Monday, August 27, 2012

Meaning and use

Consider the thesis:

  1. The meaning of a word is defined by how it is used.
This thesis seems false. I hereby stipulate that "Xozhik" is a name for me. As soon as I have made the stipulation, "Xozhik" has acquired a meaning. However the word did not get used, but was only mentioned, and it could be that nobody ever uses it.

This nit-picking point does not affect more sophisticated theses about meaning and use.


Dan Lower said...

Didn't you use the word in writing that sentence? Or does use have a different meaning in this context?

Alexander R Pruss said...

No, I only mentioned it. That's why there are quotation marks there.

TP said...

Neat point, Xozhik.

Alexander R Pruss said...

And now the argument doesn't work. :-)