant
conjunction, or whatever it is entitles to say that where there is X,
there is Y? e.g.
(1) Lots of geese flying south in formation
--- that means winter's coming.
Post by Larry Tapper
seems to be a more or less typical case of [meaN] (though I
suppose Speranza's geese, if he has them, might fly _north_).
JLS> Well, I can still utter

(1b) Lots of geese flying south in formation
-- that means _summer's_ coming.

(But I am confused).

Hmm, this makes me realize for the first time that all the world's
migrating geese are migrating in the same direction. But for two
different reasons.

LT>However...

(2) Lots of geese flying south in formation ---
that means their distance from
the North Pole is increasing.
Post by Larry Tapper
would be an odd thing to say, in apparent violation
of some conversational maxim perhaps. But setting aside the probable maxim-
flouting, what is it, if anything, that prevents (2) from being a
case of [meaN]?
JLS> Nothing. Similarly, one can, I suppose, say:

(2c) If you have two dozen eggs, that means
that you have twenty-four eggs.

JLS> I think a Gricean would accept that _analytic_ necessity can
also be involved in cases of 'meaN'.

Aha, this is just what I was wondering. This then would seem to be
consistent with my rough sketch of what meaning-n is about...

-Meaning-n: U draws attention to fact X, and declares "X means Y".
The core purpose of doing this is to help A understand why it makes a
difference to A that X is the case.

...because when Y follows from X analytically, the utterance "X means
Y" still has a conversational point when the inference is not obvious
and/or when the upshot of Y is plainer than the upshot of X. For
example:

(2d) Let's see, we sold 17 subscriptions to the Grice Quarterly for
50 USD each, but we spent 2000 USD and had only 1000 in the bank to
begin with --- that means we're broke.

This seems rather far afield from "Those spots mean measles", but
apparently (2d) is in the same category. As you go on to say:

JLS> Tapper continues:

LT>It looks to me like (1) and (2) are pretty
Post by Larry Tapper
much equivalent in form; and in both cases, X and Y
stand for contingent facts of some sort.
JLS> Right. In (2c), there is some _analytic_ (or, strictly,
necessary) fact of some sort that is involved, too. And we would
still use 'meaN', I would think.

LT>Also, what distinguishes (1) and (2) from our
Post by Larry Tapper
core example of meaning-n, (3)?
(3) Those spots meaN measles.

LT>Offhand I don't think it would be a fully satisfactory
Post by Larry Tapper
answer to say that in (3), X and Y stand for
common nouns, while in (1), X and Y
stand for propositional thingies. This is because
we can always
(2b) That flying-south-in-formation means
alienation-from-the-North-Pole.

LT>or for that matter, propositionalize (3)

(3b) The appearance of those spots means
that Thelma Lou has measles.

LT>without doing much violence to the sense of either, I don't think.

JLS> Interestingly, Grice does not think so either, as when he writes
of the following as being a paraphrase of the paradigm-case:

(3c) The fact that [Thelma Lou] had those spots
[meaNNs] that [she] has measles

(WOW, p. 214). Tapper concludes his post:

LT>What I seem to be getting at is the notion that
Post by Larry Tapper
"X means Y" is typically a kind of elliptical way
of stating a _theory_, often a
folk theory like "Red sky at night, sailors' delight".
If this so, then [meaN] might be a misleading way
to describe this family of utterances?
If (2d) ("we're broke") is a good example of meaning-n, then I guess
elliptical reference to a theory would be just one of several common
uses and not necessarily the core use as I had originally supposed.
Though Grice's core examples seem to have this character.

JLS> It _may_ indeed, but I think it is a kind of established usage
already, no?

JLS> Back to the point in my previous post, rather obscurely stated,
it is my belief that 'mean', coming from the Anglo-Saxon 'maenan' (to
opine, cfr. German 'meinen' and English 'mind' as in 'mind your own
business'), certainly makes a reference to a _mental_ (Latin _mens_
cognate with 'mean').

JLS> Therefore, what Grice sees as core example of 'meaN'
(e.g. 'Smoke means fire', 'Those black clouds mean rain', WOW, p.
291) are, strictly, _metaphorical_ (or derivative, if you wish)
usages, and what seems to be the _primary_ (at least from the
etymological standpoint) usage is the use of 'mean' to mean
'intend'.

JLS> Interestingly, at least for me, Grice lists this use of 'mean'
(= intend, as in 'I didn't mean to tell you this') as a case of
NATURAL meaning, which is kind of back to Square One:

"I propose, for convenience, ... to include under the
head of [meaN] such [usages] ... as may be exemplified
in sentences of the pattern 'A means _to do_ so-and-so
by x', where A is a human agent."
Grice, WOW, p. 215.

JLS> The qualification -- "where A is a human agent" -- seems to be a
restriction to things like Searle and Dennett are thinking of when
they say that a _computer_, for example, can _mean_ to print a
document.

I wouldn't say that computers have intentions, would you? Though I
confess I wrote a student paper a long time ago defending the notion
that Coke machines have desires.

JLS> (And why can't a _dog_ mean to sleep indoors?).

I would definitely say that a dog meant to catch a squirrel but
bumped into a tree instead.

JLS> In Romance Languages, we just don't have 'mean', which
does not meaN life is therefore simpler...

You mean there is always a divide as in French between 'signifier'
and 'avoir l'intention de..."? Would something like "Humo significa
fuego" make as much sense in Spanish as "Smoke means fire" does in
English then? Or would this be considered an odd usage
of 'significar'?

Yrs, LM




------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-19 16:38:22 UTC
Permalink
Hi,
Thanks for the helpful discussion of n-means and nn-means. Speranza
requested OED [reality?] check. Here are entries for, 'mean',
'signify', 'sign' and 'significs'.
Seth

From OED:

MEAN
[Cognate with Old Frisian mna to signify, Middle Dutch mnen to intend,
signify, think, hold a good opinion of, love (Dutch menen to intend,
think), Old Saxon mnian to intend, signify, have in mind, mention
(Middle Low German mnen, meinen to intend, signify, hold an (esp. good)
opinion of, love, German regional (Low German) menen to intend, signify,
be of the opinion, think), Old High German meinen to intend, signify,
make known, mention, have in mind (Middle High German meinen to intend,
signify, have in mind, hold an opinion of, love, German meinen to
intend, have in mind, think, say, (poet.) love), all ult. < a Germanic
base cognate with Old Church Slavonic mniti to suppose, think, consider,
have in mind, mention (this word exhibits an extraordinarily close
parallelism of meaning with the Old English and Old Saxon verbs). The
Scandinavian forms, Icelandic meina, Old Swedish mena (Swedish mena),
Danish mene, all in sense ‘to intend, signify, consider’, are prob.
borrowings from Middle Low German. From the same Germanic base are
derived the following nouns: Old Frisian mne opinion, intention, Old
High German meina, prob. orig. in sense ‘opinion’, but only attested in
phrases (as thia meina, b thia meina truly, really), and prob. also
(with a different ablaut grade) Old Frisian minne, Middle Dutch minne
(Dutch min), Old Saxon minnia, minnea (Middle Low German minne), Old
High German minna (Middle High German minne), all in sense ‘love,
affection, agreement’. The further etymology and the order of
sense-development are uncertain (see also note below); prob. < the
Indo-European base of I-MENE a. (which might suggest the original sense
‘to express opinions alternately or by turns’); a connection with the
Indo-European base of MIND n.1 has also been suggested, but this is
difficult to explain phonologically.
In Old English the prefixed form gemnan to say, mention, is also
common (cf. Old Saxon gimnian to have dealings with, announce, Old High
German gimeinen to have dealings with, share, communicate with, declare
(Middle High German gemeinen to have dealings with, share, communicate
with), Gothic gamainjan to share, defile). Cf. also BEMEAN v.1
Branches I-IV are paralleled among the cognate verbs found in the
other Germanic languages, but branches V and VI are not closely
paralleled outside English. However, Branch V is paralleled in Middle
English by the verb MIN v.2, the basic sense of which is ‘remember’. Th=
e
two verbs frequently occur in Middle English textual families as variant
readings in this sense (for examples of this variation, see e.g. Middle
Eng. Dict. s.v. menen v.(1), sense 4). Since MIN v.2 is attested earlier
than this branch of mean it is possible that it influenced the latter
semantically. (Branch III of this verb, attested in Old English, may in
turn have influenced MIN v.2 5, which dates from the 14th cent.)
Influence of the rare verb MIN v.1 on branch VI is also possible.]



I. To intend.

1. trans. a. To have as one's purpose or intention; to intend. In
later use also: to be resolved or determined on. Also with clause as
object (obs.). Now somewhat arch. exc. in to mean mischief, to mean no
harm, and to mean business (see BUSINESS n. 13c).

eOE ÆLFRED tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) xxxviii. 118 Gif he
ara nan nyte, onne nat he hwæt he mæn. eOE ÆLFRED tr. Boethius De
Consol. Philos. (Otho) xxxix. 128 a ongan he sprecan swie fiorran
ymbutan, swelce he na a spræce ne mænde, & tiohhode hit eah iderweardes=
.
c1330 Gregorius (Auch.) 133 an alon sche left er inne; Non wist what
sche ment. a1425 (c1385) CHAUCER Troilus & Criseyde II. 581 Sith ye woot
that myn entent is cleene, Take heede therof, for I non yvel meene.
a1450 York Plays 290 A! mercy, lorde, mekely, no malice we mente. 1583
P. STUBBES Anat. Abuses II. sig. B6v, The Cocatrice neuer meaneth so
much crueltie, as when he fawneth vpon thee, and weepeth. a1604 M.
HANMER Chron. in J. Ware Hist. Ireland (1633) 114 And murther the poore
and seely people, which God wot, meant no harme. 1612 BACON Ess. (new
ed.) 100 Except they meane their seruice should bee made but the
accessary. 1673 Lady's Call. I. ii. 12 Nature..never meant a serene and
clear forehead should be the frontispiece to a cloudy tempestuous heart.
1692 DRYDEN Cleomenes II. i. 11 Thou art only, Misplanted in a base
degenerate Soil; But Nature when she made thee, meant a Spartan. 1728 J.
GAY Beggar's Opera II. iv. 25 Pardon me, Madam, I meant no harm by the
Question. 1732 G. BERKELEY Alciphron I. I. iii. 14 A poor half-witted
Man that means no mischief. 1771 H. MACKENZIE Man of Feeling 254, I do
not mean attempting to thank you;..let me but know what name I shall
place here. 1791 A. RADCLIFFE Romance of Forest II. x. 89, I meant no
harm. 1831 New Eng. Mag. Sept. 234 He has had the foolhardy audacity to
show his ugly face..meaning no harm of course, as he pretends. 1851 N.
HAWTHORNE House of Seven Gables viii. 130, I meant no harm! Since he is
really my cousin, I would have let him kiss me, if I could! 1882
Harper's Mag. Nov. 936/2 A gleam in his eye which showed that he meant
mischief. 1891 W. MORRIS News from Nowhere xxvii. 206, I do not suppose
she meant a trap for me, but anyhow I fell into it. 1891 J. NEWMAN
Scamping Tricks vi. 46, I saw they were started on the road of mutual
admiration, and travelling pretty, and that he meant calling again. 1904
A. GRIFFITHS Fifty Years Public Service ii. 22 Even to my young and
inexperienced eyes it seemed that the attack [on the Redan] was never
‘meant’. 1906 U. SINCLAIR Jungle xvii. 196 The crowd had already given
Jurgis a namethey called him ‘the stinker’. This was cruel, but they
meant no harm by it. 1991 ‘W. TREVOR’ Reading Turgenev in Two Lives
(1992) i. 1 They mean no harm; they are not against her; in their
confusion they become carried away.



b. With infinitive as object: to intend or be determined to do
something.

c1330 (?a1300) Arthour & Merlin (Auch.) 7089 Segremor, no his fer, No
mit flen..& hadden ment hem to eld. a1393 GOWER Confessio Amantis
(Fairf.) I. 15 That is love, of which I mene To trete. c1400 (?a1300)
King Alexander (Laud) 5932 oo had kyng Alisaunder yment..e cee haue
ypassed aein. ?a1475 Ludus Coventriae 171 Cruel knyghtys i childe haue
ment with swerde to sle. 1560 J. DAUS tr. J. Sleidane Comm. 70b, The
Duke of Saxon, and the Lantgrave,..ment to go home. 1567 in J. H. Burton
Reg. Privy Council Scotl. (1877) 1st Ser. I. 515 Hir Majestie menit to
subvert the lawis. 1617 F. MORYSON Itinerary I. 40 These
cut-throates..meant presently to returne. 1749 H. FIELDING Tom Jones
III. IX. vi. 358, I did not mean to abuse the Cloth. 1773 O. GOLDSMITH
She stoops to Conquer IV. 71 You only mean to banter me? 1822
Blackwood's Mag. 12 783, I do not mean to say that they are plagiarized.
1845 W. NAPIER Conquest Scinde II. viii. 455 The Beloochs certainly
meaned to break out with a counter attack. 1895 SIR A. KEKEWICH in Law
Times Rep. 73 663/2 We must not jump to the conclusion that the
Legislature meant to interfere with contracts. 1941 J. RHYS Let. 1 Mar.
(1984) 35, I didn't mean to be rude last Wednesday. 1987 F. WYNDHAM
Other Garden viii. 96, I quite forgot to take out a dog licence for
himor rather I kept on meaning to but just never got round to it.



2. intr. With well, ill, etc.: to have intentions or a general
disposition of the kind indicated (now often implying that such
intentions are unfulfilled in practice). Also with to, by, or with
indirect object.

a1375 William of Palerne 1819 It were a botles bale, but beter haue i
ment. c1385 CHAUCER Knight's Tale 2287 To hym that meneth wel, it were
no charge. a1425 (c1385) CHAUCER Troilus & Criseyde III. 164 Bysechyng
hym..at he Wolde..eke menen wel to me. 1440 Promp. Parv. (Harl. 221) 332
Menyn yn herte, wel or evyl, intendo. a1450 (c1412) T. HOCCLEVE De
Regimine Principum (Harl.) 1986 But how I speke, algate I mene weel.
a1500 tr. De Imitatione Christi (Trin. Dub.) 13 We do wel & mene wel.
a1592 R. GREENE Frier Bacon (1594) sig. C4, Now shall Edward trie, How
Lacie meaneth to his soueraigne lord. a1616 SHAKESPEARE Twel. N. (1623)
IV. iii. 22 If you meane well Now go with me. 1628 J. EARLE
Micro-cosmogr. xiv. sig. D2, He..puts himselfe to a great deale of
affliction to hinder their plots, and designes where they meane freely.
a1680 S. BUTLER Genuine Remains (1759) I. 58 The purest Business of our
Zeal Is but to err, by meaning well. 1719 D. DEFOE Robinson Crusoe II.
257 You seem to mean honestly. 1771 Junius Lett. (1820) xlv. 243 They
who object to [his] last letter, either do not mean him fairly, or
[etc.]. 1802 T. BEDDOES Hygëia II. 34 The projector of a new domestic
medicine, meaning well by himself and the public. 1813 J. AUSTEN Pride &
Prejudice III. v. 108 Perhaps she meant well, but, under such a
misfortune as this, one cannot see too little of one's neighbours. 1884
H. R. HAGGARD Dawn ii, I do not think that your cousin means kindly by
you. 1910 R. BROOKE Let. 9 Jan. (1968) 206 He is a silly man... Yet he
means well. 1973 S. B. JACKMAN Guns covered with Flowers x. 159 He
smiled apologetically, ‘He means well’. Stevens grinned. ‘And you can=
't
say worse than that about anyone.’ 1987 D. ROWE Beyond Fear iii. 106
They were merely human, and being so, prone to mistakes, like meaning
well and getting it wrong.



3. trans. a. Usu. in pass. To design (a thing) for a definite
purpose; to intend or predestine (a person or thing) to have a
particular future, fate, nature, or use. With against, for, to, unto, or
(occas.) indirect object. In quot. 1639 with complement: to predestine
to be (obs.).

a1500 (a1375) Octavian (Calig.) 1953 e old empresse..hadde e same
jugement, at sche to Florance hadde yment. 1560 J. DAUS tr. J. Sleidane
Comm. 242b, This warre is not ment nor prepared against the Cyties. 1580
SIR P. SIDNEY tr. Psalmes David XXVII. v, When greate griefes to me be
ment, In tabernacle his, he will Hide me. 1611 Bible (A.V.): Gen. l. 20
God meant it vnto good. 1634 MILTON Comus 765 She [sc. Nature] good
cateress Means her provision onely to the good That live according to
her sober laws. 1639 J. SHIRLEY Gentleman of Venice V. ii,
Providence..made me worth a strangers piety, Whom your cho[i]ce meant
the ruine of my honor. 1642 J. DENHAM Cooper's Hill 16 Faire Liberty
pursude, and meant a Prey To tyranny, here turn'd. 1710 R. STEELE Tatler
No. 172 1, I do not mean it an Injury to Women, when I say there is a
Sort of Sex in Souls. 1773 P. V. FITHIAN Jrnl. (1900) 74 He meant it for
a Satire upon the neglect of the people in suffering their Grave-Yard to
lie common. 1792 J. BARLOW Conspiracy of Kings 83 Why to small realms
for ever rest confin'd Our great affections, meant for all mankind? 1842
R. BROWNING Through Metidja v, Ere I pried, she [sc. Fate] should
hide..All that's meant me. 1884 W. C. SMITH Kildrostan 57, I think Fate
meant us for each other. 1896 A. E. HOUSMAN Shropshire Lad lxii. 91 Say,
for what were hop-yards meant, Or why was Burton built on Trent? 1924 M.
BARING C xii. 138 His plays are meant for drawing-rooms. 1958 R. K.
NARAYAN Guide iii. 33 We passed through the corridor, peeping into the
room meant for the stationmaster. 1984 P. ACKROYD T. S. Eliot ii. 46
Such natures are not meant for restless drifting because they are
destroyed by it.



b. With infinitive: to predestine, design, or intend (a person or
thing) to be or do something. Freq. in pass.

1570 Act 13 Eliz. c. 25 §8 The said Acte..is not meant to extend..to
any Wynes Oyles Sugers. 1586 R. LANE in R. Hakluyt Principal Navigations
(1589) 737 The barkes, pinnesses, and boates with the Masters and
Mariners ment by him to bee left in the Countrie. 1646 SIR T. BROWNE
Pseudodoxia Epid. IV. i. 181 Man..was not meant to gape or looke upward
with the eye. 1742 E. YOUNG Complaint VIII. 598 Wisdom,..Was meant to
minister, and not to mar, Imperial pleasure. 1785 T. JEFFERSON Notes
Virginia xiii. 222 We might conclude that, by their affixing to it a
sense synonimous with ordinance, or statute, they meant it to be an
ordinance or statute. 1817 J. AUSTEN Sanditon vii, How far nature meant
them to be respectable I cannot tell. 1847 E. BRONTË Wuthering Heights
II. x. 222, I began in a serious tone, partly meaning it to be true.
1888 L. SPENDER Kept Secret III. i. 15, I did not mean you to take me in
earnest. 1900 J. CONRAD Lord Jim i. 3 His incognito..was not meant to
hide a personality but a fact. 1955 T. STERLING Evil of Day viii. 80 The
boy-next-door parody was meant to amuse her. 1996 C. BATEMAN Of Wee
Sweetie Mice & Men v. 43, I didn't mean it to come out quite so sharp.



c. In pass. to be meant: to be predestined by fate, providence, God,
etc., to exist or occur. (a) With to be.

1861 ‘G. ELIOT’ Silas Marner xvii. 312 When you saw a thing was not
meant to be, said Nancy, it was a bounden duty to leave off so much as
wishing for it. 1962 G. CORSO Long live Man 60 Every man who has ever
lived was meant to be. 1989 M. BEATTIE Beyond Codependency IV. xiii. 147
‘If it's meant to be, it'll be.’.. These sayings did not reach the loft=
y
state of clichehood without passing the tests of truth and time. 1997
Eastern Eye 14 Feb. 20/3 (advt.) If you'd like to take a chance with me
then write and we'll see if it's really meant to be (Inshallah).



(b) Without clause. (Sometimes used more or less adjectivally.)

1897 R. KIPLING Capt. Courageous viii. 169 It couldn't have been
meant. It was only the tide. 1956 M. STEWART Wildfire at Midnight i. 16
So handy having that address. It's as if it were meant. 1974 I. MURDOCH
Sacred & Profane Love Machine 239 When I need you, you are here. You
must see how meant it all is. 1986 K. MOORE Moving House viii. 94
Coincidence, she held, was just chance, not ‘sent’ or ‘meant’.



d. In pass., with infinitive clause: to be reputed, considered, said
to be something. Cf. SUPPOSE v. 8d.

1878 R. SIMPSON School of Shakspere I. 34 It is confessed that Hawkins
and Cobham were meant to be buccaneers, and it is absurd to deny the
like of Stucley. 1945 Queen 18 Apr. 17/1 ‘Such and such a play,’ they
[sc. my children] will say, ‘is meant to be jolly good.’ 1972 Listener =
9
Mar. 310/1 America..is meant to be a great melting-pot. 1989 Times 30
Mar. 15/1 It [sc. evening primrose oil] is also meant to be good for
arthritis.



4. trans. To intend (a remark, allusion, etc.) to have a particular
reference. With at, by, for, of, to. Also intr. in to mean by: to intend
to refer to (obs.). Now rare.
In the 16th cent. ‘to mean (a remark, etc.) by (a person)’ was the
usual expression for ‘to mean (a person) by (a remark, etc.)’ (as in
sense 6).

1513 T. MORE Hist. Edward V in Wks. 55/2 That ment he by the lordes of
the quenes kindred that were taken before. 1542 N. UDALL tr. Erasmus
Apophthegmes 230b, He saied that he would leaue..suche a successour...
Menyng by Tiberius. 1570 in J. Cranstoun Satirical Poems Reformation
(1891) I. xix. 8 Gone is the Joy and gyde of this Natioun; I mene be
James, Regent of Scotland. a1599 SPENSER View State Ireland in J. Ware
Two Hist. Ireland (1633) 21, I doe not meane this by the Princes wards.
1641 R. SANDERSON Serm. (1681) II. 184 A flaunting hyperbole, far beyond
the merit of the Party he meant it to. 1749 LD. CHESTERFIELD Lett.
(1792) II. 230 He..thinks every thing that is said meant at him. 1753
LD. CHESTERFIELD Lett. (1792) IV. 13 They are convinced that it was
meant at them. 1904 H. O. STURGIS Belchamber ix. 129 There is a young
don in the story, and of course some one..decided it was meant for me.
1906 N.E.D. s.v., I wonder whether he meant it of any one in particular.



5. a. do you mean to say (also to tell me) and variants (with
following clause): expressing the speaker's surprise or scepticism at a
statement, suggestion, implication, etc. Also (usually less strongly)
you don't mean to say (also to tell me) and variants.

1763 A. MURPHY Citizen I. ii. 20 Did you mean to say as how I am a
person of taste? 1785 T. HOLCROFT Choleric Fathers I. 14 D. Sal. Sir, I
have too much respect to good manners to follow your example. D. Pimi.
Do you mean to say, sir, I don't know good manners? 1834 Southern Lit.
Messenger 1 110 ‘A fraud, sir! do you mean to say I would commit a
fraud, sir?’ cried Willis, in an angry tone. 1839 DICKENS Nicholas
Nickleby xix. 181 Do you mean to tell me that your pretty niece was not
brought here as a decoy..? 1839 DICKENS Nicholas Nickleby xxix. 288 Why,
he don't mean to say he's going!.. Hoity toity! nonsense. 1841 DICKENS
Barnaby Rudge xxxix. 163 ‘You don't mean to say their old wearers are
all dead, I hope?’ said Mr. Tappertit, falling a little distance from
him, as he spoke. ‘Every one of 'em.’ 1899 R. BROUGHTON Game & Candle
129 You do not mean to imply..that Mrs. Grundy is going to interpose
between you and me? 1908 L. M. MONTGOMERY Anne of Green Gables xx. 230
Anne Shirley, do you mean to tell me you believe all that wicked
nonsense of your own imagination? 1944 H. CROOME You've gone Astray xxi.
209 Do you mean to say that in this day and age..you're going to come
the conventional? 1986 F. PERETTI This Present Darkness ix. 87 Do you
mean to say you've uncovered something new?



b. colloq. (chiefly Brit.). I mean to say: used parenthetically or
as an exclamation, usually to emphasize the speaker's sincerity or
concern, or to indicate indignation.

1843 DICKENS Christmas Carol i. 21 You may talk vaguely about driving
a coach-and-six up a good old flight of stairs..; but I mean to say you
might have got a hearse up that staircase, and taken it broadwise. 1923
P. G. WODEHOUSE Inimitable Jeeves i. 7 So dashed competent in every
respect... I mean to say, take just one small instance. 1963 D. LESSING
Man & Two Women 141, I mean to say, you've got to take the rough with
the smooth. 1984 B. MACLAVERTY Cal 96 I've a good mind to pay you off
here and now... I mean to say, you're working here a fortnight and you
break into our property and scare the living daylights out of us. 1991
M. KILBY Man at Sharp End 261 ‘Well it's fairly obvious that you can't
go back to the plant, innit?’ agreed his platinum blonde flatmate
Deirdre. ‘Well I mean to say..it stands to reason like..don't it?’ she
added.



II. To signify; to convey or carry a meaning, significance,
consequence, etc.

6. a. trans. To indicate or signify (a certain object), or to convey
(a certain sense), when using some word, sentence, significant action,
etc. Sometimes with clause as object (often an indirect question
introduced by what). Now often with about, by.


how do you mean: see HOW adv. 3.

eOE ÆLFRED tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) xxxviii. 118 Gif he
ara nan nyte, onne nat he hwæt he mæn. OE ÆLFRIC Catholic Homilies: 2=
nd
Ser. (Cambr. Gg.3.28) xiii. 132 Crist mænde one ecan dea, to am ne
becuma, a e his bebodu healda, and a iudeiscan mændon isne andweardan
dea, am ne ætwint nan eorlic mann. OE ÆLFRIC Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen.
(Claud.) xviii. 20 God a geopenode Abrahame hwæt he mid ære spræce
mænde. c1175 (OE) Homily: Hist. Holy Rood-tree (Bodl. 343) 26 Heo æt
hire witon wolden hwæt heo mid am worde mende, et heo crist nemnen
scolde. a1225 MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1873) 2nd
Ser. 11 Wat e holie apostle mene o he nemnede niht and niehtes dede.
a1300 in R. Morris Old Eng. Misc. (1872) 85 Heo nuste hwat heo mende;
heo wes of wytte poure. a1375 William of Palerne 560 if i..told him..e
entecches of myn euele..he ne schold in no wise wite what i mente. a1400
(a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 12631 Quat he wit is wordes ment, Graithli
wist ai noght e entent. 1415 T. HOCCLEVE Addr. to Sir John Oldcastle 1
in Minor Poems (1892) I. 8 The laddre of heuene, I meene charitee. a1425
WYCLIF Sel. Eng. Wks. (1871) II. 6 And sum men seien at Crist meenide at
he himsilf..is more an Joon Baptist. c1480 (a1400) St. Barnabas (Cambr.)
89 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) I. 251 Gyf e will
wit quhat ve meyne. a1522 G. DOUGLAS tr. Virgil Æneid (1957) I. Prol.
387 Tuichand our tongis penurite, I mene onto compair of fair Latyne
[etc.]. 1530 J. PALSGRAVE Lesclarcissement 444/2 He becked at me, but I
wyste nat what he ment. 1617 F. MORYSON Itinerary I. 68 The twelfth
day..wee rode foure miles (meaning Dutch miles). 1644 K. DIGBY Two
Treat. I. xviii. 158 When we haue examined this, we shall vnderstand in
what sense it is meaned that Nature abhorreth from Vacuity. 1671 MILTON
Paradise Regain'd II. 28 Mean while the new-baptiz'd,..I mean Andrew and
Simon...Began to doubt. 1711 R. STEELE Spectator No. 136 4, I mean by
this Town the Cities of London and Westminster. 1782 ‘J. H. ST. J. DE
CRÈVECUR’ Lett. from Amer. Farmer iii. 107, I know nothing of what you
mean about lease, improvement, will, jury, etc. 1782 F. BURNEY Cecilia
III. V. iv. 53 In both which [sc. reproof and compliment] more seemed
meant than met the ear. 1825 W. COBBETT Rural Rides 442 And what is
meaned by ‘The fear of the Lord’? 1854 THACKERAY Newcomes I. xxix. 287
What the devil do you mean about your Chimène and your Rodrigue? 1895
SIR A. KEKEWICH in Law Times Rep. 73 663/1 The Act does not mean
literally what it says. 1930 G. B. SHAW Apple Cart I. 16 What do you
mean? Isn't it what I have always said? 1969 E. BOWEN Eva Trout II. iv.
284 ‘You're not coming in?’ asked Henry, meaning, into the vicarage.
1986 D. W. WINNICOTT Ess. i. 14 But what is meant by science? This is a
question that has often been asked.



b. trans. In interrogative contexts, usually rhetorically (as in
questions of the form what do you mean by ): to signify by an action;
(hence, by implication) to have as a motive or justification for an
action.
Usually expressing criticism or indignation.

1553 T. WILSON Arte of Rhetorique III. f. 91, I maruaile sir what you
meane to be euer snarringe at me. 1564 W. BULLEIN Dial. Fever Pestilence
f. 12v, What meaneth hee by winckyng like a Goose in the raine? 1749 H.
FIELDING Tom Jones II. VI. vi. 266 ‘What do you mean by running on in
this Manner to me?’ cries Sophia. 1792 F. BURNEY Diary Jan., ‘What do
you mean by going home?’ cried she, somewhat deridingly. 1859 DICKENS
Tale of Two Cities II. i. 35 What do you mean by flopping yourself down
and praying agin me? 1892 MRS. H. WARD David Grieve II. iii, What, no
top-coat in such weather! What do you mean by that, sir? You're wet
through. 1926 E. FERBER Show Boat xix. 385 Nola darling, you've just
gone gaga, that's all. What do you mean by staying down there in that
wretched malarial heat! 1967 M. GLENNY tr. M. Bulgakov Master &
Margarita I. iv. 62 What do you mean by upsetting this foreign tourist?
1992 N.Y. Times 5 May D9/5 ‘What do you mean by going away?’ he asks th=
e
waitress. ‘How about suggesting an ice cream, or coffee, or some cakes?=
’



c. trans. To be in earnest in saying. to mean what one says: to
speak truthfully, sincerely, or with determination. to mean it: to be in
earnest regarding one's words or (in extended use) actions.

1750 M. JONES Misc. in Prose & Verse 378, I am entirely satisfy'd with
every thing you say or do; am convinc'd..that you mean all you say. 1840
J. H. NEWMAN Parochial Serm. V. iii. 51 Let us aim at meaning what we
say, and saying what we mean. 1854 DICKENS Hard Times II. viii. 213 ‘The
Bank's robbed!’ ‘You don't mean it!’ 1876 H. JAMES Roderick Hudson xi=
.
398, I was unkind yesterday, without meaning it. 1906 R. E. KNOWLES
Undertow xxiii. 299 ‘What do you mean, Hiram?’.. ‘I mean what I say.=
’
1908 L. M. MONTGOMERY Anne of Green Gables xiii. 127 When I tell you to
come in at a certain time I mean that time and not half an hour later.
1952 E. O'NEILL Moon for Misbegotten I. 65 It's good to hear him laugh
as if he meant it. 1973 J. WAINWRIGHT Pride of Pigs 158 It was a very
special room... Fire-proof. And I mean fire-proof. Built to contain a
furnace. 1987 ‘A. T. ELLIS’ Clothes in Wardrobe 76 He still listened,
but now..not believing that I meant what I said.



d. trans. colloq. (if) you know (also see, understand) what I mean:
expressing a hope that one has been understood (esp. when one has spoken
imprecisely, circumspectly, or euphemistically). Now also know what I
mean: used as an intensifier, or appended to a statement by way of
innuendo or insinuation, or as a filler.

[1575 Gammer Gurtons Nedle V. ii. sig. Eiiiv, For feare of Hobgobling,
you wot wel what I meane, As long as it is sence, I feare me yet ye be
scarce cleane.] 1846 G. E. JEWSBURY Sel. Lett. to J. W. Carlyle (1892)
203 There would be a want of reverence in it, if you understand what I
mean. 1874 TROLLOPE Phineas Redux II. xvii. 134 I'm afraid it is far
fetched, Ma'amif you understand what I mean. 1919 P. G. WODEHOUSE Damsel
in Distress x, There's nobody I think a more corking sportsman than
Maud, if you know what I mean, but..I'm most frightfully in love with
somebody else. 1961 J. HELLER Catch-22 (1962) iv. 33 A little grease is
what makes this world go round. One hand washes the other. Know what I
mean? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. 1968 Guardian 24 Apr. 9/8
If I thought..he was going to back-chat me like he does now..I'd
half-kill him now, you know what I mean? 1974 Sunday Times 20 Jan. 12/4
[He'll] be only too keen to get back to his boat, if you see what I
mean. 1995 Smash Hits 29 Mar. 14/4 A couple of my old mates let someone
down, and they just got beaten up and darked, know what I mean?



e. intr. I mean: used parenthetically in conversation (or in writing
imitating conversational style) as a filler, with little or no
explanatory force.

1892 I. ZANGWILL Children of Ghetto I. 223 Tank Gawd! I mean, can I
see him? 1938 N. MARSH Artists in Crime ix. 122, I mean, it was only
once ages ago, after a party, and I mean I think men and women ought to
be free to follow their sex-impulses anyway. 1951 J. D. SALINGER Catcher
in Rye xi. 92, I knew her like a book. I really did. I mean, besides
checkers, she was quite fond of all athletic sports. 1972 G. CHAPMAN et
al. Monty Python's Flying Circus (1989) II. xxvii. 50 Well I mean a lot
of these things that are happening, well they just don't quite ring
true. 1992 L. WOIDWODE Indian Affairs vi. 120 You know, like, uh, hey,
man, I mean, cool, huh?



f. intr. To convey meaning, to signify.

1926 A. MACLEISH Ars Poetica in Streets in Moon 38 A poem should be
motionless in time... A poem should not mean But be. 1940 H. G. WELLS
Babes in Darkling Wood II. iii. 211 See that your words mean. Half the
time they don't mean. 1957 G. RYLE in M. Black Importance Lang. (1962)
162 Expressions do not mean because they denote things.



7. trans. Of a thing, word, or statement: to have as signification;
to signify, import; to portend. Also with clause as object (often an
indirect question introduced by what).
In quot. eOE it is not entirely clear whether the speaker is the
riddle or Saturn; if the latter, then this would be an example of sense
6a.

eOE Metrical Dialogue of Solomon & Saturn (Corpus Cambr. 422) ii. 237
Saga hwæt ic [sc. a riddle] mæne. OE ÆLFRIC Catholic Homilies: 1st Se=
r.
(Royal) xii. 277 Oft gehwa gesih fægere stafas awritene..& nat hwæt hi
mæna. ?c1200 Ormulum 5502 Swa att te muhenn shæwenn uw All whatt itt se
& mene. ?a1400 (a1338) R. MANNYNG Chron. (Petyt) II. 8 ei wist what it
ment. a1425 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Galba) 25395 ‘Amen’, at menes, ‘so =
mot
it be’. 1475 M. PASTON in Paston Lett. (1971) I. 376 Som of them..wote
full lytyll what yt meneth to be as a saugere. 1533 Fabyan's Chron. VII.
f. 20v, The kynge grauntyd to ye sayd cytesyns of London wareyn, that is
to meane that the cytesyns haue free lybertye of huntynge certayne
cyrcuyte aboute London. 1557 T. NORTH tr. A. de Guevara Diall Princes
345 From the time I knew what meaned to governe a common weale, I have
alwayes [etc.]. a1579 A. MONTGOMERIE Cherrie & Slae (Laing) 585 in Poems
(1910) 44 Expereance come in, and sperit, quhat [all] e mater menit.
1611 Bible (A.V.): Gen. xxi. 29 What meane these seuen ewe lambes, which
thou hast set by themselues? 1622 BACON Hist. Raigne Henry VII 234 His
Armes were neuer Infortunate; neither did hee know what a Disaster
meant. 1648 T. GAGE Eng.-Amer. (1655) x. 35 They knew not what money
meaned. 1667 MILTON Paradise Lost XI. 879 But say, what mean those
colourd streaks in Heavn. 1764 K. O'HARA Midas I. 5 What can this
hurly-burly, this helter~skelter mean? 1828 SCOTT Fair Maid of Perth
xiii, in Chron. Canongate 2nd Ser. III. 341 Eachin MacIanwhat means all
this? 1874 T. HARDY Far from Madding Crowd II. xi. 124 Oh! that meant
nothinga mere jest. 1908 E. F. BENSON Climber 135 She had but a few
babbling words in the tongues in which he was so glib, but her words
meant something; they signified. 1940 J. BUCHAN Memory Hold-the-Door i.
13 To me as a child, autumn meant the thick, close odour of rotting
leaves. 1993 L. WATSON Montana 1948 i. 22 Wilderness meant, to me,
getting out of town and into the country.



8. trans. To require, entail, necessitate; to produce as an effect
or result.

1841 E. MIALL in Nonconformist 1 228 Protection means shutting out the
best chapman and the best food. 1851 Tait's Mag. 21 490 Resurgent
Poland, he says, means resurgent Hungary, and even resurgent Italy. 1894
Times 5 Feb. 8/2 That would mean taking up all the streets in South
London. 1927 Passing Show Summer 23/3 Kendal Brown, sorrowfully
realising that this would mean a lifer for Bristola Birdseye, ducked his
head. 1958 R. NARAYAN Guide i. 5 It'd have meant walking home at nearly
midnight. 1994 Maclean's 17 Oct. 12/1 A third option would be to sharpen
the targeting of the child tax benefit, but that would mean less money
going to middle-income Canadians.



9. trans. With qualifying word or phrase: to be important to a
person to the extent indicated, esp. as a source of benefit or as an
object of regard, affection, or love; to matter (a lot, nothing, etc.).

1860 Atlantic Monthly Mar. 300, I uttered that word [‘wife’] which
once meant so much to me, and now seemed such an empty title to bestow
on her. 1869 L. M. ALCOTT Little Women II. xxiii. 337 Dearest, it means
so much to me. 1888 MRS. H. WARD Robert Elsmere II. IV. xxvi. 279 It was
only by a great effort that he could turn his thoughts from the Squire,
and all that the Squire had meant to him during the past year. 1912 Red
Mag. 1 Mar. 515/1 It came over me how much she meant to me and how hard
a wrench it was going to be to live along without her. 1922 J. JOYCE
Ulysses 346 He would never understand what he had meant to her. 1950 J.
RHYS Let. 1-9 May (1984) 81 It means a lot, a friendly word just now.
1988 A. LURIE Truth about Lorin Jones vi. 105 People don't mean that
much to Laura.



III. To mention.

10. a. trans. To mention, speak of; to say, tell. Obs.

OE Maxims I 65 Widgongel wif word gespringe, oft hy mon wommum bilih,
hæle hy hospe mæna. OE Beowulf 857 ær wæs Beowulfes mæro mæned.=
c1175
(OE) ÆLFRIC Homily (Bodl. 343) in S. Irvine Old Eng. Homilies (1993) 73
We nyton, eah he mende at micele wundor, æt nan synful man ne mihte
swylce tacnæ wyrcæn. c1230 (?a1200) Ancrene Riwle (Corpus Cambr.) 163
Inoh is to seggen swa et te hali schrift feader witerliche understonde
hweat tu wulle meanen. c1275 (?a1200) LAAMON Brut (Calig.) 16310 Wel e
hit maen imunen at ich wulle mæinen. a1387 J. TREVISA tr. R. Higden
Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) II. 345 ey poetes mene at Iupiter gildede
Saturnus. a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 12498 He had ar-for wel
gret pite, And us to ioseph it mened he. a1500 (a1460) Towneley Plays
141 The myght of me may no man mene. 1516 R. FABYAN New Chron. Eng.
(1811) II. xxxiv. 26 Gaufride meaneth yt this Sicillius was but .vii.
yeres of age when his Fader dyed. a1525 (c1448) R. HOLLAND Bk. Howlat
(Asloan) 756 in F. J. Amours Sc. Allit. Poems (1897) 73 Menstralis and
musicianis, mo than I mene may. a1600 J. MELVILLE Autobiogr. & Diary
(1842) 250 And when I haid come twyse or thryse na thing was meined to
me of that mater be the King. 1747 Lyon in Mourning (1895) II. 218 They
flockt about him like bee hives And humbly meant they'd risk their
lives..To serve his highness. 1774 D. GRAHAM Hist. Rebellion (ed. 3) xi.
124 Only his factor, who prov'd a friend, And how to act Miss to him
mean'd.



b. intr. (rarely with indirect object). To speak, tell. Chiefly with
by, of, on (Sc. and Eng. regional) (north.). Also (occas.) trans.
(refl.). Cf. sense 4. Obs.

OE Guthlac B 1233 y læs æt wundredan weras ond idesa, ond on gea
gutan, gieddum mænden bi me lifgendum. c1225 (?OE) Body & Soul
(Worcester) 55 et beo eos bearn, so so bec mæne. a1375 William of
Palerne 1925, I wol minge of a mater i mennede of bi-fore. a1400 (a1325)
Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 24878 Hir succur son to ham sco sent, at in sli
murning on hir ment. a1500 (?a1400) Wars Alexander (Trin. Dub.) 1615 ai
amervale aime mekyll as menys me e writtes [c1450 Ashm. as e buke
tellis]. 1543 (1464) Chron. J. Hardyng (1812) 153 All these were called
Westsex, as Bede ment. 1562 N. WINET Certain Tractates i, in Wks. (1888)
I. 3 We mein of the pastores of the Kirk. a1586 (?a1513) W. DUNBAR Poems
(Maitland) (1979) 25, I dout that Merche with his caild blastis keyne
Hes slane this gentill herbe that I of mene. a1600 (1535) W. STEWART tr.
H. Boece Bk. Cron. Scotl. (1858) II. 219 Richt so did he, as my author
did meyne. 1625 R. MONTAGU Appello Cæsarem 196 S. Paul speaketh of
Iustification in the attayning it... But S. Iames meaneth of
Iustification had and obtained.



IV. To have an opinion.

11. trans. With clause as object: to hold or entertain an opinion;
to think, imagine, believe. Also (occas.) intr. Obs.

a1398 J. TREVISA tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum
(BL Add.) f. 205v, ey at vse ydromancy mene that ey mowe haue answere of
god more herde by at an by oere precious stones. a1400 (a1325) Cursor
Mundi (Vesp.) 14686 ‘ou mas e godd, and ou art man.’ ‘Soth it es,’ =
coth
iesus an, ‘Bath i am, qua right wil men.’ c1449 R. PECOCK Repressor III=
.
xvii. 391 Ellis Crist in the alleggid xe. chapiter of Luk schulde haue
meened aens him silf in the other now alleggid placis. a1450 (a1338) R.
MANNYNG Chron. (Lamb.) I. 6888 Lord ow ar nought wene, Why y am comen e
may wel mene. 1533 J. GAU Richt Vay (1888) 51 Ciprianus menit that ye
quyk suld be the saulis. a1578 R. LINDSAY Hist. & Cron. Scotl. (1899) I.
31 Evirie man menit that it sould redound to his gret hurt. 1637 S.
RUTHERFORD Lett. (1862) I. 221 Knots of straw and things (as they mean)
off the way to heaven.



V. To remember.

12. To have in mind; to remember. a. trans. Obs.

a1400 (c1303) R. MANNYNG Handlyng Synne (Harl.) 6674 Sone, menest ou
nat what y er seyd? c1440 (a1400) Awntyrs Arthure (Thornton) 229 Gyffe
me grace for to..mene [a1500 Douce mynge] the with messes and matynnes
one morne. a1450 York Plays 93 Grete meruell es to mene, Howe man was
made. a1500 (?a1400) Wars Alexander (Trin. Dub.) 2956 Anepo..on
Alexander alway byholdes, en menys onys in massydon he had e man knawyn.



b. trans. (impers.), as me meaneth. To remember, recollect. Also
reflex. Chiefly with of. Obs.

a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) 16889 Vs meins quils he was in lijf
at we herd him sai at [etc.]. a1400 (a1325) Cursor Mundi (Gött.) 5274 Ne
menis ou noght..Of a drem ful lang sien gan? a1450 (a1338) R. MANNYNG
Chron. (Lamb.) I. 1838 He recouered his strenge for tene, Of skae wold
he hym no more mene. c1450 (?c1425) St. Elizabeth of Spalbeck in Anglia
(1885) 8 118 Atte a dewe oure, and, as me meni, bytwix sexte and noon.
a1500 (?a1400) Wars Alexander (Trin. Dub.) 1625 In e marche of masydon
me menys on a tyme, Suche a segh in my slepe me sodenly appered.



c. intr. Chiefly with of, on, upon. Obs.

a1425 (?a1350) Gospel of Nicodemus (Galba) 123 Of Emperoures..is was
used..for folk suld on [v.r. of] air menskes mene. 1442 in J. Stuart
Extracts Council Reg. Aberdeen (1844) I. 397 It is to mene apon
that..Robert Masoun, and Gilbert Masoun, oblist them..til a honourable
knight. 1487 (a1380) J. BARBOUR Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) XII. 269 Menys
on our gret manheid. ?a1500 W. LICHFIELD Complaint of God (Lamb. 306)
221 in F. J. Furnivall Polit., Relig., & Love Poems (1903) 204 Of sodome
and gomer the ought to meene, howe I made fyre and brymston falle. a1522
G. DOUGLAS tr. Virgil Æneid (1960) XI. Prol. 172 Allthocht his lord wald
meyne On his ald seruis. c1580 Bk. Alexander 67 Mene vpon our hecht.
1655 J. CLARKE Phraseologia Puerilis (ed. 3) 16 Post hominum memoriam.
Ever since man could mean.



VI. To go towards. (Prob. conveying a strong idea of intentionality;
cf. branch I.)

13. trans. To advance on, attack; to threaten. Obs. rare.

c1425 (c1400) Laud Troy-bk. 4172 Gret schame it is..That we durst
neuere Troye mene, Ne neuere durst we hit ones se. c1540 (?a1400) Gest
Historiale Destr. Troy 7111 He..comaundit hom..To go bake fro e
batell..And mene hym no more, ne hor men kylle.



14. a. intr. To go (towards); to make one's way. to be meant: to be
bound for a specified place or direction. Obs.

c1450 (c1400) Sowdon of Babylon 784 Lordynges, whens come ye And
whider ye are mente, telle vs this tyde. a1525 (c1448) R. HOLLAND Bk.
Howlat (Asloan) 2 in F. J. Amours Sc. Allit. Poems (1897) 47 At morne,
as I ment, Throwe myrth markit on mold, till a grene meid. 1543 (1464)
Chron. J. Hardyng (1812) 34 With shippes xii to Italy had they mente.
1568 W. STEWART in W. T. Ritchie Bannatyne MS f. 265, Furth ouer the
mold at morrow as I ment Withowttin feir to tak the helsum air. 1584
JAMES VI & I Poems (1955) I. 19 So I amongst the paths vpon that
hill..Did stay confusde, in doubt what way to mene.


b. trans. To aim at, direct one's way to. Obs. rare.

1633 G. HERBERT Church Porch in Temple lvi, Who aimeth at the sky
Shoots higher much than he that means a tree. 1706 I. WATTS Horæ Lyricæ
I. 100 The muse ascends her heavenly car, And climbs the steepy path and
means the throne divine.

==========================
===

SIGNIFY
[ad. F. signifier (12th c., = Prov. signifiar, -ficar, Sp. and Pg.
significar, It. significare), ad. L. significre, f. signum SIGN n.]

1. a. trans. To be a sign or symbol of; to represent, betoken, mean.


c1250 Kent. Serm. in O.E. Misc. 27 et Gold et is bricht..signefieth e
gode beleaue et is bricht ine e gode cristenemannes herte. a1340 HAMPOLE
Psalter Prol., is boke is distyngid in thris fyfty psalmes, in e whilk
thre statis of cristin mannys religion is sygnifyd. 1402 Pol. Poems
(Rolls) II. 56 Foure angels singnefien foure general synnes. 1470-85
MALORY Arthur XIII. xiv. 631 The two knyghtes sygnefyen the two dedely
synnes. 1560 J. DAUS tr. Sleidane's Comm. 65b, This signifieth my body.
1597 HOOKER Eccl. Pol. V. lviii. §2 The secret grace which they [the
sacraments] signifie and exhibit. 1611 BEAUM. & FL. Philaster I. i, Then
took he up his Garland and did shew, What every flower as Country people
hold, Did signifie. 1687 DRYDEN Hind & P. I. 424 For what is signify'd
and understood, Is, by her own confession, flesh and blood. 1729 BUTLER
Serm. Wks. 1874 II. 56 These words are intended to signify certain forms
of civility. 1753 HOGARTH Anal. Beauty xi, The arrows [of Apollo] may be
allowed to signify the sun's rays. 1869 RUSKIN Q. of Air §8 It may be
easy to prove that the ascent of Apollo in his chariot signifies nothing
but the rising of the sun.



absol. 1533 FRITH Answ. More (1829) 331 Now, if they be signs, then
they do signify, and are not the very thing itself. 1652 GAULE
Magastrom. 228 Every voyce, therefore, that is significative, first of
all signifies by the influence of the clestial harmony.



b. To betoken, foreshow, indicate as something that is to take
place. Also absol.

13.. K. Alis. 596 (Laud MS.), e eye rounde shal signifie at he shal
habbe seignorye Of is rounde myddell erd. 1390 GOWER Conf. I. 306 A
Raven, be whom yit men mai Take evidence, whan he crieth, That som
mishapp it signefieth. c1440 York Myst. xv. 15 Or he be borne in burgh
hereby,..A sterne shulde schyne and signifie, With lightfull lemes.
a1450 Knt. de la Tour (1868) 11, Y wille shewe you what youre auision
signifiethe. c1475 Brut (1908) 603 ere aperyd in e ffirmament a gret
sterre,..whiche synified gret sorw, & myschef at fylle aftyrward. 1530
PALSGR. 718/1, I sawe a marvaylouse thyng in the ayre yesterday what so
ever it dothe signifye. 1665 COWLEY in Johnson L.P. (1868) 8 What this
signifies, or may come to in time, God knows; if it be ominous it can
end in nothing less than hanging.



2. Of words, etc.: To have the import or meaning of; to mean,
denote.

a1300 Cursor M. 22988 Ierom sais..at Iosaphat mai signifi Vr lauerd
dome. a1400 Pistill of Susan 287 What signefyes, gode sone, ese sawes at
ou seis? 1432-50 tr. Higden (Rolls) II. 151 For dal in the langage of
theyme signifiethe parte. c1510 MORE Picus Wks. 18/1 This name Jesus
signifieth a sauioure. 1610 HOLLAND Camden's Brit. (1637) 204, I have
heard likewise, that Caer in the Syriack tongue, signified, a Citie.
1696 WHISTON Th. Earth II. (1722) 173 The very Name of Typhon..signifies
a Deluge or Inundation. 1770 J. CLUBBE Misc. Tracts II. 141 Which is
expressed by a word in the Hebrew, that signifies to initiate. 1837 P.
KEITH Bot. Lex. 40 The autumn is designated by a term signifying the
fall of the leaf. 1876 TAIT Rec. Adv. Phys. Sci. (ed. 3) 365 We now
employ the term Energy to signify the power of doing work.



absol. 1668 H. MORE Div. Dial. IV. xiii. (1713) 315 You are to
understand..that the Kingdom of God in the New Testament signifies
variously. 1681 T. FLATMAN Heraclitus Ridens No. 66 (1713) II. 161
Conscience and Honesty are general Words, and signify, according to the
mind of the Speaker.



3. a. To make known, intimate, announce, declare.

1297 R. GLOUC. (Rolls) 3233 Me cluped him Vter pendragon..& at was to
singnefie at merlin him clupede dragon in is prophecye. 1382 WYCLIF Acts
xi. 28 Oon of hem..signyfiede bi the spirit a greet hungir to comynge in
al the roundnesse of erthis. c1400 Rom. Rose 7165 Thus myche wole our
book signifie, That while Petre hath maistrie May never Johan shewe
welle his myght. 1513 DOUGLAS Æneid VII. v. 141 The self stranger, quham
fatale destane Signifyit to cum furth of ane wncouth stede To be his son
in law. 1560 J. DAUS tr. Sleidane's Comm. 228 It is reported not onlie
in Germany, but also sygnyfyed oute of Italye, and other places. 1604 E.
G[RIMSTONE] D'Acosta's Hist. Indies VI. v. 442 A man of iudgement may
aske, how they could signifie their conceptions by figures. 1663 GERBIER
Counsel d5, When no living creature was come from Europe into that part
of America to signifie that newes. 1749 FIELDING Tom Jones (1775) III.
69 The 'squire and the parson..were smoaking their pipes together, when
the arrival of the lady was first signified. 1781 GIBBON Decl. & F. xix.
(1787) II 132 His first step was to signify a concise and haughty
mandate. 1837 LOCKHART Scott III. x. 324 In compliance with Scott's wish
as signified in the letter last quoted. 1884 Graphic 16 Aug. 162/3 Her
Majesty has signified her intention of subscribing 200l. to the Building
Fund.



b. Const. to (unto).

c1430 LYDG. Min. Poems (Percy Soc.) 127 To signefie to pope and to
prelate, How this world is a thurghfare ful of woo. 1490 CAXTON Eneydos
xvii. 65 He..stroof wyth hymself by what wayes he myghte signyfie it
vnto her..for to gyue her lesse sorowe. 1560 J. DAUS tr. Sleidane's
Comm. 226b, The Duke of Saxon and the Lantzgrave immediately signifye to
themperour by letters the whole matter. 1597 MORLEY Introd. Mus. Ded.,
To publish these labors of mine vnder your name..to signifie unto the
world my thankfull mind. 1605 CAMDEN Rem., Allusions (1623) 140 It was
also signified vnto him, they were borne in..Northumberland. 1689 Col.
Rec. Pennsylv. I. 300 He thought they were obliged to ye Govr. for
signifying these things to them. 1776 ADAM SMITH W.N. I. ii. (1904) I.
15 Nobody ever saw one animal, by its gestures and natural cries,
signify to another, this is mine, that yours. 1855 MACAULAY Hist. Eng.
xviii. IV. 162 A prince who obstinately refused to comply with the
general wish of his people signified to him by his Parliament.



4. To compare, liken to something. Obs.

1456 SIR G. HAYE Law Arms (S.T.S.) 284 The quhyte colour..is signyfyit
to the vertu of puritee. 1470-85 MALORY Arthur XVII. ix. 703 Wel oughte
oure lord be sygnefyed to an herte.



5. To hint at. Obs. rare.

1513 MORE Rich. III (1883) 70 Other thinges, which the said worshipful
doctor rather signified then fully explaned.



6. To notify or inform (a person). Obs.

1523 LD. BERNERS Froiss. I. lxxxvi. 108 Sir Gaultier of Manny sent
certayne messangers to the kyng of Englande, signyfieng hym howe [etc.].
1566 in Marsden Court Adm. (Selden) II. 135 Plezeth your.. Lordshipp to
be signifyed that I have receivid your..writ of supersedeas to me
dyrectid. 1610 HEYWOOD Gold. Age III. i, Messengers dispatch'd to
signifie My sonne of our distresse. [1690 LOCKE Hum. Und. II. xiv. §23
Without some regular periodical Returns, we could not..signify others
the Length of any Duration.]



7. intr. To be of importance or consequence; to have significance;
to avail or matter: a. With advs., as much, little, nothing, or in
questions with what.

1661 MARVELL Corr. Wks. (Grosart) II. 58 The House left Liddall to
prosecute him at law, but I believe it will not signify much. 1686 tr.
Chardin's Trav. Persia 33 But it signify'd little. a1715 BURNET Own Time
(1724) II. 38 His speech signified nothing towards the saving of
himself. 1757 FOOTE Author 1, Lord! what signifies carrying such a
lumb'ring thing about? 1818 SCOTT Hrt. Midl. iii, ‘It signifies little,=
’
replied Captain Porteous; ‘your pain will be soon at an end’. 1845 M.
PATTISON Ess. (1889) I. 27 Condemned Praetextatus must be, and what did
it signify by what semblance of law or justice? 1878 BROWNING La Saisiaz
30 What signifies repugnance? Truth is truth howe'er it strike.



b. Without qualifying word.

1677 W. HUGHES Man of Sin II. iii. 48 Is he not made to stand by as a
Cypher, when she alone must signifie in all these Devotions? 1743
BULKELEY & CUMMINS Voy. S. Seas 14 The Captain's Answer was, It does not
signify. 1762-71 H. WALPOLE Vertue's Anecd. Paint. (1786) III. 113 The
anecdotes of Cooper's life are few; nor does it signify; his works are
his history. 1817 LADY GRANVILLE Lett. (1894) I. 91 His eye is still
bloodshot, but nothing to signify. 1894 BARING-GOULD Kitty Alone II. 156
There was no metal to signify at the butt-end. 1903 SOMERVILLE & ‘ROSS’
All on Irish Shore iii. 75 ‘Did many people say it?’ asked Mr Gunning..=
.
‘Oh, no one whose opinion signified!’ retorted Fanny Fitz. 1930 A. P.
HERBERT Water Gipsies ii. 16 Don't worry, Fred. It don't signify.



8. intr. U.S. slang (chiefly Blacks'). To boast or brag; to make
insulting remarks or insinuations.

1932 Evening Sun (Baltimore) 9 Dec. 31/5 Signify, to pretend to have
knowledge of a matter or subject in which one is poorly informed. 1935
Z. N. HURSTON Mules & Men I. vii. 161 ‘Aw, woman, quit tryin' to
signify.’ ‘Ah kin signify all Ah please, Mr. Nappy-chin.’ 1948 Common
Ground Summer 42/2 He was signifying and getting his revenge through
songs. 1968 Down Beat 7 Mar. 38/3 One night Billie brought the personal
element into focus by ‘signifying’, which in Harlemese means making a
series of pointed but oblique remarks apparently addressed to no one in
particular, but unmistakable in intention in such a close-knit circle.
1969 C. MITCHELL Lang. Behavior in Black Urban Community iii. 96, I
wasn't signifying at her, but..if the shoe fits, wear it. 1973 A. DUNDES
Mother Wit 141/2 A sample of some of the special techniques and forms of
extended word play should convince even the most adamant sceptic that no
black child who can signify or play the dozens can rightly be called
lacking in verbal skills.


==========================
====

SIGN
[a. F. signe, sine, ad. L. signum mark, token, etc.]

I. 1. a. A gesture or motion of the hand, head, etc., serving to
convey an intimation or to communicate some idea. Freq. in the phrases
to make a sign or signs, and by signs.

a1225 Ancr. R. 70 Heo schal habben leaue to..makien signes touward
hire of one glede chere. c1350 Will. Palerne 2740 To e hert & e hinde he
turned him a-eine, & bi certeyn signes sone he hem taut. c1385 CHAUCER
L.G.W. 2367 Philomene, She..preyede hym with signys to gon Vn-to the
queen..And be signys swor hym manye an oth [etc.]. c1400 MANDEVILLE
(Roxb.) xxii. 100 ai speke not, bot..makez signes as mounkes duse. 1508
DUNBAR Tua Mariit Wemen 467, I have ane secrete serwand,..That me
supportis of sic nedis, quhen I a syne mak. 1530 PALSGR. 702/2 I spake
nothyng to him, but I shewed hym of it by signe otherwise. 1595 SHAKES.
John IV. ii. 237 Thou didst vnderstand me by my signes, And didst in
signes againe parley with sinne. 1626 BACON New Atl. 4 Warning us off by
signes that they made. 1664 BUTLER Hud. II. ii. 758 Then Hudibras, with
face and hand, Made signs for Silence. 1712 STEELE Spect. No. 454 4 The
Coachmen make Signs with their Fingers..to intimate how much they have
got that Day. 1791 MRS. RADCLIFFE Rom. Forest x, The moment Peter saw
her he made a sign of silence. 1839 F. A. KEMBLE Resid. in Georgia
(1863) 37 More by signs and dumb show than words. 1873 DIXON Two Queens
XVI. ii. III. 193 Scores of starving men were ready on a sign to hunt
him down.



b. A show or pretence of something. Obs.

c1400 MANDEVILLE (Roxb.) iii. 10 He made signe of etyng and feyned as
he had etyn. 1485 CAXTON Chas. Gt. 230 The whyche..made to hym synge of
loue and of subgectyon..vnder the shadowe of decepcyon. a1548 HALL
Chron., Hen. VI, 91b, Then he and all his companye made a signe of
retraite.



c. A signal.

1601 SHAKES. Jul. C. V. i. 23 Mark Antony, shall we giue signe of
Battaile?.. No Cæsar. 1615 G. SANDYS Trav. 298 The Charioteers started
their horses upon a signe given. 1678 Life Black Prince in Harleian
Misc. (1809) III. 144 The sign of battle, being given by King Philip,
was entertained with clamours and shouts. 1708 CHAMBERLAYNE Pres. St.
Gt. Brit. (1710) 349 From the top..they made a Sign by Fire, when they
apprehended any imminent Danger. 1817 SHELLEY Rev. Islam X. vii, With
secret signs from many a mountain-tower, With smoke by day, and fire by
night.



2. a. A mark or device having some special meaning or import
attached to it, or serving to distinguish the thing on which it is put.
Freq. in sign of the cross (cf. CROSS n. 3b).

c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 84 Heo made e signe of e croiz. 13.. Cursor M.
6078 (Gött.), On ilk a post..A sine of tau make e er. 1393 LANGL. P.
Pl. C. xv. 40 Crist cam and confermede and holy kirke made, And in sond
a sygne wrot. c1420 LYDG. Assembly of Gods 1040 Vertew commaundyd euery
wyght To pauyse hym vndyr the sygne of the roode. c1440 Pallad. on Husb.
XI. 22 Now nede is sette a signe on euery vyne That fertile is, sciouns
of hit to take For settyng. 1526 Pilgr. Perf. (W. de W. 1531) 26b,
Marked..not onely with the sygne of the crosse in our garmentis,..but
also (I trust) with the sygne of tau in our soules. 1560 J. DAUS tr.
Sleidane's Comm. 334 With his crosiers staffe [he] maketh the signe of
the crosse upon the highest walles. 1653 H. MORE Antid. Ath. II. vi,
Observing that several Herbs are marked with some Mark or Sign that
intimates their virtue. 1733 BERKELEY Th. Vision Vind. §40 A great
number of arbitrary signs, various and opposite, do constitute a
Language. 1769 ROBERTSON Chas. V, State Europe Note x, It was usual for
persons who could not write, to make the sign of the cross in
confirmation of a charter. 1833 N. ARNOTT Physics (ed. 5) II. 236 The
common visual signs on the retina..are of all signs the most readily
learned or understood. 1884 Cath. Dict. (1897) 258/1 The Church,
accustomed to bless everything with the sign of the cross.



b. A bookmark; = REGISTER n.1 7a. Obs.0

1483 Cath. Angl. 340/1 A Syne of a buke, registrum.



c. A conventional mark, device, or symbol, used technically (as in
music, algebra, botany, etc.) in place of words or names written in
ordinary letters.

1557 RECORDE Whetst. Sjb, Nombers Cossike, are soche as bee contracte
vnto a denomination of some Cossike signe. Ibid. Sijb, There be other
.2. signes in often vse, of whiche the firste is made thus + and
betokeneth more: the other is made - and betokeneth lesse. 1597 MORLEY
Introd. Mus. 104 The note whereupon the following part must begin, is
marked with this signe .?. 1609 DOWLAND Ornith. Microl. 87 A signe is
the successiue distribution of one and the same Close, in.. a Song. 1662
PLAYFORD Skill Mus. I. x. (1674) 32 The Perfect of the Less..; its Sign
or Mark is made thus. 1728 CHAMBERS Cycl. s.v. Character, Ordinarily..in
Algebra, the Sign [of multiplication] is omitted, and the two Quantities
put together. 1832 LINDLEY Introd. Bot. 422 In botany a variety of
marks, or signs, are employed to express particular qualities or
properties of plants. 1875 JOWETT Plato (ed. 2) IV. 150 Two minus signs
in arithmetic or algebra make a plus.



d. Math. A point. Obs. rare.

1570 BILLINGSLEY Euclid I. def. 1, A signe or point is that which hath
no part. Ibid., Vnity..is lesse materiall then a signe or poynt.



e. Math. That aspect of a quantity which may be either positive or
negative.

1820 G. PEACOCK Differential & Integral Calculus 112 The sign of d2u
may be easily determined. 1836 A. DE MORGAN Differential & Integral
Calculus xiv. 369 When there is a change of sign, y is a maximum (M), or
a minimum (m), according as the change is from + to - or from - to + (x
increasing). 1924 G. F. SWAIN Structural Engin. xiii. 350 It is obvious
that n1 will have the same sign as ft, and n2 the opposite sign. 1957 G.
E. HUTCHINSON Treat. Limnol. I. ix. 597 Where biochemical oxygen uptake
or production occurs, no general rule as to the sign of the divergence
from saturation will be possible. 1978 C. P. MCKEAGUE Elem. Algebra i.
23 To multiply any two real numbers simply multiply their absolute
values, the sign of the answer is 1. positive if both numbers had the
same sign..2. negative if the numbers had opposite signs.



3. A mark of attestation (or ownership), written or stamped upon a
document, seal, etc. Obs.

1362 LANGL. P. Pl. A. II. 82 e Deede was a-selet, Be siht of sir
Symoni and Notaries signes. 1377 Ibid. B. xx. 270, I wolde..at e were in
e Registre, And owre noumbre vndre notaries sygne. c1460 Oseney Reg. 133
The forsaide x. acris..lien in the Northefelde of the foresaide towne
with owre syne woonyd i-seeled. 1474 CAXTON Chesse II. i. (1883) 22 Not
only her promises but their othes her sealis and wrytynges & signes of
their propre handes. 1558 in 10th Rep. Hist. MSS. Comm. App. V. 388 In
wittnes hereof we have..set hereunto our signes and common sealle. 1609
BIBLE (Douay) Jer. xxxii. 44 The fieldes..shal be written in a booke,
and the signe shal be stamped on, and a witnes shal be taken.



4. A figure or image; a statue or effigy; an imprint. Obs.

1362 LANGL. P. Pl. A. IV. 112 Bere no seluer ouer see at bere signe of
e kyng. 1387 TREVISA Higden (Rolls) I. 229 ere is anoere signe and
tokene to fore e popes paleys; an hors of bras and a man sittynge eron.
c1440 Pol., Rel., & L. Poems (1903) 152 Ther ys ette a syne of his fote
On a marbull stone er as he stode. 1589 WARNER Alb. Eng. VI. xxix.
(1602) 143 For often Vprores did ensue for him, as vndeceast, Howbeit
solemnely inter'd, himselfe, or Signe at least.



5. a. A device borne on a banner, shield, etc.; a cognizance or
badge. Obs.

c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 158 Ane Croiz, at Man fer isai,.. at was signe
of is baner. c1350 Will. Palerne 3213 Swete sire, e me saye what signe
is e leuest to haue schape in i scheld to schene armes? 1399 Rolls of
Parlt. III. 452 That thei..gyf no Liverees of Sygnes, no make no Retenue
of men. c1420 LYDG. Assembly of Gods 355 A garland of yuy he [Bacchus]
chase for hys sygne. 1461 Coventry Leet-bk. II. 319 [That they] neyther
were ne vse oure most honnorable signe, nor any other lordes or
gentilles signe, tokyn or lyuere. 1562 LEGH Armorie 47, I will therfore
shewe you of signes yt are borne, and do occupie the same Escocheon.



b. Something displayed as an emblem or token; esp. an ensign,
banner, standard. Obs.

c1400 Song Roland 503 An C thoussand of good men..with proud synes of
silk lifte on loft. c1440 York Myst. xvii. 222 Vn-to at Prince I rede we
praye, That till vs sente his syngne [sc. the star] vnsoght. 1483 CAXTON
Gold. Leg. 305/1 He is had among the companye of Angels as banerer and
berynge the signe of oure lord. 1500-20 DUNBAR Poems xxxviii. 4 The
signe trivmphall rasit is of the croce. 1596 DALRYMPLE tr. Leslie's
Hist. Scotl. II. 300 Monie standarts and syngis..left be the Jnglismen,
be the Scotis ar tane. 1667 MILTON P.L. VI. 776 The great Ensign of
Messiah blaz'd Aloft by Angels born, his Sign in Heav'n.



c. spec. A pilgrim's token. Obs.

1362 LANGL. P. Pl. A. VI. 12 An hundred of ampolles on his hat seeten,
Signes of Synay and Schelles of Galys. c1400 Beryn 171 Then, as manere &
custom is, signes ere ey boute. Ibid. 175, 191.



d. pl. Insignia. Obs. rare.

1591 SPENSER M. Hubberd 1016 Yet at the last..He all those royall
signes had stolne away.



6. a. A characteristic device attached to, or placed in front of, an
inn (house) or shop, as a means of distinguishing it from others or
directing attention to it; in later use commonly a board bearing a name
or other inscription, with or without some ornament or picture. Also, a
board giving information, directions, etc.

1467 in Eng. Gilds (1870) 405 That no person sille none ale out of his
place, but he haue a signe at his dorre. c1470 Promp. Parv. (K.) 456/1
Syne of an in. 1539 TAVERNER Erasm. Prov. (1552) 42 The Englysh prouerbe
is this. Good wyne nedeth no signe. 1593 SHAKES. 2 Hen. VI, V. ii. 67
Vnderneath an Ale-house paltry signe, The Castle in S. Albons. 1617
MORYSON Itin. III. 156, I did never see nor heare that they have any
publike Innes with signes hanging out. 1667 PRIMATT City & C. Build. 69
Note, That they weigh with the Balconie, the Bars that are to fasten the
sign thereunto. 1727 SWIFT Imit. Horace II. vi. 72 To read the Lines
Writ underneath the Country Signs. 1780 Mirror No. 82 Putting up their
pictures as signs for their taverns and ale-houses. 1816 J. SCOTT Vis.
Paris (ed. 5) 91 The signs of the shops are very elegant;that is to say,
they are elegant for signs. 1859 JEPHSON Brittany ix. 134 The first
thing that met my eye..was a sign over a public-house. 1904, etc. [see
road sign s.v. ROAD n. 9b].



fig. 1642 FULLER Holy & Prof. St. I. viii. 20 Fools! who to perswade
men that Angels lodged in their hearts, hung out a devil for a signe in
their faces. a1684 LEIGHTON Wks. (1816) 429 Fantastic garb in apparel,
which is the very bush or sign hanging out, that tells a vain mind
lodges within. 1825 SCOTT Talism. iv, I am but the vile and despised
sign, which points out to the wearied traveller a harbour of rest and
security, but must itself remain for ever without doors.



b. In phr. at the sign of (the Bell, Sun, etc.).

1501 Alcock's Mons Perfect. Colophon, Enprynted at London in flete
strete at the sygne of ye sonne by Wynkin de worde. 1542-3 Act 34 & 35
Hen. VIII, c. 12 One little lane stretching from the said way, to the
signe of the bell at Drewry lane ende. 1672 Heath's Flagellum Title-p.,
Sold at his Shop at the Signe of the Crown. 1722 DE FOE Col. Jack (1840)
94 We baited at an inn, at the sign of the Falcon. 1749 FIELDING Tom
Jones VIII. viii, Chose for their house of entertainment the sign of the
Bell. 1828 SCOTT F.M. Perth xx, An appointment to meet with the others
of his company at the sign of the Griffin.



c. at the sign of the moon, in the open air by night. (After Fr. à
l'enseigne de la lune.) Obs.

1613 PURCHAS Pilgrimage III. x. (1614) 294 They often lodge (saith
Willamont) at the signe of the Moone; and the like moderation they vse
in diet and apparel. 1679 G. R. tr. Boaistuau's Theat. World II. 107 The
Souldier is for the most part always waking, having his Quarters at the
Sign of the Moon.



II. 7. a. A token or indication (visible or otherwise) of some
fact, quality, etc. Also the signs of the times, indications of current
trends; now freq. as sing. phr. with leading indef. article.

1297 R. GLOUC. (Rolls) 3744 er nas nour aboute knit..bot hii of sute
were Of king arthures hous, oer som signe er of bere, Of robes oer of
armes. 13.. E.E. Allit. P. B. 489 at was e syngne of sauyte at sende hem
oure lorde. c1386 CHAUCER Melib. §53 It is signe of gentil herte whan a
man..desireth to han a good name. c1400 Lanfranc's Cirurg. 181 If e
place be whijt & neische..it is a signe of fleume. 1484 CAXTON Fables of
Avian viii, [He] hath shewed to the grete sygne or token of loue. 1525
BIBLE (Tyndale) (1526) Matt. xvi. 3 Can ye not discerne the sygnes of
the tymes? a1533 LD. BERNERS Gold. Bk. M. Aurel. (1546) Ciiib, He bare
in his hande the signe or token of the office, wherby he lyued. 1594 in
Cath. Rec. Soc. Publ. V. 285 All with black hoods, which with us is a
signe of gentlewomen. 1638 JUNIUS Paint. Ancients 228 Though it be no
signe of a more polished, yet is it a marke of a greater wit. 1697
DRYDEN Virg. Georg. III. 670 The Causes and the Signs..Of ev'ry Sickness
that infects the Fold. 1750 GRAY Long Story 89 [It was] no sign of
grace, For folks in fear are apt to pray. 1829 T. L. PEACOCK Misfort.
Elphin x, They here found..materials of spinning and embroidering, and
other signs of female inhabitancy. 1833 Daily Nat. Intelligencer 17 July
3/3 We have stood upon our ‘reserved rights’ of neutrality, to watch th=
e
signs of the times. 1863 GEO. ELIOT Romola xxii, Working people..bearing
on their dress or persons the signs of their daily labour. 1874 GREEN
Short Hist. iv. §5. 202 The exile of Gaveston was the sign of the
Barons' triumph. 1907 Nature 14 Mar. 459/1 This book is an interesting
sign of the times. 1921 J. GALSWORTHY To Let II. xi. 214 ‘He's a sign of
the times,’ muttered Soames, ‘if you like.’ 1953 A. J. TOYNBEE World =
&
West vi. 93 The people who have read the signs of the times and have
taken action in the light of these indications are the obscure
missionaries of half-a-dozen Oriental religions. 1977 Gay News 24 Mar.
19/3 Last year, perhaps as a sign of the times, Take Six notched up over
80 mentions in everything from the Daily Mirror to the Italian glossioso
L'Uomo.



b. Used without const., or with clause following.

c1380 WYCLIF Sel. Wks. II. 258 Signes of e olde lawe weren toknes of
oure signes now, as ei ben tokenes of e blisse of hevene. 1422 tr.
Secreta Secret., Priv. Priv. 232 They haue many tokenys or syngnes by
wych a man may deme the Physnomye. 1483 CAXTON Cato 5 Of the foure
Sygnes or tokens by whiche is knowen trewe loue. 1560 J. DAUS tr.
Sleidane's Comm. 55b, To axe of God a sygne wherby he maye testifie,
that he careth for us. a1656 BP. HALL Rem. Wks. (1660) 192 The thing
signed is usually put for the sign itself. 1690 LOCKE Hum. Und. III. x.
(1695) 277 The using of Words, without clear and distinct Ideas; or,
which is worse, signs without any thing signified. 1766 GRAY Impromptus
12 A sign you have eat just enough and no more. 1833 TENNYSON Two Voices
270 Know I not Death? the outward signs? 1885 S. O. JEWETT Marsh Island
xii, She never had given a single sign that she loved or meant to marry
him. 1890 W. JAMES Princ. Psychol. II. xxii. 356 Language is a system of
signs, different from the things signified, but able to suggest them.
c1902 C. S. PEIRCE Coll. Papers (1932) II. §92 Genuine mediation is the
character of a Sign. 1922 tr. Wittgenstein's Tractatus 53 The sign is
the part of the symbol perceptible by the senses. 1938 C. W. MORRIS
(title) Foundations of the theory of signs. 1947, 1949 [see SIGNIFIANT].
1954 [see SIGNIFIER b]. 1964 GOULD & KOLB Dict. Soc. Sci. 641/2 Sign
denotes any stimulus which, because of association with another
stimulus, elicits a response appropriate to but in the absence of the
original stimulus. 1978 Incorporated Linguist Summer 60/3 Modern
society's haste to read inadvertently into signs (in the Barthesian
sense) rather than decipher the simple message. 1979 S. G. J. HERVEY
Axiomatic Semantics vii. 61 By the law of excluded middle, any given
sign is either simple or complex, but not both.



c. Without article, in phr. in sign of (or that).

1297 R. GLOUC. (Rolls) 3986 Branches hii bere Of oliue, as in signe at
hii aen pays nere. a1300 Cursor M. 5121 He kist am all in signe o saght.
1362 LANGL. P. Pl. A. XI. 98 In signe at I schulde bi-sechen hire of
grace. 1474 CAXTON Chesse II. iv. (1883) 44 The kynge..gyrdeth a boute
them a swerde in signe that they shold abyde and kepe hym. 1546 Reg.
Privy Council Scot. I. 30 In signe and takin herof my Lord Governour hes
takyn baith thair handis. 1593 SHAKES. 3 Hen. VI, IV. viii. 26 In signe
of truth, I kisse your Highnesse Hand. 1611 SIR W. MURE Mes Amours 39
Receaue, in sing that thou hes won the field, The bow. 1718 POPE Iliad
X. 321 In sign she favour'd their intent, A long-wing'd heron great
Minerva sent. 1865 MILL Exam. Hamilton 381 An animal is called a bull,
in sign of its possessing certain attributes.



d. Theol. Phr. outward visible sign and varr., in sacramental
ordinances, the outward and visible aspect which symbolizes the inward
and spiritual aspect. Also transf.

1553 J. BRADFORD in Coverdale Lett. Martyrs (1564) 293 There is
Idolatry in worshipping the outwarde signe of breade and wyne. 1604 Bk.
Com. Prayer, Catechism, Q. How many partes be there in a Sacrament? A.
Two: the Outward visible signe, and the Inward spirituall Grace. c1816
J. MARRIOTT Hymn, Grant to this child the inward grace, While we the
outward sign impart. 1861 tr. O Food that Weary Pilgrims Love! in Hymns,
Anc. & Mod. (Introits & Anthems) p. xvii, O Jesu, Whom, by power divine
Now hidden 'neath the outward sign, We worship and adore. 1898 A. G.
MORTIMER Cath. Faith & Practice I. 124 The matter [of a sacrament] is
the outward sign; the form that which determines the matter to its
special use or purpose. 1921 J. GALSWORTHY To Let III. x. 288 In the
union of the great-granddaughter..with the heir of a ninth baronet was
the outward and visible sign of that merger of class in class which
buttresses the political stability of a realm. 1931 V. DIXON Sebastian
Wile II. ii. §1 Her governess had said farewell, outward and visible
sign that Martha's days of childish servitude were over. 1938 Doctrine
in Church of England II. 127 The ordinary scholastic use is to employ
the word [sc. sacrament] as meaning the outward and visible sign. 1951
A. POWELL Question of Upbringing iii. 157 Monsieur Dubuisson accepted
the brandy as the outward and visible sign of reconciliation. 1962
WILSON & TEMPLETON Anglican Teaching ix. 180 The Catechism..defines a
Sacrament as ‘an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual
grace..ordained by Christ Himself’.



e. U.S. The trail or trace of wild animals, etc.
Sometimes in pl., but the sing. is the technical use.

1692 Cal. Virginia St. Papers (1875) I. 44 We Ranged about to see if
we could find ye tract of any Indians, but we could not see any fresh
signe. 1746 New Hampsh. Hist. Soc. Coll. (1834) IV. 208 By the sign of
this ambush, and by the sign of their going off, in a single file, it
was supposed there could not be less than 50 or 60 Indians. 1821 J.
FOWLER Jrnl. 3 Nov. (1898) 33 Heare We find the first fresh Sign of
bever. Ibid. 7 Nov. 36 We see old sign of Indeans... We again See the
Sign of White men a Head of us. 1847 G. F. RUXTON Mexico & Rocky Mts.
xxi. 170 On the banks of the river I saw some fresh beaver ‘sign’.
Ibid., We saw Indian sign on the banks of the river. 1851 MAYNE REID
Scalp Hunt. xxxii. 243 Buffalo ‘signs’ appeared as we rode into them.
1890 L. D'OYLE Notches 68 We had noticed bear ‘sign’ in a thick patch o=
f
rose-bushes. Ibid., Lots of fresh ‘sign’, but no bear.



f. Med. An objective evidence or indication of disease (as opposed
to a subjective one, or symptom); often used with the name of one who
associated an indication with a disease characterized by it, to
designate the former.

1842 W. A. GUY Hooper's Physician's Vademecum (new ed.) I. iii. 16 The
word sign has not precisely the same meaning as the term symptom, though
the two terms are sometimes used without much discrimination... Cough,
expectoration, dyspna, hectic fever, night sweats, and emaciation, are
symptoms of pulmonary consumption, but they are not signs, for each of
them may occur in other diseases; but cavernous respiration and
pectoriloquy are signs. Ibid., The term physical sign is in common use
among medical men: it means a sign which is an object of sense. Thus
heat, redness, and swelling are physical signs of inflammation,
pectoriloquy of phthisis, coagulable urine of disease of the kidney.
1851 R. P. COTTON Phthisis & Stethoscope i. 12 Physical signs by
themselves, as a general rule, determine nothing more than physical
conditions..; hence it is, that we require the use of other rules, as
well as a knowledge of the patient's history and general symptoms. Ibid.
ii. 24 Diminished resonance is one of the earliest and most
characteristic signs of phthisis. 1872 W. WILLIAMS Princ. & Pract. Vet.
Surg. xiii. 244 The diagnostic signs of elbow-joint lameness are, first,
the semi-flexed position of the limb..whilst standing still; and the
dropping of the head and anterior parts of the body during action. 1886
J. FINLAYSON Clin. Manual for Study Med. Cases (ed. 2) ii. 51 A pain is
a ‘Symptom’ (subjective); a bulging chest, to which it may be due, is a
‘Sign’ (objective): giddiness is a ‘Symptom’ (subjective); the
staggering resulting from it is a ‘Sign’ (objective). 1908 Practitioner
Jan. 10 We do not obtain ankle clonus, or Babinsky's, or Oppenheim's
sign. 1927 G. W. DEEPING Kitty xv. 193 Mr. St. George had an undoubted
paraplegia. There was definite spasticity of the lower limbs...
Babinski's sign was present. 1956 A. I. LITTLEJOHN tr. D. Wirth's Vet.
Clin. Diagnosis 1 Symptoms in the medical sense are not available to the
veterinary diagnostician, but the substitution of the term ‘symptom’ fo=
r
‘sign’ in veterinary usage is widespread. 1971 S. MAGALINI Dict. Med.
Syndromes 148/1 Dercum's [syndrome]... Symptoms. Prevalent in women 40
to 60 years of age. Pain in part of body where localized accumulation of
fat occurs. Asthenia, headache... Signs. Subcutaneous accumulation of
fat elevated, dry, reddish, or bluish, anesthesia and diminished
cutaneous sensibility. 1974 T. MCGINNIS Well Dog Bk. (1979) 95 Because
your dogs cannot describe their feelings in words, they technically have
no symptoms, only signs which are any objective evidence of disease or
injury you can detect.



8. a. A trace or indication of something; a vestige. Chiefly in
negative phrases.

13.. Seuyn Sag. 2934 (W.), So he traueld monethes thre, And no signe
of hyr kowth he se. 1390 GOWER Conf. III. 315 With the craftes whiche he
couthe, He soghte and fond a signe of lif. c1440 York Myst. xi. 100, I
se ondyr a ful selcouth syght, Wher-of be-for no synge was seene. 1567
ALLEN Def. Priesthood 228 Wherof yet in most Churches ther remaineth a
smal signe, by disciplin geuen [etc.]. c1586 C'TESS PEMBROKE Ps. CXV.
iii, [No] signe of sound their throates can show. 1715 LEONI Palladio's
Archit. (1742) II. 66 The Aqueducts..whose Ruins and Signs are to be
seen on the Road. 1726 SWIFT Gulliver I. i, I..could not discover any
Sign of Houses or Inhabitants. 1795 Ann. Reg., Hist. 109 No signs of
such an intention were perceivable. 1872 BLACK Adv. Phaeton xxx. 407
There is no sign of life in this wild place.



b. A mere semblance of something. Obs.

1607 BRETON A Murmurer Wks. (Grosart) II. 8/2 Oh fine foole, how thou
wouldest haue the signe of a man stand for a man? 1673 DRYDEN Marr.
à-la-Mode II. i, If it be but to punish that sign of a Husband there;
that lazy Matrimony. 1693 CONGREVE Old Bach. III. iii, I would not have
you draw yourself into a premunire, by trusting to that sign of a man
there.



9. An indication of some coming event; spec. an omen or portent.

13.. Cursor M. 22430 (Gött.), Forn domes-dai ai sal be sene, wid
sorful sines ful fijf-tene. 1387 TREVISA Higden (Rolls) II. 165 Soche ey
declare certeynliche by schewynge of tokenes and of synnes [v.r. synes]
at bee in suche a schulder boon. 1513 DOUGLAS Æneid IV. viii, How Dido
send hir sistir Enee to pray, And of the grisly singis did hir affray.
1542 BOORDE Dyetary xl. (1870) 302 That there is lykle [sic] hope of
amendment, but sygnes of deth. 1593 SHAKES. 3 Hen. VI, V. vi. 44 The
Owle shriek'd at thy birth, an euill signe. 1621 T. WILLIAMSON tr.
Goulart's Wise Vieillard 94 The auncient Iewes had this saying, that it
is bonum omen, a good signe to see an old man in a house. 1725 Fam.
Dict. s.v. Clouds, When..waterish Clouds appear on the Tops of Hills, it
is a Sign of Rain to follow. 1793 COWPER Tale 61 Seamen much believe in
signs. 1817 SHELLEY Rev. Islam X. xvi, These signs the coming mischief
did foretell. 1833 TENNYSON May Queen III. x, If it come three times, I
thought, I take it for a sign.



10. a. An act of a miraculous nature, serving to demonstrate divine
power or authority.
In Biblical use, after L. signum, Gr. .

a1300 Cursor M. 13420 is was e formast sign he did. Ibid. 13438 Sli
signe did crist at is bridall. 1382 WYCLIF Acts iv. 22 The man was more
than of fourty eeris, in the which this sygne of heelthe was maad. 1611
BIBLE Acts ii. 43 Many wonders and signes were done by the Apostles.
1665 J. SPENCER Vulg. Proph. 59 But every Sign is not (if we speak
accurately) a Miracle. 1727 DE FOE Syst. Magic I. iii. (1840) 73
Pharaoh, in contempt of Moses and Aaron, and the sign or miracle they
had shown. 1876 MELLOR Priesth. iv. 179 His hearers no sooner caught the
word ‘faith’, than they demanded a sign which might warrant it.



b. A marvel or wonder. Obs.1

a1400-50 Alexander 4934 Sire, ou sall see with i sit slike signes, or
ou passe, As neuire segge vndire son sae bot ine ane.



11. Astr. a. One or other of the twelve equal divisions of the
Zodiac, each distinguished by the name of a constellation and frequently
denoted by a special symbol.

c1340 HAMPOLE Pr. Consc. 4803 e twelfte day aftir, e sternes alle And
e signes fra e heven sal falle. 1390 GOWER Conf. III. 108 Ther ben
signes tuelve, Whiche have her cercles be hemselve Compassed in the
zodiaque. c1430 LYDG. Min. Poems (Percy Soc.) 2 Whan Phebus whas..yronne
Out of the signe, wiche callyd is aquary. 1483 CAXTON Cato evb, The man
whych is borne in a good planette or sygne. 1509 HAWES Past. Pleas.
XXII. (Percy Soc.) 105 He sette..The bodies above to have their moving,
In the xii. signes them selfe to domify. 1555 EDEN Decades (Arb.) 279 At
that tyme the soonne was in the north signes. 1610 HOLLAND Camden's
Brit. (1637) 182 Vnder what Signe in heaven Britaine lieth. a1646 J.
GREGORY Posthuma (1650) 299 Now look what Sign of the twelv shall bee
found to rise up in the Horoscope or Angle of the East, that is the
Sign-Regent of that Hous or Citie. 1709 STEELE Tatler No. 100 § 3, I was
looking..on that Sign in the Heavens which is called by the Name of the
Ballance. 1812 WOODHOUSE Astron. xxix. 289 The motions of Jupiter's
satellites are according to the order of the signs. 1868 LOCKYER Elem.
Astron. §37 These are called the zodiacal constellations (very carefully
to be distinguished..from the signs of the zodiac bearing the same
name).



b. A constellation. Obs. rare.

1398 TREVISA Barth. De P.R. VIII. xxiii. (Bodl. MS), Arcturus is a
signe ymade of vij. sterres. Ibid., Orioun is a signe that ariseth in
wintere. 1490 CAXTON Eneydos xii. 46 The sygne of Oryon. 1565 COOPER
Thesaurus, Orion..was..translated among the sterres, & there is the
signe called in latine Jugula. 1611 COTGR. s.v. Orion.



III. 12. attrib. and Comb., as (sense 1) sign-language (also fig.),
-maker, -speech, -talk; (sense 2c) sign-symbol; (sense 5) sign-mark;
(sense 6) sign-iron, -painter, -writer (WRITER 1b), -writing; (sense 7)
sign-situation, -system, -using vbl. n. and ppl. adj., -word; (sense 11)
sign-carrier.

1653 R. SANDERS Physiogn. 1 A Zodiack..; the Latins call it Signifer,
that is to say, *Sign-carrier.

------------------------------
1778 Phil. Trans. LXIX. 44 On passing through the streets of London in
his walks, before the *sign-irons were taken down. 1836 in Hist.
Chesterfield (1839) 45 Having a sign, sign-iron, sign~post, or
shew-board suspended from or in front of such house.
------------------------------
1847 T. H. GALLANDET in Amer. Ann. Deaf & Dumb I. 59 They originate
from elements of this *sign-language which nature furnishes to man
wherever he is found, whether barbarous or civilized. 1865 TYLOR Early
Hist. Man. ii. 25 The teacher remarked that I did not seem to be quite a
beginner in the sign-language. 1960 S. PLATH Colossus 39
These..sheets..Speak in sign language of a lost other~world. 1981 Amer.
Speech LVI. 130 Sign language is as adequate for the deaf as any
vocal-auditory language is for a hearing person.
------------------------------
1889 MIVART Orig. Hum. Reason 66 Such a movement is a true ‘sign’,
being a movement made depicting a fact with the intention of conveying
to other minds the ideas of the *sign-maker.
------------------------------
1840 BROWNING Sordello IV. 387 The Kaiser's ominous *sign-mark had
first place, The crowned grim twy-necked eagle.
------------------------------
1725 New-Eng. Courant 15 Feb. 1/2, I would oblige every *Sign-Painter
to serve seven Years at College, before he presum'd to handle Pencil or
Paint-Box. 1776 BURNEY Hist. Mus. I. 221 The painter should have had
about the same degree of merit with a good sign-painter in Europe. 1814
SIR R. WILSON Priv. Diary (1862) II. 346 For fear the head should not be
recognised as the saint's, a brown cap is put upon it by the
sign-painter. 1942 Burlington Mag. Jan. 9/1 Ireland takes this sketch as
a proof that Hogarth contemplated setting up as a sign-painter.
------------------------------
1923 OGDEN & RICHARDS Meaning of Meaning i. 15 There may be a very long
chain of *sign-situations intervening between the act and its referent.
1977 Dædalus Fall 105 Literature..though it is..a form of
communication..is cut off from the immediate pragmatic purposes which
simplify other sign situations.
------------------------------
1873 CAYLEY in Messenger Math. II. 17 Theorems in Relation to Certain
*Sign-Symbols.
------------------------------
1924 R. H. BELL Mystery of Words 101 A study of the general principles
of language has brought out the nature of the linguistic *sign-system.
1977 R. H. BROWN in Douglas & Johnson Existential Sociol. ii. 90 These
norms and rules form a sign system that is itself subject to the
feedback of experience.
------------------------------
1897 KIPLING Capt. Cour. 133 How was it my French didn't go, and your
*sign-talk did?
------------------------------
1890 W. JAMES Princ. Psychol. II. xxii. 357 In the human child..these
ruptures of contiguous association are very soon made; far off cases of
*sign-using arise when we make a sign now; and soon language is
launched. 1938 C. W. MORRIS Found. of Theory of Signs i. 1 Men are the
dominant sign-using animals. 1957 C. E. OSGOOD et al. Measurement of
Meaning i. 3 The behavior of the sign-using organism.
------------------------------
1894 N. & Q. 8th Ser. V. 6/1 It is a *sign-word only, not a term of
affinity.
------------------------------
1871 J. CALLINGHAM Sign Writing i. 1 It is curious that the term
‘*sign-writer’ is not to be found in any encyclopædia or dictionary,
ancient or modern... Even Kelly's ponderous ‘Post Office London
Directory’ does not deem the sign-writer worthy of separate enumeration
in its list of trades. 1977 J. MCCLURE Sunday Hangman xiii. 151 A family
of losers trying to find the right words for the signwriter.
------------------------------
1871 J. CALLINGHAM (title) *Sign writing. 1954 ‘J. WYNDHAM’ Jizzle 49
Elmer was a house-painter who doubled in the less spacious art of
sign-writing. 1978 Dumfries & Galloway Standard 21 Oct. 21/2 (Advt.),
All types of signwriting undertaken.
------------------------------

b. Special combs., as sign-behaviour, behaviour that is dependent on
a sign (sense 7); sign bit Computers, a sign digit located in a sequence
of binary digits; sign-design (see quot. 1942); sign digit Computers, a
digit, located in a sequence of digits, whose value depends on the
algebraic sign of the number represented; sign-event, a particular
occurrence of the use of a sign (sense 7); sign-process, the process
whereby a token or indication becomes operative or functions as a sign;
sign stimulus Biol., the component or characteristic of an external
stimulus which is effective in initiating a particular innate
behavioural response in an animal perceiving it, regardless of the
presence or absence of the remainder of the stimulus; sign-vehicle, the
token or indication that acts as a sign.

1946 C. W. MORRIS Signs, Lang. & Behav. i. 7 And goal-seeking
behavior in which signs exercise control may be called sign-behavior.
1964 GOULD & KOLB Dict. Soc. Sci. 641/2 Sigh-behaviour is found in all
levels of animal life.

--------------------------
1962 Gloss. Terms Automatic Data Proc. (B.S.I.) 19 Where the sign digit
is a binary digit it is often known as a sign bit. 1975 T. BARTEE
Introd. Computer Sci. ii. 47 The sign bit is set apart from the
magnitude bits by a . in each word... An alternate technique uses a box
for the sign bit.
--------------------------
1942 R. CARNAP Introd. Semantics §3.5 The word ‘sign’ is ambiguous. =
It
means sometimes a single object or event, sometimes a kind to which many
objects belong. Whenever necessary, we shall use ‘sign-event’ in the
first case, ‘sign-design’ in the second. 1944 Mind LIII. 36 The
sign-design is what is usually meant when we use such words as ‘symbol’=
,
‘word’, ‘sentence’. It is the form or structure common to a set of
actual occurrences (sounds, marks, gestures) whereby they function
symbolically. 1974 M. TAYLOR tr. Metz's Film Lang. iii. 90 Between
wordspure ‘sign events’ as they are called in American semiotics, event=
s
that never occur twice..and language..there is room for the study of
‘sign designs’, sentence patterns.
---------------------------
1947 A. W. BURKS et al. in J. von Neumann Coll. Wks. (1963) V. 46 Our
numbers are 40 digit aggregates, the left-most digit being the sign
digit. 1950 Proc. R. Soc. A. CCII. 574 The first digit is regarded as a
sign digit and a ‘binary point’ supposed to exist before the second
digit. 1969 J. J. SPARKES Transistor Switching viii. 194 The sign digit
is normally ‘o’ for positive numbers.
---------------------------
1942 Sign-event [see sign-design above]. 1973 Screen Spring/Summer 164
Spoken words..are pure ‘sign-events’ incapable of being reproduced twic=
e
over and therefore impossible to study scientifically.
---------------------------
1946 C. W. MORRIS Signs, Lang. & Behav. i. 3 Terms which are commonly
used in describing sign-processes. 1957 C. E. OSGOOD et al. Measurement
of Meaning i. 5 A first step toward a behavioral interpretation of the
sign-process.
---------------------------
1934 E. S. RUSSELL Behaviour of Animals ii. 33 The principle of
representative stimuli, or sign stimuli as we may call them for short,
is illustrated not only in the flight reactions of animals..but even
more clearly in..food-finding behaviour. 1967 A. MANNING Introd. Animal
Behaviour iii. 39 There are many examples of auditory and chemical
sign-stimuli too. Turkey hens which are breeding for the first time will
accept as chicks any object which makes the typical cheeping call. On
the other hand..deaf turkey hens kill most of their chicks because they
never receive the auditory sign-stimulus for parental behaviour. 1975,
1980 Sign stimulus [see RELEASER c].
---------------------------
1938 C. W. MORRIS Found. of Theory of Signs i. 4 In such cases S is the
sign vehicle.., D the designatum, and I the interpretant of the
interpreter. 1955 T. H. PEAR Eng. Soc. Differences i. 33 Status symbols
are sign-vehicles, cues which determine the status to be imputed to a
person.
---------------------------



SIGNIFICS
[f. SIGNIFIC-ANCE, on the analogy of forms in -ics (see -IC 2).
Introduced by Lady Welby in 1896.]

A proposed science and educational method based upon the importance
of realizing the exact significance of terms and conceptions, and their
influence on thought and life.
The terms signific(al adjs., significally adv., and significian n.,
have also been employed.

1896 LADY WELBY in Mind (Jan.) 32 Taking advantage of the child's
endless store of interest and curiosity, it ought to be easy to make
‘Significs’ or ‘Sensifics’ the most attractive of studies. 1903 Ib=
id.
161 Significs, then, will bring us the philosophy of Significance, i.e.
a raising of our whole conception of meaning to a higher and more
efficient level.

==========================
==




------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-22 06:07:43 UTC
Permalink
I'm going to try using Larry Tapper's trick, treating his commentary as
dialogue. (Tapper does it so well; he must have had some stage
experience.) My overlaid interjections in the conversation between
Tapper and Speranza are indicated by "SS>"

JLS (dismayed)> It only illustrates (means-n) how these cases can
confuse one (me on a bad day).

SS (sympathetic, with good reason)> Oh yes. I know that feeling very
well.

SS>I had overlooked Larry Tapper's elegant and persuasive letter of
November 19, 2003 8:48 AM. (Actually, I flagged it with the intention
of reading it later, and for some peculiar reason, OUTLOOK tucked it
away as if, flagged, it was too precious to be seen. It popped up again
today, marked by a nice red flag.) Anyway, here are some comments on
that letter.

LT> I guess the main reason for introducing the N vs. NN distinction in
the first place is simply to recognize that not all common uses of
'mean' involve 'utterer's meaning'. So it may not be of great
consequence if we find some disarray in the notion of N: N may be just a
placeholder for various uses of 'mean' that don't quite fit patterns
such as "U believes, and wants A to believe..."

SS> Well, that does not seem to be Grice's way of looking at it exactly.
As I understand it (subject to correction by JLS), Grice thinks meaNing
is the more fundamental, that "every artificial or noniconic system is
founded upon an antecedent natural iconic system." (The role of
'iconic' in this sentence is unclear; it doesn't seem to mean "imaging,"
since Grice would admit spots as meaNing measles, clouds as meaNing
rain, etc.) The reason for focusing on meaNNing rather than meaNing
seems to be that meaNing doesn't need elucidation; both meaNing and
meaNNing are matters of *consequence*: if x means y, then y is a
consequence of x, but...

Grice> "In "natural" meaning, consequences are states of affairs; in
"nonnatural" meaning, consequences are conceptions or complexes which
involve conceptions. This perhaps suggests that of the two concepts it
is "nonnatural" meaning which is more in need of further
elucidation...On these counts I should look favorably on the idea that
if further analysis should be required for one of the pair the notion of
"nonnatural" meaning would be the first in line. [WOW p. 350]

LT>Sharpless wonders whether Grice's distinction between
natural and non-natural meaning

JLS> Or, as I prefer -- following what I find a happy phrasing by
Wharton's-- the meaNing/meaNNing distinction --

LT>is warranted, since ['meaN'] also seems to be [meaN] to *somebody*

JLS> Well, but then, everything would be -- Bishop-Berkeleywise --
relative:

(4) The frame of that window is violet.

becoming

(5) The frame of that window is violet (to me).

SS>(yelps) Not fair! The cloud doesn't mean "rain-to-me"; the cloud
means "rain" to me. Likewise, taken literally, 'the frame of that window
is violet' means to me that the frame of that window is violet. It
doesn't mean that it is violet-to-me (and might be orange to someone
else). The point is that both meaNing and meaNNing require a putative
interpreter. I do not think this is contrary to Grice's thinking, for
as he says, there are three possible cases which his account of meaNNing
is supposed to cover:

Grice>[Yes indeed. My dear and faithful friend, Speranza, has been too
hard on Sharpless. The three kinds of utterances are:]
(a) Utterances for which the utterer thinks there may (now or later) be
an audience...
(b) Utterances which the utterer knows not to be addressed to any actual
audience, but which the utterer pretends to address to some particular
person or type of person...
(c) Utterances (including "internal" utterances) with respect to which
the utterer neither thinks it possible that there may be an actual
audience nor imagines himself as addressing an audience, but
nevertheless intends his utterance to be such that it would induce a
certain sort of response in a certain perhaps fairly indefinite kind of
audience were it the case that such an audience is present...[WOW, p.
113]

SS>It would appear then that the very idea of meaning is, as Peirce
would have said, triadic: x means y to z, though in the case of
meaNNing, z may be actual, pretended or possible.

LT>hence some sort of belief inducement enters the picture just as it
does for meaning-nn.

JLS> Well, for that matter, you have to be a human being to be able to
_utter_ things like

(3) Smoke means fire.

LT>Yes, though as you (JL) acknowledge, there seems to be more going on
here than the mere fact that it takes an utterer to utter something.

LT>Roughly, I think it works something like this:

-Meaning-nn: U asserts p. A wants to know, what difference does this
make to me? The answer to this question involves both the conventional
decoding of the utterance 'p' and the assessment of any relevant
implicatures.

-Meaning-n: U draws attention to fact X, and declares "X means Y". The
core purpose of doing this is to help A understand why it makes a
difference to A that X is the case.

SS>Yes, that sounds good to me, except that you, LT, seem to assume that
Meaning-n (MeaNing) requires an utterance and an utterer. A sees a dark
cloud and interprets it as meaNing that it will soon rain (no utterance
and no utterer). I think in the case you describe, where an *utterer*
says "That cloud means rain," the utterer is leaving the identity of the
interpreter(s) open, but some potential interpreter is assumed... He is
saying that if someone--an interpreter--forms an expectation of rain on
the basis of seeing that cloud, he will have interpreted it correctly.
He is not saying that that cloud *causes* rain, nor that the rain
*caused* the cloud. Only that forming a belief that it will rain on the
basis of seeing the cloud would be justified. The sight of the cloud
may be so interpreted without danger of forming a false belief or
expectation (interpretation in the broadest sense being the process of
forming a belief on the basis of some experience).

LT>I've wondered also about some related questions, e.g. what is the
range of customary or possible uses of "X means Y", in Grice's [meaN
usage]? May we put for X and Y any old pairs of things or events that
stand in a relation of entailment or constant conjunction, or whatever
it is entitles to say that where there is X, there is Y? e.g.

SS(rudely interrupting)> Well, X can't be absolutely undetectable. A
condition of its "meaNing" something is that it can meaN something to
somebody, for which purpose it must be detectable by somebody. An
absolutely undetectable event can't properly be said to meaN something,
which is further evidence that meaNing is triadic, requiring an
interpreter. A "causes" B, and B "is a consequence of" A are dyadic
relations.

LT>(1) Lots of geese flying south in formation--- that means winter's
coming seems to be a more or less typical case of [meaN] (though I
suppose Speranza's geese, if he has them, might fly _north_).

JLS> Well, I can still utter

(1b) Lots of geese flying south in formation-- that means _summer's_
coming.

(But I am confused).

Hmm, this makes me realize for the first time that all the world's
migrating geese are migrating in the same direction. But for two
different reasons.

LT>However...

(2) Lots of geese flying south in formation ---that means their distance
from the North Pole is increasing. would be an odd thing to say, in
apparent violation of some conversational maxim perhaps. But setting
aside the probable maxim-flouting, what is it, if anything, that
prevents (2) from being a case of [meaN]?

JLS> Nothing. Similarly, one can, I suppose, say:

(2c) If you have two dozen eggs, that means that you have twenty-four
eggs.

JLS> I think a Gricean would accept that _analytic_ necessity can also
be involved in cases of 'meaN'.

LT>Aha, this is just what I was wondering. This then would seem to be
consistent with my rough sketch of what meaning-n is about...

-Meaning-n: U draws attention to fact X, and declares "X means Y". The
core purpose of doing this is to help A understand why it makes a
difference to A that X is the case....because when Y follows from X
analytically, the utterance "X means Y" still has a conversational point
when the inference is not obvious and/or when the upshot of Y is plainer
than the upshot of X. For example:

(2d) Let's see, we sold 17 subscriptions to the Grice Quarterly for 50
USD each, but we spent 2000 USD and had only 1000 in the bank to begin
with --- that means we're broke.

This seems rather far afield from "Those spots mean measles", but
apparently (2d) is in the same category. As you go on to say:

SS> Yes, I would only add that it is of some importance to specify what
the putative sign is: Is it the sight of geese flying south that
"means"..., or the expression 'geese flying south'. It is not clear to
me that an analytic meaning could be other than the meaning of an
expression. Also, we have to be careful about talking about the
"meanings of facts," for as Larry has taught me, "facts" are bizarre
critters that bite the unwary.

JLS> Tapper continues:

LT>It looks to me like (1) and (2) are pretty much equivalent in form;
and in both cases, X and Y stand for contingent facts of some sort.

JLS> Right. In (2c), there is some _analytic_ (or, strictly, necessary)
fact of some sort that is involved, too. And we would still use 'meaN',
I would think.

LT>Also, what distinguishes (1) and (2) from our core example of
meaning-n, (3)?

(3) Those spots meaN measles.

LT>Offhand I don't think it would be a fully satisfactory answer to say
that in (3), X and Y stand for common nouns, while in (1), X and Y stand
for propositional thingies. This is because we can always nominalize X
and Y in (2):

(2b) That flying-south-in-formation means
alienation-from-the-North-Pole.

LT>or for that matter, propositionalize (3)

(3b) The appearance of those spots means that Thelma Lou has measles.

LT>without doing much violence to the sense of either, I don't think.

JLS> Interestingly, Grice does not think so either, as when he writes of
the following as being a paraphrase of the paradigm-case:

(3c) The fact that [Thelma Lou] had those spots [meaNNs] that [she] has
measles (WOW, p. 214)

LT>What I seem to be getting at is the notion that "X means Y" is
typically a kind of elliptical way of stating a _theory_, often a folk
theory like "Red sky at night, sailors' delight". If this so, then
[meaN] might be a misleading way to describe this family of utterances?

SS>Yes, that is not a bad way of putting it, but note, a "theory" may be
thought of as something that permits one to predict certain consequences
from certain observations, that is, if I accept the theory, then for me,
a red sky becomes a *sign* warranting a belief or expectation of things
to come. Theories do tell us how to *interpret* our experiences of the
world around us.

LT>If (2d) ("we're broke") is a good example of meaning-n, then I guess
elliptical reference to a theory would be just one of several common
uses and not necessarily the core use as I had originally supposed.
Though Grice's core examples seem to have this character.

JLS> It _may_ indeed, but I think it is a kind of established usage
already, no?

JLS> Back to the point in my previous post, rather obscurely stated, it
is my belief that 'mean', coming from the Anglo-Saxon 'maenan' (to
opine, cfr. German 'meinen' and English 'mind' as in 'mind your own
business'), certainly makes a reference to a _mental_ (Latin _mens_
cognate with 'mean').

JLS> Therefore, what Grice sees as core example of 'meaN' (e.g. 'Smoke
means fire', 'Those black clouds mean rain', WOW, p. 291) are, strictly,
_metaphorical_ (or derivative, if you wish) usages,

SS> But JL, if I am right in saying that meaning of any kind always
implies a potential interpreter, one who upon experiencing that which is
supposed to have meaning would form a propositional attitude which would
determine what it "means" to him, your examples, 'Smoke means fire' and
'Those black clouds mean rain" DO make reference to a *mental*. By the
way, in this connection, I think you would find Peirce's definition(s)
of 'sign' interesting. The website

http://members.door.net/arisbe/menu/library/rsources/76defs/76defs.htm

contains 76! of his definitions, arranged chronologically.

JLS (continuing)>...and what seems to be the _primary_ (at least from
the etymological standpoint) usage is the use of 'mean' to mean
'intend'.

SS>Well, there are three main entries in the OED, labeled 'I', 'II' and
'III', all with examples dating back to the 12th century or thereabouts.


I: To intend

II. To signify; to convey or carry a meaning, significance, consequence,
etc.

III. To mention.

In sense I, one could say "I mean to become rich." This is not the
sense most relevant to our concerns. In the relevant sense, II, the
definition seems to require a potential interpreter, someone to whom a
meaning may be conveyed or carried. It may (and in the OED's examples
usually does) involve an utterer's intent to convey such a meaning, but
it need not. The sight of a cloud may signify, convey or carry a
meaning, and have significance and consequence, to an observer.

JLS> Interestingly, at least for me, Grice lists this use of 'mean' (=
intend, as in 'I didn't mean to tell you this') as a case of NATURAL
meaning, which is kind of back to Square One:

"I propose, for convenience, ... to include under the head of [meaN]
such [usages] ... as may be exemplified in sentences of the pattern 'A
means _to do_ so-and-so by x', where A is a human agent." Grice, WOW, p.
215.

JLS> The qualification -- "where A is a human agent" -- seems to be a
restriction to things like Searle and Dennett are thinking of when they
say that a _computer_, for example, can _mean_ to print a document.

I wouldn't say that computers have intentions, would you? Though I
confess I wrote a student paper a long time ago defending the notion
that Coke machines have desires.

SS>I shall look upon Coke machines with much interest hereafter.

JLS> (And why can't a _dog_ mean to sleep indoors?).

I would definitely say that a dog meant to catch a squirrel but bumped
into a tree instead.

JLS> In Romance Languages, we just don't have 'mean', which does not
meaN life is therefore simpler...

LT>You mean there is always a divide as in French between 'signifier'
and 'avoir l'intention de..."? Would something like "Humo significa
fuego" make as much sense in Spanish as "Smoke means fire" does in
English then? Or would this be considered an odd usage of 'significar'?

SS (retiring while applauding)>I have nothing further to add to this
really first-rate conversation between Tapper and Speranza. I hope they
will pardon my interjections.

Thanks, Seth






------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-22 15:38:25 UTC
Permalink
I said I hadn't anything more to add to the conversation between Tapper
and Speranza, but I see that I overlooked a Grice quote to which I
should have taken exception:

JLS> Interestingly, at least for me, Grice lists this use of 'mean' (=
intend, as in 'I didn't mean to tell you this') as a case of NATURAL
meaning, which is kind of back to Square One:

"I propose, for convenience, ... to include under the head of [meaN]
such [usages] ... as may be exemplified in sentences of the pattern 'A
means _to do_ so-and-so by x', where A is a human agent." Grice, WOW, p.
215.

SS>I think this was a mistake on Grice's part. 'I mean to bake a pie'
and 'Those spots mean measles' are two distinct senses of mean in the
OED, represented by the two major definitions, "I" and "II":

"I: To intend"

"II. To signify; to convey or carry a meaning, significance,
consequence, etc."

I think both Grice's "meaN" and his "meanNN" should fall under II
notwithstanding that "U meaNNs y by x" is defined by reference to U's
*intention* that A believe y on the grounds that U utters x *intending*
him to believe y (or somesuch).

Call "meaning" in sense I "meanIng." Then, we can reformulate the
definition of 'meanNN' thus:

U meaNNs y by x =df U utters x meanIng that A should believe y on the
grounds that U utters x meanIng him to believe y.

MeanIng doesn't require an A, but both meaNNing and meaNing do require
an A, understood if not specified.

Seth




------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-19 18:16:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Tapper
-----------
Peircean Seth Sharpless suggests instead that the fact of the matter has
to be far _subtler_. It would not be entailment, but implicature --
'conversational' we assume, but it could well be 'conventional'
implicature). We could rephrase the context more or less as:

(3) By uttering (1), the utterer is merely conversationally implicating
-- but surely not putting forward as a matter of strict implication or
entailment -- that p.

-------------<

Peircean? Well, *sometimes* Peircean. Anyway, slight misunderstanding.
I did not claim that in uttering 'those spots mean measles', the utterer
is conversationally implicating that the patient has measles. Rather, I
said that the utterer is implicating that he *believes* that the patient
has measles. I think implicating a belief that p is not necessarily
implicating p. At least, *asserting* that one believes that p is not
implicating p, because, by a conversational maxim, if one were prepared
to assert the stronger proposition, one should not assert a weaker one.

Isn't 'those spots mean measles' a weaker statement than 'she has
measles'? I am working on the hypothesis that "means" is a triadic
relation, and the third member of the triad, the interpreter, may be
understood.


Seth



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-19 18:34:11 UTC
Permalink
Many thanks to Sharpless for providing the OED entries for 'mean', 'signify=
',
'sign', and 'significs'. I note the OED is sceptical (for 'phonological
reasons') about the derivation of _mean_ from an Indo-European word cognate=
with L.
_mens_ and English _mind_. Indeed, they do sound quite differently, if you=

think of it: to utter 'mind' you make more of a vocalic stretch.

On the topic that we are concerned with, which is Grice's paper on 'Meaning=
'
noting two main uses of 'mean', I notice that the uses of 'meaN' and 'meaNN=
'
are just as old, which is just as well, I say. \

In fairness to Aelfred, it seems, and the OED notes this, that (contra Gric=
e)
'meaNN' _predates_ 'meaN' -- for the OED it's the use 'intend' which is the=

most basic and more primitive, though -- and I don't think they have cites =
for
'mean' in prototypical Gricean cases of natural meaning ('Those black cloud=
s
mean rain', or 'Smoke means fire')

The relevant usages -- basically from some nice gems of Old English
'literature' -- I append below for easy reference. Happy reading!

Cheers,

JL

---

From the OED,

"mean"

to signify; to convey or carry a meaning, significance,
consequence, etc.

To indicate or signify (a certain object), or to convey
(a certain sense), when using some word, sentence, significant action,
etc.

Early OE ÆLFRED tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) xxxviii. 118

"Gif he ara nan nyte, onne nat he hwæt he mæn."

OE ÆLFRIC Catholic Homilies: 2nd Ser. (Cambr. Gg.3.28) xiii. 132

"Crist mænde one ecan dea, to am ne becuma, a e his bebodu healda, an=
d a
iudeiscan mændon isne andweardan dea, am ne ætwint nan eorlic mann."

OE ÆLFRIC Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen. (Claud.) xviii. 20

"God a geopenode Abrahame hwæt he mid ære spræce mænde."

-- of a thing [such as a cloud, or a spot, or smoke. JLS], word, or
statement: to have as signification;
to signify, import; to portend. Also with clause as object (often an
indirect question introduced by what).

early OE Metrical Dialogue of Solomon & Saturn (Corpus Cambr. 422) ii. 237

"Saga hwæt ic [sc. a riddle] mæne."

OE ÆLFRIC Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser.(Royal) xii. 277

"Oft gehwa gesih fægere stafas awritene..& nat hwæt hi mæna".


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-20 02:19:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Seth Sharpless
Peircean? Well, *sometimes* Peircean. Anyway, slight misunderstanding.
I [do] not claim that [by] uttering 'Those spots [that Thelma Lou has] mean
measles', [U]
Post by Seth Sharpless
[conversationally implicates] that [Thelma Lou] has measles. Rather, I
said that [U] [implicates] that [U] *believes* that [Thelma Lou]
has measles. [I]mplicating a belief that p is not necessarily
implicating p. At least, *asserting* that one believes that p is not
implicating p, because, by a conversational maxim, if one were prepared
to assert the stronger proposition, one should not assert a weaker one.
Isn't 'those spots mean measles' a weaker statement than 'she has
measles'? I am working on the hypothesis that "means" is a triadic
relation, and the third member of the triad, the interpreter, may be
understood.
Okay. Sorry for the slight misunderstanding. You are right that the
implicature seems to be that U _believes_ (this or that). As Levinson would put it
(e.g. in _Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of Generalised Conversational
Implicature_), _all_ implicature (but then, he likes to generalize) is what he calls
_epistemically_ qualified.
Post by Seth Sharpless
I am working on the hypothesis that _means_ is
a triadic relation.
I like that. It connects, I hope, with Grice's considerations, in the
'Retrospective Epilogue', about _listener_ meaning (WOW, p. 352):

it might be suggested that there is a certain
arbitrariness in my taking relativised meaning
as tantamout to a[n utterer's] meaning something
_by_ an utterance; there are other notions which
might compete for this spot, in particular the
notion of something's meaning something _to_ a
[recipient]."

Note though that Grice immediately goes on to reject the [Peircean] idea of
[recipient] meaning.

I agree that 'meaning' is triadic, though. In symbols, we would have, I
suppose, something like:

M(x, y, z)

Ideally, such a scheme should fit both meaN and meaNN, since, as Grice
suggests in 'Meaning Revisited', 'mean' is really _monoguous_.

The case for "meaNN" would be something like:

M(Humpty Dumpty [by uttering 'glory'], (Alice), _a nice knockdown argument_)

-- i.e. By uttering 'glory', Humpty Dumpty means-nn (to Alice) 'a nice
knock-down argument'.

The case for "meaN":

M(those spots, Doctor, measles)

-- By uttering _themselves_, those pots mean (to the Doctor) _measles_.

I'll see if I can elaborate on this at a later stage. (Yours is a very
reasonable and clear idea. Only I may like to _complicate_ things? :-)).

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-22 14:55:42 UTC
Permalink
Thanks to Sharpless for his comments. S. Sharpless quotes my
but then, everything would be -- Bishop-Berkeleywise --
relative:
The frame of that window is violet.
becoming
The frame of that window is violet (to me).
and writes:
Not fair! The cloud doesn't mean "rain-to-me"; the cloud
means "rain" to me. Likewise, taken literally, 'the frame of that window
is violet' means to me that the frame of that window is violet. It
doesn't mean that it is violet-to-me (and might be orange to someone
else). The point is that both meaNing and meaNNing require a putative
interpreter.
Well, I grant that my choice of colour [sic] words was kind of unfortunate,
since their meaning is dependent on perception (since they signify _qualia_.)
Unfortunately, _size_ (or temperature) words seem just as relative, "That door
is too big" -- By saying 'That door is too big', U means-nn that that door is
too big (to U). (Ditto, 'This tea is too hot'). But back to "natural"
'meaning', and I am indebted to discussion with Tim Wharton here:

"If we take entailment to be defined as 'A entails B if B is true
whenever
A is true', then [it is difficult to] see how one can disagree with
Grice.
Whenever it's true to say

'Those spots meanN measles',

then we must be talking about a case of measles. If little Johnie has
chickenpox,
for example, then those spots *didn't* mean measles after all."

Wharton has an interesting extended two-paragraph footnote on this in his
_Mind and Language_ paper, where he expands on the factivity issues for the
meaNing/meaNNing distinction -- including utterer's meaning:

"I originally found aspects of Grice's notion of factivity puzzling. It
seemed to me that while black clouds certainly indicate a high probability of rain,
they certainly don't _entail_ rain. It might _not_ rain, for example, or what
those black clouds might actually mean is that there has been an explosion at
the oil refinery (or something). I think one way of understanding what Grice
is getting at is to see the example sentences he uses as examples of
utterances in which it is _true_ to sa that 'x means p'. It is clear, for example, that
whenU's utterance of

'Those black clouds mean rain'

is _true_,, then it will indeed _always_ be the case that it rains (hence the
entailment), since if it doesn't rain, then an audience might (quite
legitimately) respond, 'Well, it looks like those black clouds _didn't mean_ rain
after all'. The issue of speaker commitment runs parallel to this; so if A remarks
to B

'That hissing sound means that there is a snake under the table',

she cannot reasonably add, 'bud don't worry, I don't believe there's a snake
under the table', since by her use of the _natural_ sense [sic] of 'mean' it
is also _entailed_ that he holds that belief. (This ties exatly with Grice's
comments, 1989, p. 213). Of course, what that hissing sound might _actually_
mean is that there is a gas leak in the pipe immediately underneath the table,
but that does not affect A's commitment to the _belief_ that there is a snake
there, even though (parallel to the black clouds example), if there _isn't_ a
snake under the table, it is no longer _true_ to say 'That hissing sound means
that there is snake under the table'."
"Compare this with a scenario in which U asks A what B meant by the
remark 'Il y a un serpent sous la table', to which A replies,

'That remark ['Il y a un serpent sous la table']
means there is a nake under the table.'

Here A can say this entirely independently of whether or not she believes
that there is a snake under the table, and regardless of whether there actually
is a snake under the table or not, the remark will still _mean_ (or have meant)
the same thing (and A will still mean or have meant the same thing by her
utterance of it). In cases of meaning-NN, then, a true utterance of 'x means p'
does not entail either the speaker's commitment to p, or p itself. This example
uses a case of linguistic (timeless) meaning, but I think the same point can
be made with instances of _speaker_ meaning, though I admit that here things
become slightly less clear. For if U says to A, 'You'd be mad to go out without
your umbrella' (S1) and by uttering S1 U means that it's going to rain, there
is a sense in which it could be said that U commits herself to that belief
(that it's going to rain). (I think this is one of the reasons why I hae seen
people equate -- I believe mistakenly -- speaker meaning with _natural_ meaning.
Robyn Carston (p.c.) has confirmed me that she has also come across this
view). But it _cannot_ be the case that they are co-extensive: firstly, A's
utterance only means-NN what it does in virtue of the _intentions_ behind the
utterance; secondly, and more importantly, even if it doesn't rain, A's remark
_still_ meant that it was going to rain (or, rather, A meant that it was going to
rain by her utterance of S1). As I mentioned above, if A utters 'Those black
clouds mean rain', and it _doesn't_ rain, then those black clouds _didn't mean
rain after all_." (emphasis Wharton's). (p. 450n5).
Tim Wharton, 'Natural Pragmatics and Natural Codes', Mind and
Language, Vol. 18, No. 5, Nov. 2003, pp. 447-77.

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-22 21:57:36 UTC
Permalink
I wish to thank JL Speranza for his 11/22/7:55AM post Re: Implicature
and Entailment in Natural Meaning, including the remarks of Tim Wharton
concerning natural meaning. There are several points where I might
disagree with Wharton and presumably, therefore, with Speranza as well.
--Wharton-------
"If we take entailment to be defined as 'A entails B if B is true
whenever A is true', then [it is difficult to] see how one can disagree
with Grice.
Whenever it's true to say

'Those spots meanN measles',

then we must be talking about a case of measles. If little Johnnie has
chicken pox, for example, then those spots *didn't* mean measles after
all."

-------------<

That sounds very persuasive, but let us reconsider Grice's comments in
---Grice----------
Consider the following sentence:

[1] "Those spots mean (meant) measles."

[2] "Those spots didn't mean anything to me, but to the doctor they
meant measles.

[3] "The recent budget means that we shall have a hard year."

...I cannot say, "Those spots mean measles, but he hadn't got
measles," and I cannot say, "The recent budget means that we shall have
a hard year, but we shan't have." That is to say, in cases like the
above, *x meant that p* and *x means that p* entail *p*.

-------------------<

Now, we discussed this before and I thought we came to agreement that
with respect to (2), Grice's claim is counterintuitive--wrong. To
repeat the earlier example, it would not be odd or unreasonable to say:

"To the Shaman, those spots meant possession by an evil spirit, to Dr.
J., they meant measles, but as it turned out, they were due to chicken
pox."

Or: "To the doctor they meant measles, but he was wrong; Little Timothy
had chicken pox."

I am going to assume that you will grant me this; (2) is NOT factive.
(1) and (3) do *appear* to be factive.

OK, we have two choices, either we say that there are two senses of
'means' here, a factive and a non-factive sense, or we have to account
for the apparent factivity of (1) and (3) in some other way.

But it is, as I suggested before, easy to account for the apparent
factivity of (1) and (3). When U says flatly 'those spots mean
measles', leaving the person to whom they are supposed to "mean"
something unspecified, there is a conversational implicature that those
spots mean measles to U. If U had said, 'those spots mean measles to Dr
J.," it would not follow that that they meant measles to U, and it would
not follow that the patient had measles, only that Dr.J *thought* he had
measles.

Now, if by leaving the interpreter unspecified, U implicates that the
spots mean measles to *him*, U, then it would be inappropriate for U to
say in the next breath: "But little Johnny doesn't have measles." It
would be equivalent to saying "I believe p but not-p."

So the choice is a simple one: Either we treat (1) and (2) above as
different senses of 'mean', or we recognize that the apparent
"factivity" of (1) is the result of a conversational implicature. Which
will it be?

I'm going to assume hereafter that the reader prefers the explanation in
terms of conversational implicatures. It is an especially satisfactory
explanation, because it allows the recognition that meaning is a triadic
relation, unlike "causing" and "entailing," which are dyadic relations.
x means y to z. When an utterer drops the z, he leaves it to his
auditors to fill in the blank, but the implicature is that it can be
filled in with the name of the utterer at least.
----Wharton:---------
...if A remarks to B

'That hissing sound means that there is a snake
under the table'

she cannot reasonably add, 'but don't worry, I don't believe there's a
snake under the table', since by her use of the _natural_ sense [sic] of
'mean' it is also entailed that [s]he holds that belief.

-----------------------<

The only thing I object to here is the word 'entailed'. I would say
'implicated'. There is a conversational implicature that A would not
have made that remark unless A believed that there's a snake under the
table. But nothing in the remark, literally interpreted, *entails* that
A believes there is a snake under the table. In fact, nothing in the
remark *entails* that she believes what she says.

A's remark does not entail that A *believes* there is a snake under the
table, but does it entail that there is in fact a snake under the table?
It certainly seems to, but consider:

Suppose B looks, and seeing no snake, says to A: "You told an untruth!
There is no snake there, so the hissing sound clearly didn't mean that
there is a snake there." She could well retort: "Well, it meant that to
me. Are you saying that the hissing sound didn't mean *snake* to me?"
Now, they are at an impasse, owing to an ambiguity created by a virtual
free variable, x, in 'A means p to x'.

My point again is that 'means' is a triadic relation and the failure to
recognize that generates all kinds of puzzles and ambiguities. They are
easily disposed of once the triadicity is conceded.

Seth



------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-22 15:08:14 UTC
Permalink
S. Sharpless quotes Tapper
You mean there is always a divide as in French between 'signifier'
and 'avoir l'intention de..."? Would something like "Humo significa
fuego" make as much sense in Spanish as "Smoke means fire" does in
English then? Or would this be considered an odd usage of 'significar'?
and writes:
SS (retiring while applauding)>I have nothing further to add to this
really first-rate conversation between Tapper and Speranza. I hope they
will pardon my interjections.
It was a pleasure, and you certainly rose some interesting issues to which I
hope to respond in due time.

Back to 'significar' (as per the passage Sharpless quotes above), and what I
thought was the unavailability of a cognate of 'mean' in the Romance
languages, I did later mention 'mentar' (and, now, indeed 'mentionar' -- cf. uses of
'mean' to mean 'mention').

For some reason, though, the standard word in Spanish for _lie_ is 'mentira',
which seems to be a derivation on _mentare_? Thus, a "mentiroso" would be a
systematic _liar_. Etymologically, I would venture the reason is to refer to
someone who means a lot of things (but fails to _say_ any them?) -- or who
_means_ things that just _not_ happen to _be_? (God knows why the Romance
languagers identified _lying_ with _meaning_ like that, but it gives pragmatics a kind
of _deceptive_ ring to it, much against Grice's spirit in what he calls the
'anti-deception clause' (WOW, p. 114 -- Clause III -- and cfr. WOW, p. 302 for
the 'anti-sneaky intention').

(And then, too, a caveat: the OED, as per the definition Sharpless provided
-- etymological notice therein -- is indeed sceptical that there is a cognate
link between 'mean' and 'mind', and I would then think that 'mentar' is more
cognate to 'mind' than to 'mean').

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-22 23:15:06 UTC
Permalink
Thanks to Sharpless for his comments. He refers to the triad of Grice's
examples of what Grice calls a 'natural' "sense" [sic] of 'mean', viz.":

1. Those spots mean measles.
2. Those spots didn't mean anything to me,
but to the doctor they meant measles.
3. The recent budget means that we shall have a hard year.
WOW, p. 213

and writes:

"I am going to assume that you will grant me this; (2)
is _not_ factive. (1) and (3) do *appear* to be factive.
[W]e have two choices, either we say that there are
two senses of 'mean' here, a factive and a non-factive
sense, or we have to account for the apparent factivity
of (1) and (3) in some ... way. But it is ... easy
to account for the _apparent_ factivity of (1) and (3).

Perhaps we have _three_ choices?

As I understand Wharton's take on Grice, it is like comparing 'mean' with
'know' -- which, most people agree, is, in its 'linguistic' usage (as opposed to
what L. Horn would call a 'metalinguistic' usage), a factive. Consider, once
more, a _part_ of Grice's (2), with which Sharpless is concerned: the
_relativisation_ of natural meaning:

(2b) To the doctor, those spots mean measles.

Disgression: It is, perhaps, interesting that Grice has the spots as

"[not] mean anything"

to the utterer, rather than, say,

'mean[ing] chicken pox'.

It is as if the utterer is _refraining_ from putting forward what could well
turn out to be a medical falsehood? (cf. the conversational maxim, 'Do not say
what you believe to be false').

Now, as Sharpless indicates, (2) is in a sort of _oratio obliqua_ of (2).
That is, we can imagine the doctor being the utterer of (1) -- adding, perhaps a
redundant preface,

(2e) To me, those spots mean measles

which would, in my view, undermine the doctor's medical credibility -- as
Sharpless says, 'why assert the weaker when you can assert the stronger?').

Heart of the Matter:

Now, if it is discovered that the spots are _not_ a sign of measles we say
the doctor was _wrong_. It is here where the analogy with _know_ seems to fit:

(4) The earth is flat
(5) "I know the earth is flat"
as uttered by Bede

So, to Grice's rephrase, when Grice says, rather authoritatively,

"we cannot say (6)

(6) Those spots meant measles,
but he hadn't got measles'

(WOW, p. 212)

perhaps he's suggesting that, in a more careful language (?), (6) should be
paraphrased as

(7) I _thought_ those spots [on little Tim] meant measles,
but as it turned out, they did not

-- implicating that he had not got measles (i.e. ~p, in the counterfactive p
-> q).

But I'm sure problems remain? -- Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-22 23:31:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by J***@aol.com
when Grice says, rather authoritatively,
"we cannot say (6)
(6) Those spots meant measles,
but he hadn't got measles'
(WOW, p. 212)
I note that what Grice actually writes is:

"_I_ cannot say [...]"

-- i.e. 'we' seems a rather strong thing for me to have written -- and
criticising Grice as authorative to boot -- when we have Seth Sharpless as _being
able_ [*canning] to say (6) -- and with a straight face, perhaps, too. (:-)).

Perhaps Grice is thinking of 'mean' (in its 'natural sense' [sic]) when he
speaks of the conceptual analyses of idiosyncratic usages in WOW (p. 175):

"My philosophical puzzles have arisen in connection with _my_
use of [expression] E, and my conceptual analysis will be of
value _to me_ (and to any others who may find that their use
of [expression] E coincides with mine)."

Talk of parochialism!

-- Cheers,

JL
"What d'you mean, 'mean''?

PS. Incidentally, Schiffer has a new book on _Meaning_ out with OUP (his
third book on meaning, after _Meaning_ and _Remnants of Meaning_).


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-23 19:03:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Seth Sharpless
There are several points where I might
disagree with Wharton [in 'Natural pragmatics and
natural codes', Mind and Language, Nov. 2003] and presumably,
therefore, with Speranza as well.
One source of disagreement, we see, is Grice's [three] examples of meaNing:
two of well-formedness, one of ill-formedness (the "*" of linguistic theory
stands for Grice's "I cannot say"), to wit:

(1) Those spots mean (meant) measles."
(2) Those spots didn't mean anything to me,
but to the doctor they meant measles.
(3) *Those spots mean measles,
but he hadn't got measles

In a previous post, in an attempt to simplify the logical form of the
negative-polarity item "_anything_" (as used in (2)) accompanied by the negative sign
as attached to the verb ("did_n't_") I proposed a rephrase using 'nothing':

(2') Those spots meant nothing to me _and_ meant
measles to the doctor.

However, that solves little, and there seems, indeed, to be an inconsistency
between (2) -- or (2') for that matter -- and (3). It's like saying, that, in
(2), someone -- either the doctor or the utterer -- must be _wrong_. I thought
to minimise the inconsistency by contrasting (2') with some specific
hypothesis as to what those spots could mean:

(2") Those spots meant chicken pox to me and
measles to the doctor.

-- i.e. by saying 'nothing', we could conceive the situation:

(2"') The spots meant, as the doctor had said, measles -- but measles is ,
well, and strictly, nothing, to me, as compared to some other
serious disease -- such as chicken pox.

-- but that cannot be what Grice had [has] in mind.

A matter of tense?

It could be said that the alleged _factiveness_ -- that's the label Grice
uses, WOW, p. 291 -- is weakened by the use of the past tense of 'mean' in (1)
and (2) but _present_ tense in (3), -- and that it is the use of the present
tense that brings the element of "*"-ness to (3), but I don't think that is the
case, since factiveness (as in 'know') is supposed to hold across tenses, and

(3') *Those spots meant measles,
but he hadn't got measles.

sounds just as odd, one supposes.

Grice's "presumption":

It is interesting, however, that Grice seems careful as to the qualification
of the status of factiveness -- as defined in terms of entailment rather than
implicature ---:

"The tests were ... that the natural cases
are factive. That is, anyone who says
'Those black clouds mean rain', or
'Those black clouds MEANT that it would
rain, would PRESUMABLY be committing
himself to its being the case that it will
rain, or that it did rain."
'Meaning Revisited', WOW, p. 291

Grice's 'presumably' seems, perhaps, to be intended to cover cases like the
intuitions of Sharpless, who is not at all unconfortable with Grice's *(3) --
or my *(3') for that matter.

Cheers,

JL




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-24 03:13:35 UTC
Permalink
We are considering Grice's contention that

(1) Those spots mean measles.

is factive, entailing that the patient has measles. Grice stated (WOW
213)that it is factive, noting that one cannot say:

(*1)Those spots mean measles, but he hasn't got measles

(I am using the present tense 'means', as the one in which the case for
"factivity" seems strongest.) Speranza has inferred from my posts that
I am "not at all uncomfortable" with (*1).

At the risk of becoming repetitious, I reply:
Well, that is bit strong. (*1) would be an odd thing to say, which, if
taken out of context, would require explanation. My contention is that
the "factivity" of (1) is an illusion created by a cancelable
implicature. That is, the statement doesn't *entail* that the patient
has measles, but there is a cancelable implicature that the utterer
believes that the patient has measles. In this case, the second clause
cancels the implicature of the first.

It is not difficult to imagine a context in which (*1) would be
reasonable:

Little Timothy has been brought to the doctor's office owing to a rash
and other complaints. The nurse, recognizing the symptoms, immediately
sent Timothy to the lab for a blood test, one which (we assume) reliably
reveals measles by the presence of antibodies. When Timothy comes in to
see the doctor, the doctor has the lab report in hand, and says to the
mother, pointing to the spots:

"Those spots mean measles,..."

and then holding out the lab report,

......."but Timothy doesn't have measles."

Thus he cancels the implicature of the first clause, that he believes
Timothy has measles, by citing the lab report definitively proving that
Timothy does not have measles.

In the first clause, the doctor is simply saying how those symptoms
would ordinarily be interpreted, by himself and other doctors, as a sign
of measles; that is, doctors seeing such symptoms with no evidence to
the contrary would ordinarily form the belief that the patient has
measles, and forming such a belief *is* a process of "interpretation,"
by virtue of which a sign has meaning to its interpreter. The first
clause does not say or entail "Timothy has measles," only that seeing
the spots (in the absence of proof to the contrary) would cause a doctor
to come to that belief.

If the doctor said "Those spots mean measles" without qualification, an
auditor would have every right to infer that the doctor himself believes
the patient has measles, though the doctor didn't *say* that exactly; he
could have added, as an afterthought, "in the profession," or "to most
doctors," or, "in the absence of other signs," etc.

In short, Speranza is correct in inferring that I don't believe that "x
means y" *entails* y, because there is a missing term: "x means y to
*z*," which allows for defeasibility (unless, of course, z = God).

Yrs,
Seth





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Larry Tapper
2003-11-24 15:10:16 UTC
Permalink
One brief comment on our case of the measles...

To my ear, in the case of Little Timothy, the most natural thing for
the doctor to say would not be

(*1) Those spots mean measles, but he hasn't got measles.

but rather

(**1) Those spots normally mean measles, but he hasn't got measles.

In fact I'd be inclined to take (*1) to be a sort of joke or tease
rather than a cancellation of an implicature. Just to alarm Tim's mom
for a moment, perhaps.


So I think Seth has it right when he says...

SKS> If the doctor said "Those spots mean measles" without
qualification, an auditor would have every right to infer that the
doctor himself believes the patient has measles, though the doctor
didn't *say* that exactly; he could have added, as an
afterthought, "in the profession," or "to most doctors," or, "in the
absence of other signs," etc.

...but I have some doubt that the auditor's inference is really
cancellable in this case.

Consider another example that Speranza accepted as a case of meaning-
n:

(2) The state of the Grice Quarterly balance sheet means we're broke.

(*2) The state of the balance sheet means we're broke, but actually
we aren't.

(**2) The state of the Grice Quarterly balance sheet would normally
mean we're broke, but actually we aren't.

Here too (*2) would seem deviant or jocular to me, while (**2) would
seem like the normal thing to say.

Larry





----------------Seth Sharpless Sunday post------------------------
We are considering Grice's contention that

(1) Those spots mean measles.

is factive, entailing that the patient has measles. Grice stated (WOW
213)that it is factive, noting that one cannot say:

(*1)Those spots mean measles, but he hasn't got measles

(I am using the present tense 'means', as the one in which the case
for
"factivity" seems strongest.) Speranza has inferred from my posts that
I am "not at all uncomfortable" with (*1).

At the risk of becoming repetitious, I reply:
Well, that is bit strong. (*1) would be an odd thing to say, which, if
taken out of context, would require explanation. My contention is that
the "factivity" of (1) is an illusion created by a cancelable
implicature. That is, the statement doesn't *entail* that the patient
has measles, but there is a cancelable implicature that the utterer
believes that the patient has measles. In this case, the second clause
cancels the implicature of the first.

It is not difficult to imagine a context in which (*1) would be
reasonable:

Little Timothy has been brought to the doctor's office owing to a rash
and other complaints. The nurse, recognizing the symptoms, immediately
sent Timothy to the lab for a blood test, one which (we assume)
reliably
reveals measles by the presence of antibodies. When Timothy comes in
to
see the doctor, the doctor has the lab report in hand, and says to the
mother, pointing to the spots:

"Those spots mean measles,..."

and then holding out the lab report,

......."but Timothy doesn't have measles."

Thus he cancels the implicature of the first clause, that he believes
Timothy has measles, by citing the lab report definitively proving
that
Timothy does not have measles.

In the first clause, the doctor is simply saying how those symptoms
would ordinarily be interpreted, by himself and other doctors, as a
sign
of measles; that is, doctors seeing such symptoms with no evidence to
the contrary would ordinarily form the belief that the patient has
measles, and forming such a belief *is* a process of "interpretation,"
by virtue of which a sign has meaning to its interpreter. The first
clause does not say or entail "Timothy has measles," only that seeing
the spots (in the absence of proof to the contrary) would cause a
doctor
to come to that belief.

If the doctor said "Those spots mean measles" without qualification,
an auditor would have every right to infer that the doctor himself
believes the patient has measles, though the doctor didn't *say* that
exactly; he could have added, as an afterthought, "in the
profession," or "to most doctors," or, "in the absence of other
signs," etc.

In short, Speranza is correct in inferring that I don't believe
that "x
means y" *entails* y, because there is a missing term: "x means y to
*z*," which allows for defeasibility (unless, of course, z = God).

-----------------------------------------------------------------




------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-24 12:58:02 UTC
Permalink
Thanks to Sharpless for his detailed explanation. He writes:
In short, Speranza is correct in inferring that I don't believe that "x
means y" *entails* y, because there is a missing term: "x means y to
*z*," which allows for defeasibility (unless, of course, z = God).
I'm not sure how serious the appeal to God is here -- for surely some
[Zoroastric] religions allow for God to be pretty unreliable?

In any case, I wonder if the Berkeleyan "z = God" (cf. 'esse = percipi [incl.
by God]) could be replaced, less theologically, by the almost Kripkean

"z = every possible interpreter
in every possible world".

That also would seem to block defeasiblity. Thus, on Grice's very first
example

(1) Those spots mean measles.

'entailing' that Tim has measles, the 'factivity' -- as Sharpless sees it --
could be 'explained' by the fact that (1) becomes

(1') For every possible interpreter,
in every possible world,
those spots mean measles.

I.e. the utterer is claiming that there is no way such that _anyone_ would
put forward _any_ belief other than that Tim has measles.

'meaN' would still constitute a _triadic_ relation, granted, but one in which
one of the 'arguments' could be made superfluous in the utterance by the fact
that it's extended to cover the _universal_ scope of all possible
interpreters.

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-24 13:15:11 UTC
Permalink
Thanks to S. Sharpless for his comments. He writes:

---
Little Timothy has been brought to the doctor's office owing to a rash
and other complaints. The nurse, recognizing the symptoms, immediately
sent Timothy to the lab for a blood test, one which (we assume) reliably
reveals measles by the presence of antibodies. When Timothy comes in to
see the doctor, the doctor has the lab report in hand, and says to the
mother, pointing to the spots:

"Those spots mean measles,..."

and then holding out the lab report,

"... but Timothy doesn't have measles."

Thus he cancels the implicature of the first clause, that he believes
Timothy has measles, by citing the lab report definitively proving that
Timothy does not have measles.
---

Buf if the presence of antibodies meaN that Tim _has_ measles, how come the
doctor say -- with a straight face -- that Tim does not have measles? I'm
confused. Is the doctor meaning that Tim is _out of danger_ now the problem has
been identified? But then, what the doctor has done is 'meaNNing' that Tim will
get rid of the measles soon, via what he thinks is an effective treatment. --
We still have the spots meaNing (to any knowledgeable interpreter) measles,
which Timothy has.

As to Sharpless's idea that there is a defeasible conversational implicature
involved here to the effect of _expressing_ a belief, I am reminded of Grice's
caveat with Moore's "paradox":

"When I speak of the assumptions required in order
to maintain the supposition that the Cooperative Principle
and maxims are being observed on a given occasion,
I am thinking of assumptions that are NONTRIVIALLY
REQUIRED; I do not include, for example, an assumption
to the effect that some particular maxim is being observed,
or is thought of by the speaker as being observed. This
seemingly natural [not to Sharpless, Leech, Harnish,
et al. *JLS] restriction has an interesting consequence
with regard to Moore's "paradox". On my account, it
will not be true that when I say that p, I conversationally
implicate that I believe that p.' [*: Harnish calls them
'direct implicatures', Leech, following Grice's idiom,
calls them 'trivial']. (WOW, p. 42)

Now, replacing 'p' with 'x means y' it would be as though Grice is saying,
"on my account, it will not be true that when I say that x means y, I
conversationally implicate that I believe that x means y" -- which seems precisely the
antithesis of Sharpless's account?

Cheers,

JL
not meaNNing to be thick.



Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-24 14:32:58 UTC
Permalink
Sorry, JL. The test looks for antibodies to measles and reliably
reveals measles if the patient is infected. The assumption was that the
test was negative in Timothy’s case; no antibodies and therefore no
measles.

Seth

-----Original Message-----
From: ***@aol.com [mailto:***@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 6:15 AM
To: ***@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [analytic] Implicature and Entailment in Natural Meaning

Thanks to S. Sharpless for his comments. He writes:

---
Little Timothy has been brought to the doctor's office owing to a rash
and other complaints. The nurse, recognizing the symptoms, immediately
sent Timothy to the lab for a blood test, one which (we assume) reliably
reveals measles by the presence of antibodies. When Timothy comes in to
see the doctor, the doctor has the lab report in hand, and says to the
mother, pointing to the spots:

"Those spots mean measles,..."

and then holding out the lab report,

"... but Timothy doesn't have measles."

Thus he cancels the implicature of the first clause, that he believes
Timothy has measles, by citing the lab report definitively proving that
Timothy does not have measles.
---

Buf if the presence of antibodies meaN that Tim _has_ measles, how come
the
doctor say -- with a straight face -- that Tim does not have measles?
I'm
confused. Is the doctor meaning that Tim is _out of danger_ now the
problem has
been identified? But then, what the doctor has done is 'meaNNing' that
Tim will
get rid of the measles soon, via what he thinks is an effective
treatment. --
We still have the spots meaNing (to any knowledgeable interpreter)
measles,
which Timothy has.

As to Sharpless's idea that there is a defeasible conversational
implicature
involved here to the effect of _expressing_ a belief, I am reminded of
Grice's
caveat with Moore's "paradox":

"When I speak of the assumptions required in order
to maintain the supposition that the Cooperative Principle
and maxims are being observed on a given occasion,
I am thinking of assumptions that are NONTRIVIALLY
REQUIRED; I do not include, for example, an assumption
to the effect that some particular maxim is being observed,
or is thought of by the speaker as being observed. This
seemingly natural [not to Sharpless, Leech, Harnish,
et al. *JLS] restriction has an interesting consequence
with regard to Moore's "paradox". On my account, it
will not be true that when I say that p, I conversationally
implicate that I believe that p.' [*: Harnish calls them
'direct implicatures', Leech, following Grice's idiom,
calls them 'trivial']. (WOW, p. 42)

Now, replacing 'p' with 'x means y' it would be as though Grice is
saying,
"on my account, it will not be true that when I say that x means y, I
conversationally implicate that I believe that x means y" -- which seems
precisely the
antithesis of Sharpless's account?

Cheers,

JL
not meaNNing to be thick.



Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





Yahoo! Groups Sponsor


<http://rd.yahoo.com/SIG=12c87d3om/M=259395.3614674.4902533.1261774/D=eg
roupweb/S=1705016061:HM/EXP=1069766106/A=1524963/R=0/*http:/hits.411web.
com/cgi-bin/autoredir?camp=556&lineid=3614674∝=egroupweb&pos=HM>


<http://us.adserver.yahoo.com/l?M=259395.3614674.4902533.1261774/D=egrou
pmail/S=:HM/A=1524963/rand=995247887>

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo!
<http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> Terms of Service.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-24 13:45:42 UTC
Permalink
By uttering "x meaN p", is it the case that U _implicates_ [that U believes
that] p (as Sharpless suggest), rather than gets "p" straight via factivity and
_entailment_, as Grice suggests?

Correction. I cited Grice:
"When I speak of the assumptions required in order
to maintain the supposition that the Cooperative Principle
and maxims are being observed on a given occasion,
I am thinking of assumptions that are NONTRIVIALLY
REQUIRED; I do not include, for example, an assumption
to the effect that some particular maxim is being observed,
or is thought of by the speaker as being observed. This
seemingly natural [not to Sharpless, Leech, Harnish,
et al. *JLS] restriction has an interesting consequence
with regard to Moore's "paradox". On my account, it
will not be true that when I say that p, I conversationally
implicate that I believe that p.' [*: Harnish calls them
'direct implicatures', Leech, following Grice's idiom,
calls them 'trivial']. (WOW, p. 42)

and wrote:
Now, replacing 'p' with 'x means y' it would be as though Grice is saying,
"on my account, it will not be true that when I say that x means y, I
conversationally implicate that I believe that x means y" -- which seems
precisely the
antithesis of Sharpless's account?
-----

This is, in fact, _not_ Sharpless's position. Rather, if we symbolize 'mean'
by 'm'

"x m p"

then, that, by uttering "x m p", the implicature would _not_ be (again, on
Sharpless's account) that U believes "x m p" (which would be, as Grice says in
the quote above, 'trivial'), but, that U believes "p" _simpliciter_.

Therefore, Grice's comment on Moore's "paradox" seem much less relevant at
this point. I wonder if other cases with other three-place factive holders (such
as "x = y to z", or "... knows x to be y") could be given?

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-24 15:21:30 UTC
Permalink
Sharpless provides a narrative
Post by Seth Sharpless
Little Timothy has been brought to the doctor's office owing to a rash
and other complaints. The nurse, recognizing the symptoms, immediately
sent Timothy to the lab for a blood test, one which (we assume) reliably
reveals measles by the presence of antibodies. When Timothy comes in to
see the doctor, the doctor has the lab report in hand, and says to the
"Those spots mean measles,..."
and then holding out the lab report,
"... but Timothy doesn't have measles."
Thus he cancels the implicature of the first clause, that he believes
Timothy has measles, by citing the lab report definitively proving that
Timothy does not have measles.
Noting I was having some problems getting what he meant-nn, Shaprless
Post by Seth Sharpless
The test looks for antibodies to measles and reliably
reveals measles if the patient is infected. The assumption was that the
test was negative in Timothy’s case; no antibodies and therefore n=
o
Post by Seth Sharpless
measles.
Okay. So, Sharpless is proposing this little medical narrative -- to which =
I
Post by Seth Sharpless
Little Timothy has been brought to the doctor's office owing to a rash
and other complaints. The nurse, recognizing the symptoms,
----- Note that 'recognize' is, to many, _factive_. I cannot recognize that=

she is a good singer, unless she _is_ a good singer. This is because
'recognize' is formed out of 're-' and 'cognize', which is "know". Admitted=
ly, some use
'recognize' more loosely. :-)
Post by Seth Sharpless
immediately
sent Timothy to the lab for a blood test, one which (we assume) reliably
reveals measles by the presence of antibodies.
---- Okay. Sharpless is, silly me I did not notice on first using -- using=

the atemporal present tense here -- as per meaning "a test which is standar=
dly
set to _reveal_ measles" -- and _not_, as I read on first reading, a sort =
of
past tense: "a test which [in this particular case] DID REVEAL measles".
Post by Seth Sharpless
When Timothy comes in to
see the doctor, the doctor has the lab report in hand,
----- which, as Sharpless explains, is a _negative_ test (no measles, but
spots).
Post by Seth Sharpless
and says to the
"Those spots mean measles,..."
and then holding out the lab report,
"... but Timothy doesn't have measles."
Thus he cancels the implicature of the first clause, that he believes
Timothy has measles, by citing the lab report definitively proving that
Timothy does not have measles.
Okay -- but, trust me, to say, "Those spots mean measles" does not sound to=

me like the right thing to say by a serious doctor worth her serious name. =
I
mean, it's like

"This means [insert very serious disease]
but you ain't it"

I think a more careful phrasing by a more careful doctor would be:

"Those spots WOULD mean measles..."

followed by,

"but, as it happens, they do not mean measles."

I still think the mother -- unless she is a Gricean mother -- would find
_that_ too elaborate a reply: _odd_ and _too Gricean_ to be true, almost.

Cheers,

JL

http://www.reallyweirdstuff.com/causesofdeathofphilosophers.htm
Causes of death of philosophers:
...
Grice: non-natural


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-24 15:37:15 UTC
Permalink
Sharpless introduced a scenario of a doctor holding a negative-test for
measles and telling Tim's mother:

(1) Those spots mean measles
but Tim doesn't have measles.

I proposed the more careful phrasing -- to please a Gricean mother, as it
were:

(2) Those spots WOULD mean measles,
but as it happens they do not mean measles.
Post by Larry Tapper
To my ear, in the case of Little Timothy, the most natural thing for
the doctor to say would ... be
(3) Those spots normally mean measles,
but he hasn't got measles.
Post by Larry Tapper
In fact I'd be inclined to take (*1) to be a sort of joke or tease
rather than a cancellation of an implicature. Just to alarm Tim's mom
for a moment, perhaps.
So I think Seth has it right [sometimes]
...but I have some doubt that the auditor's inference is really
cancellable in this case.
Interestingly, in Tapper's second example, he uses the 'would' form --
prefacing the adverb 'normally':

(4) The state of the Grice Quarterly balance sheet means
we're broke, but actually we aren't.
(5) The state of the Grice Quarterly balance sheet would normally
mean we're broke, but actually we aren't.
Post by Larry Tapper
Here too (4) would seem deviant or jocular to me, while (5) would
seem like the normal thing to say.
So, I seem to agree with Tapper: it is difficult to conceive that such a
basic recipient's inference -- as it concerns the utterer's very belief in the
second clause of an utterance involving a _factive_ verb -- is a matter of
implicature and cancellation.

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-24 15:54:42 UTC
Permalink
OK, fellows... But let us put it this way:

The doctor says:

"Those spots mean measles....to others"

May I not say that the last two words cancel the implicature of the
first four: that the doctor believes the patient has measles? If he
pauses, he's teasing; if he doesn't pause, he's not teasing. So a nice
doctor wouldn't pause before canceling the implicature. Are we dealing
with manners or meaning?

The point-in fact, my only point-is that 'means' is a triadic relation,
and when the interpreter is not specified, it must be inferred employing
whatever contextual resources are available.

Seth


-----Original Message-----
From: ***@aol.com [mailto:***@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 8:37 AM
To: ***@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [analytic] Implicature and Entailment in Natural Meaning

Sharpless introduced a scenario of a doctor holding a negative-test for
measles and telling Tim's mother:

(1) Those spots mean measles
but Tim doesn't have measles.

I proposed the more careful phrasing -- to please a Gricean mother, as
it
were:

(2) Those spots WOULD mean measles,
but as it happens they do not mean measles.

Tapper is somewhere in between, and proposes the use of the adverb
Post by Larry Tapper
To my ear, in the case of Little Timothy, the most natural thing for
the doctor to say would ... be
(3) Those spots normally mean measles,
but he hasn't got measles.
Post by Larry Tapper
In fact I'd be inclined to take (*1) to be a sort of joke or tease
rather than a cancellation of an implicature. Just to alarm Tim's mom
for a moment, perhaps.
So I think Seth has it right [sometimes]
...but I have some doubt that the auditor's inference is really
cancellable in this case.
Interestingly, in Tapper's second example, he uses the 'would' form --
prefacing the adverb 'normally':

(4) The state of the Grice Quarterly balance sheet means
we're broke, but actually we aren't.
(5) The state of the Grice Quarterly balance sheet would normally
mean we're broke, but actually we aren't.
Post by Larry Tapper
Here too (4) would seem deviant or jocular to me, while (5) would
seem like the normal thing to say.
So, I seem to agree with Tapper: it is difficult to conceive that such a

basic recipient's inference -- as it concerns the utterer's very belief
in the
second clause of an utterance involving a _factive_ verb -- is a matter
of
implicature and cancellation.

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





Yahoo! Groups Sponsor


ADVERTISEMENT

<http://rd.yahoo.com/SIG=12c9abtft/M=267637.4116732.5333197.1261774/D=eg
roupweb/S=1705016061:HM/EXP=1069774632/A=1853618/R=0/*http:/www.netflix.
com/Default?mqso=60178338&partid=4116732> click here


<http://us.adserver.yahoo.com/l?M=267637.4116732.5333197.1261774/D=egrou
pmail/S=:HM/A=1853618/rand=415928037>

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo!
<http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> Terms of Service.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Larry Tapper
2003-11-24 16:31:59 UTC
Permalink
Seth Sharpless writes:

SKS> OK, fellows... But let us put it this way:

The doctor says:

(1) "Those spots mean measles....to others"

SKS> May I not say that the last two words cancel the implicature of
the first four: that the doctor believes the patient has measles? If
he pauses, he's teasing; if he doesn't pause, he's not teasing. So a
nice doctor wouldn't pause before canceling the implicature. Are we
dealing with manners or meaning?

SKS> The point-in fact, my only point-is that 'means' is a triadic
relation, and when the interpreter is not specified, it must be
inferred employing whatever contextual resources are available.

Seth,

I had missed this point before. So you're saying that the default
implicature in the utterance "X means Y" is that it's the utterer U
to whom X means Y and not somebody else. I had been thinking only in
terms of U --- does he believe Y or doesn't he?

Viewed in this light, it would seem that any unattributed value
judgment could be said to carry a cancellable implicature. For
example:

(2) Fermented yak's milk is a tasty beverage.

The default implicature is that U himself thinks so. But possible is
the cancellation:

(*2) Fermented yak's milk is a tasty beverage --- if you're Tibetan.

This seems fine though. For some reason I keep thinking of the
cancelling statements --- the ones with the asterisks --- as jokes or
teases. Though as you say this might not be relevant to the issue at
hand.

Larry





------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Larry Tapper
2003-11-24 16:07:28 UTC
Permalink
Speranza writes:

JLS> So, I seem to agree with Tapper: it is difficult to conceive
that such a basic recipient's inference -- as it concerns the
utterer's very belief in the second clause of an utterance involving
a _factive_ verb -- is a matter of implicature and cancellation.

Yes I think so. It seems to me that the closest cousin to "X means
Y", construed as a factive, might be something like "X indicates Y to
me". This in turn could be interpreted either flatly (U believes Y on
the basis of X) or probabilistically (U believes that Y is {likely,
reasonable to believe, ...} on the basis of X). But it is not clear
that either interpretation supports the cancelling maneuver "X means
Y, but not-Y".

A possibly interesting detail here is that "X normally means Y" is
_not_ factive --- without some further qualification, we can't tell
whether U believes Y or not.

But there's a certain type-token ambiguity, come to think of it, in
my suggestion that the doctor should add the qualifier "normally".
Strictly speaking, spots normally mean measles, but _those_ spots
don't normally mean measles, unless Timothy has repeatedly broken out
in the same pattern of spots.

Larry
Post by J***@aol.com
Sharpless introduced a scenario of a doctor holding a negative-test for
(1) Those spots mean measles
but Tim doesn't have measles.
I proposed the more careful phrasing -- to please a Gricean mother, as it
(2) Those spots WOULD mean measles,
but as it happens they do not mean measles.
Tapper is somewhere in between, and proposes the use of the
Post by Larry Tapper
To my ear, in the case of Little Timothy, the most natural thing for
the doctor to say would ... be
(3) Those spots normally mean measles,
but he hasn't got measles.
Post by Larry Tapper
In fact I'd be inclined to take (*1) to be a sort of joke or tease
rather than a cancellation of an implicature. Just to alarm Tim's mom
for a moment, perhaps.
So I think Seth has it right [sometimes]
...but I have some doubt that the auditor's inference is really
cancellable in this case.
Interestingly, in Tapper's second example, he uses the 'would'
form --
Post by J***@aol.com
(4) The state of the Grice Quarterly balance sheet means
we're broke, but actually we aren't.
(5) The state of the Grice Quarterly balance sheet would
normally
Post by J***@aol.com
mean we're broke, but actually we aren't.
Post by Larry Tapper
Here too (4) would seem deviant or jocular to me, while (5) would
seem like the normal thing to say.
So, I seem to agree with Tapper: it is difficult to conceive that such a
basic recipient's inference -- as it concerns the utterer's very belief in the
second clause of an utterance involving a _factive_ verb -- is a matter of
implicature and cancellation.
Cheers,
JL
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-24 17:29:52 UTC
Permalink
Larry Tapper writes:
A possibly interesting detail here is that "X normally means Y" is
_not_ factive --- without some further qualification, we can't tell
whether U believes Y or not.
I think a Davidsonian would disagree? I.e. 'normally' can be _dropped_ from a
sentence containing it -- following the canons of deductive inference --
without change of truth-value:

(1) Those spots normally mean measles
-------------------------------------------------
Ergo:
(2) Those spots mean measles.

I think, with 'normally', it is the _implicature_ (but nothing to do with the
factiveness of the case) which imports a _counter-factive_ element, actually
-- a different _animal_ altogether, it would seem --::

(3) Peter is normally a well-behaved boy.
--------------------------------------------------
Ergo,
by cancellable, defeasible implicature
(4) I'm surprised he is behaving so badly today.

A seemingly similar word in this respect in _virtual_ (and the adverb
_virtually_): although a case can (and perhaps _should_) be made to the effect that
in 'virtually, p' there is a logical implication (entailment) rather than an
implicature that ~p.

Ditto for Tapper's and mine use of 'would', as in

(5) Those spot WOULD mean measles.

-- 'would' seem to behave, implicaturally, as a _past tense_:

(6) I lived in Oregon
+> I no longer do.

and as is evident in the cancellation:

(5') Those spots would, and indeed do, mean measles.

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Larry Tapper
2003-11-24 17:52:24 UTC
Permalink
JL,

Hmm, I'm just saying that if a doctor were to observe,

(1) Those spots mean measles.

I would take the Dr. to be saying that Timmy has measles.

But if she were to say...

(2) Those spots normally mean measles.

...I would reserve judgment for the time being on what the Dr. thinks
of Timmy's condition. She could go on to say, "...but actually Timmy
has a rare case of recalcitrant plebney"; or she could go on to
say "...and I'll do some lab tests just to make sure".

Seth Sharpless has been saying that "X means Y" is triadic, i.e.
elliptical for "X means Y to some Z". And I think the effect
of "normally" is to undercut the default assumption that Z=U. Seems
to me that this would undercut the factivity of 'mean' as well,
because the core sense of 'factive' is that something is a fact from
the utterer's point of view.

Yrs, LM
Post by Larry Tapper
A possibly interesting detail here is that "X normally means Y" is
_not_ factive --- without some further qualification, we can't tell
whether U believes Y or not.
I think a Davidsonian would disagree? I.e. 'normally' can be
_dropped_ from a
Post by Larry Tapper
sentence containing it -- following the canons of deductive
inference --
Post by Larry Tapper
(1) Those spots normally mean measles
-------------------------------------------------
(2) Those spots mean measles.
I think, with 'normally', it is the _implicature_ (but nothing to do with the
factiveness of the case) which imports a _counter-factive_ element, actually
(3) Peter is normally a well-behaved boy.
--------------------------------------------------
Ergo,
by cancellable, defeasible implicature
(4) I'm surprised he is behaving so badly today.
A seemingly similar word in this respect in _virtual_ (and the
adverb
Post by Larry Tapper
_virtually_): although a case can (and perhaps _should_) be made to the effect that
in 'virtually, p' there is a logical implication (entailment)
rather than an
Post by Larry Tapper
implicature that ~p.
Ditto for Tapper's and mine use of 'would', as in
(5) Those spot WOULD mean measles.
(6) I lived in Oregon
+> I no longer do.
(5') Those spots would, and indeed do, mean measles.
Cheers,
JL
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Larry Tapper
2003-11-24 19:47:32 UTC
Permalink
Another small thing about the effect of 'normally':

LT> A possibly interesting detail here is that "X normally means Y" is
_not_ factive --- without some further qualification, we can't tell
whether U believes Y or not.

JLS> I think a Davidsonian would disagree? I.e. 'normally' can be
_dropped_ from a sentence containing it -- following the canons of
deductive inference -- without change of truth-value:

I wouldn't say 'normally' can be dropped without a change in truth
conditions. Not normally anyway. I think it functions somewhat
like 'probably'. Sentences with 'normally' and 'probably' have the
property of not being falsifiable by just one observation: their
truth values depend on what happens in the preponderance of cases,
not just one.

LM




------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-24 17:44:12 UTC
Permalink
Sharpless thinks a _pause_ may be the thing, and compares (1) and (2)

(1) Those spots mean measless to others
(2) Those spots mean measless [pause] to others,

concluding in desperation,
Are we dealing with
_manners_ or meaning?
[emphasis mine. JLS]. Apparently, Tapper takes side with Sharpless and
confirms - by bringing the subjectively-relative example:

(3) *Fermented yak's milk is a tasty beverage
--- if you're Tibetan.

but concluding, with Sharpless,
As [Sharpless] say[s] this might not be relevant
to the issue at hand.
i.e. it would not be a matter of _logic_, but of pragmatics and usage. I
think it is somewhat relevant to the issue at hand, though.

As Tapper had previously noted,
It seems to me that the closest cousin to "X means
Y", construed as a factive, might be something like "X indicates Y to
me" [and] it is not clear
that [any] interpretation supports the cancelling
maneuver [favoured by Sharpless, viz.]
"X means Y, but not-Y".
As for the need to qualify the utterance with an explicit mention of the
I had missed this point before.
And I think Grice perhaps did too, when he has these two examples in direct
sequence:

(4) To me, those spots did not mean anything [at all],
but to the doctor, they meant measles.

and

"I cannot say"

(5) *Those spots mean measles, but he hasn't got
measles.

I.e. it would seem as if Grice is, for (4), suggesting [saying?] that
what-is-meant [sic] is a different entailment for the utterer and for the doctor:
'nothing' and 'measles', respectively, while making it obvious that, for Grice,
there _is_, sometimes, the need to qualify the role of the _interpreter_ ("to
me" vs. "to the doctor"). The best one could perhaps do is provide scare
quotes where Grice omits then, by which (4) becomes:

(4') To me, those spots didn't 'mean' anything,
but to the doctor, they did mean something,
viz. measles.

But there's something clumsy about that, I grant. (Surely, it could well be
the other way round, with the scare quotes applied to the _doctor_'s use of
'mean', should he prove in the end wrong, and the utterer right:

(4") To me, those spots didn't mean anything,
but to the doctor they 'meant' measles.

Anyway, perhaps I am [+> still] confused.) -- Cheers,

JL



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-24 18:48:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry Tapper
-------------
As for the need to qualify the utterance with an explicit mention of the
_interpreter_, Tapper writes: "I had missed this point before."

And I think Grice perhaps did too, when he has these two examples in
direct sequence:

(4) To me, those spots did not mean anything [at all], but to the
doctor, they meant measles.

and

"I cannot say "(5) *Those spots mean measles, but he hasn't got measles.

I.e. it would seem as if Grice is, for (4), suggesting [saying?] that
what-is-meant [sic] is a different entailment for the utterer and for
the doctor: 'nothing' and 'measles', respectively, while making it
obvious that, for Grice, there _is_, sometimes, the need to qualify the
role of the _interpreter_ ("to me" vs. "to the doctor"). The best one
could perhaps do is provide scare quotes where Grice omits then, by
which (4) becomes:

(4') To me, those spots didn't 'mean' anything,

but to the doctor, they did mean something,

viz. measles.

But there's something clumsy about that, I grant. (Surely, it could well
be the other way round, with the scare quotes applied to the _doctor_'s
use of 'mean', should he prove in the end wrong, and the utterer right:

(4") To me, those spots didn't mean anything,

but to the doctor they 'meant' measles.

------------------<

JL,
I am trying to understand why you think scare quotes are necessary
or useful here, and it escapes me. Think of "means" as a triadic
relation: "x means y to z [or "means(x,y,z)"]. Then, we have:


(4'a) ~(Ey)(spots mean y to me)

(4'b) (Ey)(spots mean y to Dr.)

where '~' is a negation sign.

'Means' has the same meaning in (4'a) and (4'b). Why scare quotes
around one of the 'means'?


Yrs,
Seth


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-25 13:35:56 UTC
Permalink
We are discussing Tapper's qualification of Grice's

(1) Those spots mean measles

to read, on occasion,

(2) Those spots _normally_ mean measles.

which would account for Grice's apparently inconsistent utterance

(3) Tim's Father: To me, those spots normally would not
mean anything, and to the doctor they
would normally mean measles.
Tim's Mother: C'm on. Never mind 'normally'. What
does Timothy have?!
Post by Larry Tapper
I wouldn't say 'normally' can be dropped without a change in truth
conditions. Not normally anyway. I think it functions somewhat
like 'probably'. Sentences with 'normally' and 'probably' have the
property of not being falsifiable by just one observation: their
truth values depend on what happens in the preponderance of cases,
not just one.
Mmm. What about _abnormally_ and _improbably_, then? I agree that

(4) Probably, it is raining in Singapore.

seems to _lack_ a commitment to the truth-value of

(5) It is raining in Singapore.

However, for some reason, the negation or the proposition, 'incorporated
negation' as Horn would have it, seems not to lack that commitment:

(6) Improbable (as it sounds), it _is_ raining in Singapore.

Ditto for 'mean'?, e.g.

(7) Those [little greenish] spots abnormally mean measles.

-- which on one reading sounds equivalent to

(8) Those spots are an abnormal sign -- but a natural
sign nevertheless -- of measles.
Post by Larry Tapper
I'm just saying that if a doctor were to observe,
(1) Those spots mean measles.
I would take the doctor to be saying that Tim has measles.
But if she were to say...
(2) Those spots normally mean measles.
I would reserve judgment for the time being on what the Dr. thinks
of Timmy's condition. She could go on to say,
(2') ... but actually Timmy has a rare case of recalcitrant plebney.
or she could go on to
say
(2") and I'll do some lab tests just to make sure.
Seth Sharpless has been saying that
"X means Y"
is triadic, i.e. elliptical for
"X means Y to some Z".
And I think the effect of "normally" is to undercut the
default assumption that Z = U. Seems to me that this
would undercut the factivity of 'mean' as well,
because the core sense of 'factive' is that something is
a fact from the utterer's point of view.
Okay -- but is this a correct use of 'normally'? To start with,
etymologically, I believe 'normally' makes an implicit reference to a _deontological_ realm
(Latin 'norma', rule, ethical prescription -- and perhaps metaphorically to a
so-called 'law of nature'). Even if taken _probablistically_ -- as referring
to the _majority_ of cases (the _curve_ in a statistical calculus -- , I
submit that the logical form of

(2) Those spots normally mean measles.

points to a different realm? Thus, the logical form, taking 'meaN' as
triadic, would be, perhaps, something like:

MEAN (spot, measles, NORMAL INTERPRETER).

-- which would perhaps entail that 'normal' does not _affect_ factivity, but
brings in a level of _normal factivity_, but I'm starting to sound like
Derrida (when I'm must willing to [harmlessly] _complicate_ things).

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Larry Tapper
2003-11-25 15:01:37 UTC
Permalink
We're considering the differences between...

(1) Those spots mean measles.

and

(2) Those spots normally mean measles.

...with regard to factivity and implicature.

J.L. Speranza and I both like Seth Sharpless's idea that 'mean' in 'X
means Y' is triadic, i.e. 'X means Y to Z'. After that the plot
thickens.

I think it's fairly safe to say that when some utterer U says (1), we
will tend to interpret that in terms of U himself believing that
someone has measles. That is Z = U. This perhaps could be called
a 'default implicature'.

Earlier I suggested that this is not the case when we interpret (2):

LT>...I think the effect of "normally" is to undercut the
Post by J***@aol.com
Post by Larry Tapper
default assumption that Z = U. Seems to me that this
would undercut the factivity of 'mean' as well,
because the core sense of 'factive' is that something is
a fact from the utterer's point of view.
On this Speranza comments:

JLS> Even if taken _probablistically_ -- as referring
to the _majority_ of cases (the _curve_ in a statistical calculus --
I submit that the logical form of

(2) Those spots normally mean measles.

points to a different realm? Thus, the logical form, taking 'meaN' as
triadic, would be, perhaps, something like:

MEAN (spot, measles, NORMAL INTERPRETER).

JLS> -- which would perhaps entail that 'normal' does not _affect_
factivity, but brings in a level of _normal factivity_, but I'm
starting to sound like Derrida (when I'm most willing to [harmlessly]
_complicate_ things).

I think the logical form

MEAN (spot, measles, NORMAL INTERPRETER)

is one of the possible renderings of (1) but not exactly of (2). In
(1) we could also put for the third term, "most doctors" or "most
English speakers" or "the relevant experts", etc., with similar
effect.

In (2), however, I read "normally" as ranging over _contexts_ rather
than speakers. That is, I read the logical form of

(2) Those spots normally mean measles.

as:

-In most situations, MEAN (spot, measles, NORMAL INTERPRETER)

or for that matter,

-In most situations, MEAN (spot, measles, U).

So I still think that (2) makes the factivity go away, because it is
not determined whether U believes Timmy has measles in _this_
situation.

The reason why I brought up "normally" in the first place is that if
(1) involves a kind 'default implicature' as Seth suggests, then (2)
seems to be the customary way to cancel it smoothly. That is, I read

(3) Those spots mean measles --- but Timmy doesn't have measles.

as being a little edgy, borderline deviant, jocular perhaps, while

(4) Those spots normally mean measles --- but Timmy doesn't have
measles.

seems to me, er, normal.

Larry

---"...Sorry. Sometimes I get carried away being so normal and
everything..Heh..Heh..."

-Clare Quilty (in the film Lolita)
Post by J***@aol.com
We are discussing Tapper's qualification of Grice's
(1) Those spots mean measles
to read, on occasion,
(2) Those spots _normally_ mean measles.
which would account for Grice's apparently inconsistent utterance
(3) Tim's Father: To me, those spots normally would not
mean anything, and to the doctor they
would normally mean measles.
Tim's Mother: C'm on. Never mind 'normally'. What
does Timothy have?!
Post by Larry Tapper
I wouldn't say 'normally' can be dropped without a change in truth
conditions. Not normally anyway. I think it functions somewhat
like 'probably'. Sentences with 'normally' and 'probably' have the
property of not being falsifiable by just one observation: their
truth values depend on what happens in the preponderance of cases,
not just one.
Mmm. What about _abnormally_ and _improbably_, then? I agree that
(4) Probably, it is raining in Singapore.
seems to _lack_ a commitment to the truth-value of
(5) It is raining in Singapore.
However, for some reason, the negation or the
proposition, 'incorporated
Post by J***@aol.com
(6) Improbable (as it sounds), it _is_ raining in Singapore.
Ditto for 'mean'?, e.g.
(7) Those [little greenish] spots abnormally mean measles.
-- which on one reading sounds equivalent to
(8) Those spots are an abnormal sign -- but a natural
sign nevertheless -- of measles.
Post by Larry Tapper
I'm just saying that if a doctor were to observe,
(1) Those spots mean measles.
I would take the doctor to be saying that Tim has measles.
But if she were to say...
(2) Those spots normally mean measles.
I would reserve judgment for the time being on what the Dr. thinks
of Timmy's condition. She could go on to say,
(2') ... but actually Timmy has a rare case of recalcitrant
plebney.
Post by J***@aol.com
Post by Larry Tapper
or she could go on to
say
(2") and I'll do some lab tests just to make sure.
Seth Sharpless has been saying that
"X means Y"
is triadic, i.e. elliptical for
"X means Y to some Z".
And I think the effect of "normally" is to undercut the
default assumption that Z = U. Seems to me that this
would undercut the factivity of 'mean' as well,
because the core sense of 'factive' is that something is
a fact from the utterer's point of view.
Okay -- but is this a correct use of 'normally'? To start with,
etymologically, I believe 'normally' makes an implicit reference to a _deontological_ realm
(Latin 'norma', rule, ethical prescription -- and perhaps
metaphorically to a
Post by J***@aol.com
so-called 'law of nature'). Even if taken _probablistically_ -- as referring
to the _majority_ of cases (the _curve_ in a statistical calculus -- , I
submit that the logical form of
(2) Those spots normally mean measles.
points to a different realm? Thus, the logical form, taking 'meaN' as
MEAN (spot, measles, NORMAL INTERPRETER).
-- which would perhaps entail that 'normal' does not _affect_
factivity, but
Post by J***@aol.com
brings in a level of _normal factivity_, but I'm starting to sound like
Derrida (when I'm must willing to [harmlessly] _complicate_ things).
Cheers,
JL
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-25 14:12:08 UTC
Permalink
We are discussing a scenario for Sharpless's formalisation of Grice's example:

~(Ey)(spots mean y to me) & (Ey)(spots mean y to Dr.)

I proposed that, when 'meaN' -- which _would_, for Grice, be a factive -- is
_not_ used factively -- since people sometimes speak loosely (WOW, p. 44), one
could appeal to scare quotes -- the idea being the apparent analogy with
'know'.

Aristotle says: "The earth is flat"
and even, "I know the earth is flat".

After Columbus, we report and say

"It is not true that Aristotle knew that the earth is flat."

But, if we want to maintain an 'opaque' sense of 'factivity' as I call it, we
embed the whole thing, as in

Aristotle _thought he knew_ the earth is flat (WOW, p. 279)

or -- more informally --, go 'metalinguistic':

Aristotle 'knew' the earth was flat.

Admittedly, it is an odd device, much criticised by writers of English usage.
Post by Seth Sharpless
I am trying to understand why you think scare quotes are necessary
or useful here, and it escapes me. Think of "means" as a triadic
1. ~(Ey)(spots mean y to me)
2. (Ey)(spots mean y to Dr.)
where '~' is a negation sign.
'means' has the same meaning in (4'a) and (4'b). Why scare quotes
around one of the 'means'?
Well, but you have to agree, I suppose, that, on Grice's account of 'meaN' as
factive -- with factivity understood in terms of entailment, only -- (1) and
(2) cannot be both true.

The qualification of 'meaN' as _triadic_ does not, alas, seem to solve the
[Grice's] problem, since Grice is already using 'mean' as a triadic relation in
his second example, which is the mere conjuntion of (1) & (2)

To me, those spots didn't mean anything, and
to the doctor they meant measles.

-- inviting an apparent inconsistency with a cancellation of the second
argument of 'meaN'. Perhaps Grice's "we cannot say: "Those spots meant measles but
he hasn't got measles"" can be intended to signal that the interpretation of a
sign by a given interpreter can _not_ change at a given time, but _can_
change across times? Thus, while we _could_ say that the spots MEANT nothing then,
the spots mean MEASLES now.

Even this sounds somewhat paradoxical, because it would entail that Tim did
not have measles then, but that he it now -- while he was having the spots all
the time?

It seems Grice's paradigm-cases of meaN (especially in 'Meaning Revisited --
since he is attempting a 'derivation' of non-factive 'meaNN' from factive
'meaN') are behavioural outbursts: a smile means joy, blushing means one is
embarrased, a tear means some sad frame of mind. These signals are in a way _beyond_
interpretation, it's what Grice seems to be saying (perhaps wrongly?). I
grant that in some cultures a smile can mean sadness (cf. 'a sad smile'), and
blushing can be something _other_ than embarrasment (I know burping doesn't mean
anything to some [e.g. the real counterpart of Homer Simpson], but, oddly, it
is meant to be a sign that you have enjoyed the food to a Japanese?)

Cheers,

JL
meaNing I'm thick.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-25 16:41:55 UTC
Permalink
Tapper suggests that the logical form of

"Those spots [normally] mean measles"

is not, as I suggested,

MEAN (spot, measles, NORMAL INTERPRETER)

but rather something renderable in quasi-English as:

"In most situations, MEAN (spot, measles, NORMAL INTERPRETER)"

which, I submit, is a really short step to the quasi-redundant,
meta-emphatic,

"NORMALLY, MEAN (spots, measles, NORMAL INTERPRETER)"

It is of no irrelevance that Tapper signs off his post,

"Sometimes I get carried away being
so [too?] normal."

since I guess this may be one of them [sic] times? -- Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-25 16:57:43 UTC
Permalink
I note that T. Wharton's essay, 'Natural pragmatics and natural codes', is
available online at

http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/PUB/WPL/01papers/wharton.pdf.

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-25 17:34:35 UTC
Permalink
L. M. Tapper writes:
J.L. Speranza and I both like Seth Sharpless's idea that 'mean' in 'X
means Y' is triadic, i.e. 'X means Y to Z'. After that the plot
thickens.
I think it's fairly safe to say that when some utterer U says (1), we
will tend to interpret that in terms of U himself believing that
someone has measles. That is Z = U. This perhaps could be called
a 'default implicature'.
There is, also, I think, a distinction to be made, perhaps, -- as Wharton
makes it -- between:

(1) Those spots mean measles.

and

(2) Those spots _actually_ mean measles.


-- Incidentally, Wharton has a footnote, n4, that reads: "Despite the fact
that I occasionally leave the audience implicit, 'mean' is a three-place
predicate: those spots mean something to somebody" --

Wharton's example, in n5, is, as cited in an earlier post, is:

(4) That hissing sound means that there is a snake under the table.

Wharton uses the example to clarify or explain "aspects of Grice's notion of
factivity" that he "originally found ... puzzling", in its connection with the
expression if a _false_ (refuted) belief on the part of the utterer. Thus,
Wharton writes:

"The issue of speaker commitment runs parallel with this
['Those black clouds mean rain', 'Well, it looks like those
black clouds _didn't mean_ rain after all']; so, if A remarks
to B, 'That hissing sound means that there is a snake under
the table', she cannot REASONABLY add [(5)]

(5) ... but don't worry, I don't BELIEVE there's a snake under the table.

since, by her use of the _natural_ sense [usage? JLS] of 'mean',
it is also _entailed_ that SHE HOLDS THAT BELIEF."

This parallels, I think, Sharpless's considerations regarding what Sharpless
sees the implicature being _doxastically_ qualified? But cf. below.

Wharton continues with specific reference to the adverb 'actually' (cf.
'factually'):

"Of course, what that hissing sound might _actually_ mean
is that there is a gas leak in the pipe immediately underneath
the table, but THAT DOES NOT [A]FFECT A's commitment
to the BELIEF that there is a snake there, even though
(parallel to the black clouds example), if there _isn't_ a snake
under a table, it is no longer _true_ to say 'That hissing sound
means that there is a snake under the table'." (Wharton, n5
p. 450).

(cf. my previous remarks on the bearing of this on Moore's "paradox" -- and
cf. Wharton's qualification, 'reasonably', in the quote above: surely Moore's
"paradox" is a paradox of _rationality_, not of _logic_ -- there's nothing
illogical about "It is raining but U does not believe it").

Motivated by considerations like those, I was once tempted to suggest -- upon
reading Martinich's essay in _Dialectica_ and his criticism of what Martinich
saw as an inconsitency in Grice -- that "what-is-meant-N", in a clause "x
means p" is not, really, actually, or factually, "p" but, rather, something
doxastic: U's _belief_ that p.

This, an apparently contrived maneouvre, I grant, would however offer a nice
parallelism and connection with cases of _non-natural_ meaning -- where x
means-NN p" would _entail_ not now a _belief_ perhaps, but an _intention_ (an
"M-intention", to use Grice's jargon), on the part of U, that U _believes_ p.

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-25 17:49:26 UTC
Permalink
Another example, below, from Wharton's essay: bee-dances.

Cheers,

JL

Wharton writes:

"The honeybee performs a complex dance in order to indicate to its
conspecifics information relating to the distance, location, and quality of nectar (von
Frisch, 1967). Would we want to characterise the 'meaning' the dance have as
meaning-n or meaning-nn? Recall the tests: firstly, is the meaning carried by
these dances factive or non-factive? It seems fair to suggest that it is
factive: the fact that the bee has performed the dance means that the nectar is
there (*18, *19); secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is there any evidence to
suggest that the interpretation of the dance relies on the deployment and
attribution of intentions? As far as I know, there is none. The dance of bees,
then, mean naturally." (p. 466).

n18: "The factivity test breaks down somewhat in the case of bee-dancing. If
the bee makes a mistake -- as I'm sure bees occasionally do -- then there is
at least a sense in which the dance _still_ meant 'nectar-at-location x'. The
law-like link between, for example, black clouds and rain (in which if it
doesn't rain then those black clouds can't be saive to have meant rain anymore)
appears not to hold in the case of bee-dancing. Furthermore, I am claiming here
that the factivity test might be used to sharpen our _intutions_ on the _nature
of the meaning carried by the dances themselves_, and I'm aware that this
does not sit entirely comfortably with my earlier remarks (see the discussion in
f.n. 5) about how Grice's examples might best be seen as utterances _about_
black clouds or spots (or bee-dances). I would add, however, that if we try to
fit bee-dancing into Grice's natural/non-natural dichotomy, I don't see that we
have any choice but to view it as an example of _natural_ meaning since, as I
go on to say, it seems fairly clear that bees do not possess the kind of
higher-order intentional ability to _mean_ _non_-naturally (in the sense described
by Grice). Such abilities are a pre-requisite for the existence of
non-natural meaning.)"

n19: "This is not to under-estimate the complexity of bee-signalling, which
can 'trascend the here and now and ... make reference to distant temporal and
spatial variables in the environment rather than only to the immediate
surroundings of the signaller' (Allen and Bekoff, 1997, p. 108)."


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Larry Tapper
2003-11-25 17:57:52 UTC
Permalink
Thanks to JL Speranza for the refs to Wharton's online paper. It's a
fairly long one --- I've printed it out and will read it over the
weekend.

This part about the bees is interesting. I remember that back in the
60s the conventional wisdom (per Leslie White etc.) was that human
communication was unique in its ability to refer to 'extrasomatic'
factors. The bees give the lie to that I guess and probably many
other animals as well. Seems to me that our claim to be a uniquely
gifted species is shrinking all the time, and that's a good thing
too.

Larry
Post by J***@aol.com
Another example, below, from Wharton's essay: bee-dances.
Cheers,
JL
"The honeybee performs a complex dance in order to indicate to its
conspecifics information relating to the distance, location, and quality of nectar (von
Frisch, 1967). Would we want to characterise the 'meaning' the
dance have as
Post by J***@aol.com
meaning-n or meaning-nn? Recall the tests: firstly, is the meaning carried by
these dances factive or non-factive? It seems fair to suggest that it is
factive: the fact that the bee has performed the dance means that the nectar is
there (*18, *19); secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is there any evidence to
suggest that the interpretation of the dance relies on the
deployment and
Post by J***@aol.com
attribution of intentions? As far as I know, there is none. The dance of bees,
then, mean naturally." (p. 466).
n18: "The factivity test breaks down somewhat in the case of bee-
dancing. If
Post by J***@aol.com
the bee makes a mistake -- as I'm sure bees occasionally do -- then there is
at least a sense in which the dance _still_ meant 'nectar-at-
location x'. The
Post by J***@aol.com
law-like link between, for example, black clouds and rain (in which if it
doesn't rain then those black clouds can't be saive to have meant rain anymore)
appears not to hold in the case of bee-dancing. Furthermore, I am claiming here
that the factivity test might be used to sharpen our _intutions_ on the _nature
of the meaning carried by the dances themselves_, and I'm aware that this
does not sit entirely comfortably with my earlier remarks (see the discussion in
f.n. 5) about how Grice's examples might best be seen as utterances _about_
black clouds or spots (or bee-dances). I would add, however, that if we try to
fit bee-dancing into Grice's natural/non-natural dichotomy, I don't see that we
have any choice but to view it as an example of _natural_ meaning since, as I
go on to say, it seems fairly clear that bees do not possess the kind of
higher-order intentional ability to _mean_ _non_-naturally (in the sense described
by Grice). Such abilities are a pre-requisite for the existence of
non-natural meaning.)"
n19: "This is not to under-estimate the complexity of bee-
signalling, which
Post by J***@aol.com
can 'trascend the here and now and ... make reference to distant temporal and
spatial variables in the environment rather than only to the
immediate
Post by J***@aol.com
surroundings of the signaller' (Allen and Bekoff, 1997, p. 108)."
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-27 01:32:26 UTC
Permalink
L. M. Tapper writes:
This part about the bees is interesting. I remember that back in the
60s the conventional wisdom (per Leslie White etc.) was that human
communication was unique in its ability to refer to 'extrasomatic'
factors. The bees give the lie to that I guess and probably many
other animals as well. Seems to me that our claim to be a uniquely
gifted species is shrinking all the time, and that's a good thing
too.
---

Interesting.

I similarly recall reading that human communication was [is?] also perphaps
unique in its ability for _prevarication_ (e.g. Sir John Lyons makes this point
in his _Introduction to language and linguistics_, CUP): I'm not sure a bee
can _lie_, though [that there is nectar on location x2] while she does the
dance, though (while she can certainly _extra-somatize_, if I may coin the verb?).
Post by Larry Tapper
human
communication was unique in its ability to refer to 'extrasomatic'
factors.
Wharton has an interesting passage where he contrasts (natural) [somatic]
_states_ (such as Tim's spots meaning-n measles) and [somatic] _doings_: the
latter can be, in Wharton's taxonomy, either involuntary or involuntary. If the
former, a species of _meaning-n, which can however become meaning-nn if
'feigned' and recognized as such (Grice's famous 'frown', discussed by Wharton, along
with shivering). If the latter, they'd fall under the agent's rational control
-- and would, at least some of them, constitute _meaning-nn_ proper.

Cheers,

JL


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-27 19:28:04 UTC
Permalink
This is to thank Speranza for drawing attention to Tim Wharton's paper,
*Natural Pragmatics and Natural Codes*

http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/PUB/WPL/01papers/wharton.pdf

and for his interesting comments thereon. The paper is extremely rich
and provocative. My overall impression is that Wharton has made a
number of distinctions that belong, so to speak, in different domains,
and has tended to lump them together. It reminds me of the nine-ring
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circuses I attended as a boy. The
main acts were in the center ring with less important acts in the
end-zone preventing those in the cheap seats from seeing clearly the
featured acts. What Wharton seems to have done is force all the acts
concerning meaning into the center ring, so that that rather trivial
distinctions compete with, distract from, and occasionally confound the
big distinctions.

However, reading this paper made me realize that attempts such as
Grice's (and my own) to reduce the proper senses of the word 'mean' to a
very few, such as Grice's meanN and meanNN, are doomed to failure.

There is, however, one distinction between senses of 'mean' which seems
to me all-important, which I think both Grice and Wharton miss or
conflate with other distinctions. I do not know how to draw that
distinction exactly, but it has little to do with convention, or
arbitrariness, or utterers' intentions. It has to do with the presence
or absence of mind in an instance of "meaning" and may be what Speranza
was thinking of when he focused on the possible relation between
'meaning' and 'mentare'.

Consider a dog in Pavlov's conditioning stand. He hears a bell followed
by the injection of a minute amount of weak acid into his mouth.
Eventually Fido salivates whenever the bell sounds. We are inclined to
say that the sound of the bell comes to "mean" acid-in-mouth to Fido.
Fido comes to expect acid when the bell sounds and the sound of the bell
therefore "means" acid to Fido.

But now imagine that Pavlov removes the cerebral cortex and large parts
of Fido's brain and Fido continues to salivate when the bell sounds.
Does the bell still "mean" acid to Fido? Does decorticate Fido "expect"
acid when the bell sounds, or is Fido simply exhibiting a mindless
"reflex" action, albeit one that has been "conditioned."

Another way to put the question is: Is the world of a zombie a
meaningful world to the zombie? Do zombies interpret the stimuli that
they experience or do they only react to them?

Here might be a place where we need a distinction between something like
Grice's meanN and meanNN, having nothing to do with utterer's intentions
or conventions or arbitrariness, but having everything to do with mind.

It is for this reason that I find talk about the "meaning" of a bee's
dance problematic. Certainly, the bee's dance "means" something to the
naturalist, but is it quite right to say it "means" something to the
other bees? It seems to me that to answer that, we would have to know
something about the reaction of the recipient of this "signal." Does it
fly off "expecting" to find nectar at a certain place? Will it be
"surprised" if there is no nectar there? Or does it merely respond
automatically, a bee-zombie, to his coworker's wiggles. Anyway, there
is lurking here an all important distinction between two "means" which
is not quite captured by Grice's "meanN" and "meanNN," nor by Wharton's
"ostensive" and "non-ostensive" "meanings."

Presumably, "intention" betrays the presence of mind, but it
does so only in the utterer or wiggler, the producer of the sign, and
the intention of the utterer tells us nothing about the "meaning" of the
sign to the receiver, or even whether it has "meaning" to the receiver.
Pavlov's intention in sounding the bell tells us little about whether or
what the sound of the bell "means" to his decorticate subject.

So much for that.

I do want to draw attention to a mistake made by Wharton in reference to
Peirce. Wharton writes, referring to Peirce's definitions of 'symbol':

"A symbolic representation is one in which the relationship between the
signifier and the signified is governed by some social convention, tacit
agreement or 'conventionalised'--the word 'dog' meaning dog: in other
words, arbitrary. 'The symbol is connected with its object by virtue of
the...symbol-using mind, without which no such connection would exist'."

The quoted sentence is from Peirce, Collected Papers, 2.299 [1895]. But
Wharton has misunderstood Peirce. In Peirce's writings on signs and
symbols, extending over forty years, he did often use the word
'conventional' in connection with symbols, but he did not usually mean
by that word, "social conventions" or "tacit agreements between users.
In fact, he almost always qualified the reference to "conventions" in
his discussion of symbols as follows:

"The word Symbol has so many meanings that it would be an injury to the
language to add a new one. I do not think that the signification I
attach to it, that of a conventional sign, *or one depending upon habit
(acquired or inborn)*, is so much a new meaning as a return to the
original meaning. [1895](CP 2.297)"

Observe that "dependence upon an acquired or inborn habit goes well
beyond "tacit agreements between users." In fact, Peirce was himself
concerned about the use of the word 'conventional' to demarcate symbols.
In 1895, the same year as the above quote, Peirce wrote:

"In 1867, I defined a symbol as any general representamen; and so far I
was right. But...subsequently, noticing that I had classed natural
symptoms both among indices and among symbols, I restricted symbols to
conventional signs, which was another error. [CP 2.340]

As for conventions being necessarily "social" or dependent on "tacit
agreements," Peirce wrote:

"One can establish conventions with oneself, which enable one to express
the essence of what [one] has to communicate free from signs that are
not essential." [CP 7.103]

Among Peirce's many definitions of 'symbol' is the following [1902]
passage:

"SYMBOL:
A sign which is constituted a sign merely or mainly by the fact
that it is used and understood as such, *whether the habit is natural or
conventional*, and without regard to the motives which originally
governed its selection.
{Symbolon} is used in this sense by Aristotle several times in
the Peri hermeneias, in the Sophistici Elenchi, and elsewhere.
THEMA: A word proposed in 1635 by Burgersdicius [Burgersdyk] in
his Logic (I,ii,P1}, for that "quod intellectui cognoscendum proponi
potest"; but what he seems to mean is what Aristotle sometimes vaguely
expresses by {logos}, the immediate object of a thought, a meaning.
It is of the nature of a sign, and in particular of a sign which
is rendered significant by a character which lies in the fact that it
will be interpreted as a sign. Of course, nothing is a sign unless it is
interpreted as a sign; but the character which causes it to be
interpreted as referring to its object may be one which might belong to
it irrespective of its object and though that object had never existed,
or it may be in a relation to its object which it would have just the
same whether it were interpreted as a sign or not. But the thema of
Burgersdicius seems to be a sign which, like a word, is connected with
its object by a convention that it shall be so understood, *or else by a
natural instinct or intellectual act* which takes it as a representative
of its object without any action necessarily taking place which could
establish a factual connection between sign and object. If this was the
meaning of Burgersdicius, his thema is the same as the present writer's
"symbol." [CP 2.307]

Peirce's definitions, though numerous and not always consistent with one
another, so far exceed in delicacy of thought and precision those of
most writers on "meaning," that it is foolish to ignore them. Thanks to
Wharton for referring to them, if not entirely correctly.



Seth





------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-27 22:46:50 UTC
Permalink
I posted and then deleted a message about Wharton's paper. If you
downloaded the message, please ignore. I'm working on a revised
version. Thanks,
Seth



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
Seth Sharpless
2003-11-28 19:14:43 UTC
Permalink
This is to thank Speranza for drawing attention to Tim Wharton's paper,
*Natural Pragmatics and Natural Codes*

http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/PUB/WPL/01papers/wharton.pdf

and for his interesting comments thereon.   The paper is extremely ric=
h
and provocative.  My overall impression is that Wharton has made a
number of distinctions that belong, so to speak, in different domains,
and has tended to lump them together.  It reminds me of the seven-ring
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circuses I attended as a boy.  The
main acts were in the center ring with less important acts in the end
rings. There was a lot going on, but at least one could concentrate on
one ring at a time. Of course, those in the cheap seats could see only
the clowns in the end rings. What Wharton seems to have done is
democratically put all the acts concerning meaning into the center ring,
so that that rather trivial distinctions compete with, distract from,
and occasionally confound the big distinctions.

However, reading this paper made me realize that attempts such as
Grice's (and my own) to reduce the proper senses of the word 'mean' to a
very few, such as Grice's meanN and meanNN, are doomed to failure.
(Some day, we are going to have to address yet again Grice’s version of
Ockham’s razor, “Do not multiply senses beyond necessity,” and ask on=
ce
again: What’s the point of it?...To whom is the advice directed,
lexicographers or philosophers?...."Necessary" for what purpose?. And
even granting that one can decipher the intent of an utterer by
attention to contextual cues and conversational maxims, ought that to
exclude the sense that the utterer intends from being listed as a
conventional sense of the word?)

There is one distinction between senses of 'mean' which seems to me
all-important, a true center-ringer, which I think both Grice and
Wharton miss or conflate with other distinctions.  I do not know how to
draw that distinction exactly, but it has little to do with convention,
or arbitrariness or utterers' intentions.  It has to do with the
presence or absence of mind, and may be what Speranza was thinking of
when he focused on the possible relation between 'meaning' and
'mentare'.

Consider a dog in Pavlov's conditioning stand.  She receives a mild
shock to one hind leg every time a bell sounds. Eventually Natasha
flexes her leg immediately upon hearing the bell. Now, we ask
ourselves: Does she withdraw her leg because she anticipates the shock,
that is, has the bell come to *mean* shock to her, or is this a mere
reflex action, an unnoticed twitch, the sort that a mechanical or
"zombie" dog might produce. It was a *conditioned* reflex, to be sure,
but unaccompanied by expectation, or, as we might say, *without meaning*
to her.

In the case of a dog, we are generally willing to think that the dog is
capable of belief and expectation. But we know that very primitive
animals can sometimes be conditioned, and moreoever, we know that we
ourselves can flinch or blink automatically, owing to conditioning,
without even realizing that we did so.

So here is the fundamental distinction, I think. How do we distinguish
*interpreting* a stimulus from merely reacting to it?

It is for this reason that I find talk about the "meaning" of a bee's
dance problematic.  Certainly, the bee's dance "means" something to the
naturalist, but is it quite right to say it "means" something to the
other bees?  It seems to me that to answer that, we would have to know
something about the reaction of the recipient of this "signal."  Does it
fly off "expecting" to find nectar at a certain place?  Will it be
"surprised" if there is no nectar there?  Or does it merely respond
automatically, a bee-zombie, to its coworker's wiggles. 

There is lurking here an all important distinction between two "means,"
a mindless "mean" and a minded "mean," which is not quite captured by
Grice's "meanN" and "meanNN," nor by Wharton's "ostensive" and
"non-ostensive" "meanings."

      Presumably, "intention" betrays the presence of mind, but i=
t does
so only in the utterer or wiggler, the producer of the sign, and the
intention of the utterer tells us nothing about the "meaning" of the
sign to the receiver, or even whether it has "meaning" to the receiver.
Pavlov's intention in sounding the bell tells us little about what the
sound of the bell "means" to Natasha, or whether it even has “meaning”
to Natasha.

There may be a distinction between “meaning for” and “meaning to.”
Thus, we may say that the bell has *meaning for* Natasha, because it
marks an occasion for possible injury though Natasha doesn’t know this;
it would have such meaning or significance *for* Natasha even if Natasha
were deaf and could not hear the bell. In that case, it would not have
"meaning to* Natasha, though it might have *meaning to* us, namely that
little Natasha is about to get a mild shock. But these are clearly
different senses of “meaning.” To say that something has “meaning fo=

someone, in this sense, is to say little more than that it is important,
that it will affect their lives, whether they are aware of it or not,
indeed, even if no one is aware of it.

Reading over the OED’s definitions and etymologies again, and reading
Wharton’s heroic attempts to find some order in the universe of “means,=
”
I am pessimistic that the senses in which the word ‘means’ is commonly
used can be reduced to an orderly few. But I am absolutely sure that
nothing is gained by ignoring the fundamental difference between
*minded* “meaning” and *mindless* “meaning.”

So much for that. 

I do want to draw attention to a mistake made by Wharton in reference
to Peirce.  Wharton writes, referring to Peirce's definitions of
'symbol':

"A symbolic representation is one in which the relationship between the
signifier and the signified is governed by some social convention, tacit
agreement or 'conventionalised'--the word 'dog' meaning dog: in other
words, arbitrary.  'The symbol is connected with its object by virtue of
the...symbol-using mind, without which no such connection would exist'."

The quoted sentence is from Peirce, Collected Papers, 2.299 [1895], and
fairly represents his view, but the rest of this paragraph is off base. 
But Wharton has misunderstood Peirce.  In Peirce's writings on signs and
symbols, extending over forty years, he did often use the word
'conventional' in connection with symbols, but he did not usually mean
by that word, "social conventions" or "tacit agreements” between users.
In fact, he almost always qualified the reference to "conventions" in
his discussion of symbols as follows:

"The word Symbol has so many meanings that it would be an injury to the
language to add a new one.  I do not think that the signification I
attach to it, that of a conventional sign, *or one depending upon habit
(acquired or inborn)*, is so much a new meaning as a return to the
original meaning. [1895](CP 2.297)"

Observe that "dependence upon an acquired or inborn habit” goes well
beyond "tacit agreements” between users.  In fact, Peirce was himself
concerned about the use of the word 'conventional' to demarcate symbols.
In 1895, the same year as the above quote, Peirce wrote:

"In 1867, I defined a symbol as any general representamen; and so far I
was right.  But...subsequently, noticing that I had classed natural
symptoms both among indices and among symbols, I restricted symbols to
conventional signs, which was another error.  [CP 2.340]

Among Peirce's many definitions of 'symbol' is the following [1902]
Post by Larry Tapper
--------------------
"SYMBOL:
      A sign which is constituted a sign merely or mainly by th=
e fact
that it is used and understood as such, *whether the habit is natural or
conventional*, and without regard to the motives which originally
governed its selection.

      {Symbolon} is used in this sense by Aristotle several time=
s in
the Peri hermeneias, in the Sophistici Elenchi, and elsewhere.

      THEMA:  A word proposed in 1635 by Burgersdicius [Burgers=
dyk] in
his Logic (I,ii,P1}, for that "quod intellectui cognoscendum proponi
potest"; but what he seems to mean is what Aristotle sometimes vaguely
expresses by {logos}, the immediate object of a thought, a meaning.

      It is of the nature of a sign, and in particular of a sign =
which
is rendered significant by a character which lies in the fact that it
will be interpreted as a sign. Of course, nothing is a sign unless it is
interpreted as a sign; but the character which causes it to be
interpreted as referring to its object may be one which might belong to
it irrespective of its object and though that object had never existed,
or it may be in a relation to its object which it would have just the
same whether it were interpreted as a sign or not. But the thema of
Burgersdicius seems to be a sign which, like a word, is connected with
its object by a convention that it shall be so understood, *or else by a
natural instinct or intellectual act* which takes it as a representative
of its object without any action necessarily taking place which could
establish a factual connection between sign and object. If this was the
meaning of Burgersdicius, his thema is the same as the present writer's
"symbol." [CP 2.307]

-----------------<

Peirce's definitions, though numerous and not always consistent with
one another, so far exceed in delicacy of thought and precision those of
most writers on "meaning," that it is foolish to ignore them.  Thanks to
Wharton for referring to them, if not entirely correctly.

Seth





------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Buy Ink Cartridges or Refill Kits for your HP, Epson, Canon or Lexmark
Printer at MyInks.com. Free s/h on orders $50 or more to the US & Canada.
http://www.c1tracking.com/l.asp?cid=5511
http://us.click.yahoo.com/mOAaAA/3exGAA/qnsNAA/9rHolB/TM
---------------------------------------------------------------------~->

(c) 2002 by Analytic
http://analytic.ontologically.com/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/analytic/


Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
J***@aol.com
2003-11-28 20:34:53 UTC
Permalink
Loading...