[lit-ideas] Re: Meaning = Use?

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 08:28:02 +0100

JLS recites:

>McEvoy's second point:

"(2) the idea that the sense of expressions may be said in terms of some  
relevant "rules" is overturned when we see it shown that no "rule" (e.g. 
"Take a  number and continue to add 2") ever says its own sense nor can the 
sense of a  "rule" ever be said by some appeal to a further or meta-rule 
that  meta-rule would also fail to say its own sense. In the later W's 
approach,  idiomatic expressions like "Get you" are no more problematic than 
what might  appear to be "literal expressions" like "I get a taxi to work 
everyday": they  are all on a level as none stand in need of theoretical 
explanation (beyond what  may be shown as to their use) and none are capable of 
being explained or their  sense said (beyond what may be shown as to their 

JLS then comments:
"This seems to reject analyticity with regard to 'get you'."

It seems to me "analyticity" is beside the point: W's main point is that sense 
can only be shown not said. It might be added (though it is implicit in the 
claim that a "meta-rule would also fail to say its own sense"), that while W of 
course accepts we often 'use words to explain the meaning of other words' his 
view is that we are using words to show the sense and that the words will not 
say the sense. This idea, that fundamentally words only show their meaning 
(usually via their use) and do not say it [and hence can only show the meaning 
of other words and do not say that meaning], does not involve "analyticity" in 
traditional terms: if you give someone who has no acquaintance with 
number-systems a proposition like "2 + 2 = 4" you cannot convey its meaning 
through "analyticity" but only by showing its use (the explanation of its 
meaning in terms of "analyticity" is parasitic upon meaning that has been 
already shown as to the use of the terms involved).
 It is obvious that the sense of an expression like "Get you" cannot be 
conveyed by mere "analyticity"; and a dispute as to whether it is analytic (or 
not) is a philosophers' dispute that is parasitic on meaning that is already 
established without involving any philosophical notion of "analytic".


On Monday, 29 September 2014, 5:27, David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx> 

On Sep 27, 2014, at 6:53 PM, (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC) 

>which leads me to a note I received yesterday about a forthcoming symposium 
>or workshop (as I think they called it) and was wondering what Popper 
>would say  about the meaning of 'empire' that we were discussing with L. Helm 
>sometime ago.  "Imperialism of Science". 

Background to your conference invitation:

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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