ERIC Number: ED240506
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Jan
Reference Count: 0
Some Remarks on How Words Mean. Technical Report No. 307.
Green, Georgia M.
Most of the ordinary words in a language do not mean; rather, they act as rigid designators, referring to the same object in all possible words in which the object exists. Most words are names that are used as rigid designators of kinds--natural kinds (species, genre, and so forth), artifacts, physical and social magnitudes, and sorts of activities, states, properties, situations, and events. As they designate kinds, it does not make sense to speak of them as having senses or meanings. Although it is appropriate to say that some words (e.g., orphan, kill, or pediatrician) have a sense of meaning that might change with time, kind-name references change, apparently, because the kind has changed, not the term. A few words seem to lack not only sense, but also reference. Some (e.g., all or and) have this property because they are syncategorematic, but contribute to the semantics of an expression according to logical rules. Others (e.g., yikes, damn, or the) do not contribute to the sense at all, but only to the pragmatics, that is what is to be inferred from what was said by reference to the conditions governing the use of such words. It is therefore folly to assume that the reference of most words is determined by their sense of intention. (HOD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Identifiers: Rigid Designators