[lit-ideas] 'Significant' "Significant"

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 09:12:23 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 7/24/2012 3:37:14 A.M.  Eastern Daylight Time, 
cblitid@xxxxxxxx writes:
interested in what's  "culturally,
historically, or aesthetically significant",  

Part of the problem is Grice.
Grice read Peirce, and found him confusing ('crypto-technical'). Peirce was 
 adapting the Greco-Roman terminology of semeion-signum. Instead, Grice 
preferred  the Anglo-Saxonism, 'mean' -- and, to some, he failed.
In Greco-Roman parlance,
x is significans
iff x signifies.
Notably, for the Greeks (and later the Romans) there were two types of  
a word, which signifies a thought -- as the word "love" which is  
significant of the thought, 'love'.
a thought, which signifies a thing -- as the thought of love usually  
correlates with the act of love.
From there, it is not difficult to modify the 'significans' into:
aesthetic significans
historic significans
cultural significans
--- and so on.
Note that the opposite is cultural, historic, and aesthetic  INsignificans.
Note that unlike "semein", which is Greek for 'signify', the Romans add,  
typically, since they were go-getters, practical types, the idea of 'make' 
(the  "-fy", in "signify"). So the question, in Roman, is _what is this making 
a sign  of?
Note that one of Grice's examples does not apply: a rainbow signifies rain  
has occurred -- i.e. besides cultural, historic and aesthetic significans,  
there's NATURAL significance (of things) -- or insignificans.
Grice's example:
"Those spots signify measles -- to the doctor; but not to me. To me, the  
spots were naturally insignificant".
For Grice, the test is factiveness.
If those spots signify measles, then the boy has measles.
This for NATURAL significans -- for historical, cultural or aesthetic  
significans the standard is NON-factiveness, usually ("The significance of  
Napoleon", "The significance of "the Mona Lisa"", "The significance of "Elvis  
Presley"", and so on.)
To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: