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Theories of Meaning

Theories of Meaning

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Theories of Meaning

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  1. Theories of Meaning • Referential Theory of Meaning • Verification Theory. • Use Theory of Meaning • Speech-act Theory of Meaning • Hermeneutic Theory of Meaning • Post-Modern Approach

  2. Theories of Meaning (Contd.) • Freudian Theory of Meaning • Emotive Theory of Meaning • Prescriptive Theory of Meaning. • Spota Theory of Meaning • Literal vrs Metaphoric Meaning • Meta-message

  3. Referential Theory • We mean what we say. • Word designates objects. • Facts are relation between objects. • Sentences capture the relations of objects • A true statement corresponds to facts.

  4. Verification Theory • Logical Positivists Account: Verification Theory of Meaning. • There are two types of sentences: Formal and Empirical. • Formal sentences have meaning because of the definitions of the terms. • The meaning of Empirical sentences lie in their verification.

  5. Verification Theory (con…) • Verification-in principle, in practice. • Meaning lies in its truth-condition. • Falsifiability Criterion of Meaning.

  6. Use Theory • Meaning of a word lies in its Use • Conventions and traditions play an important role (e.g. pankaja, akalmand) • Not every word stands for objects. • World of fiction, ethics, dance, music, aesthetics etc. do not have referents.

  7. Speech-Act Theory • Speaking is a performance • In speaking we do certain things, e.g., promise, request, question, assertion etc. • Locutions, Illocutions and Perlocutions

  8. Hermeneutic Theory • Meaning lies in Interpretation. • Speech is a part of Discourse. • What comes first and what comes later would matter. • Customs/traditions help us in Interpretation. • There can be radical Interpretation

  9. Post-Modern Approach • The Author Is Dead • Everything is a “Text”. • Interpretation/Re-interpretation is inevitable. • You never read the same text twice the same way.

  10. Freudian Theory • Human Mind is Complex. • You may not know your own intention. • Sub-conscious intention can interfere. • Strong Unfulfilled desires are repressed. • Deconstruction.

  11. Emotive Theory • Emotion attached to the sentence is the meaning. • “Children are lovely” means that you have favorable emotion towards children. You have favorable attitude towards them. • “Truth is beauty” expresses certain attitude towards reality.

  12. Emotive Theory (Contd..) • Emotions could be negative or positive. • A gift is meaningful if you love it. • You would like to avoid an occasion where you feel uncomfortable. • You are sentimentally attached to the belongings of your parents.

  13. Prescriptive Theory • When we claim that health is good, we recommend that good health be achieved. • When we say that smoking bad, we mean that we condemn smoking.

  14. Spota Theory • Words and sentences have their power. • Meaning is this power. • Word meaning/Sentence meaning. • Meaning is a whole. • E.g. Touch me not is a medicinal plant grown in my garden.

  15. Literal vrs Metaphoric Meaning • A Metaphor cuts across the categories • Some ideas can be expressed only through metaphors • Turia state in Upanisad is compared to deep sleep state. • Sub-atomic structure to solar system. • Human nature to traits of animals and birds. • Meta-Message.

  16. Open-Ended Meta-Message • Communication is necessarily incomplete. • What is unsaid is left open. • There is silence before the speech and the speech is terminated in silence. • Past overshadows the present and expectation interferes with the perception of the present. • People know how to read between the lines. • Un-intended signals.