The introduction to a logical concept of meaning


The traditional semantic is based on the supposition of two ontological levels - a world and a language - and understands semantic symptoms as mutual mappings between the phenomena of the world and the expressions of the language: expressions express phenomena on the one hand, phenomena are the meanings of the expressions on the other.
The assumed semantic here is fundamentally different. It presupposes that world and language cannot be separated in semiotic terms. There is only one category, namely a system of signs (called assertions). Semantic relations do only exist as relations between the signs of a given system. The fundamental principle is thus: the meaning of an assertion is also an assertion, and of the same system. Semantic relations do not exist as identities, established between world and language, but exclusively as differences within a net of signs. The opposition principle demands even more: the constituents (called bit variables) of the meaning of a given assertion are exactly the constituents of the sign system, which are not the constituents of the assertion itself.
But with that a formal concept of meaning is still underdetermined and further postulates are proposed, especially the verification principle: the meaning of a given assertion is a (most general) case, for which the assertion becomes true. In that way a meaning function can actually be defined. This even possesses the powerful property, that the traditional truth concept of formal logic can be completely embedded into the new developed concept of meaning, so that truth now only appears as a borderline case of meaning.

The text

IntroMeaning.pdf (185 KB)
IntroMeaning.ps (203 KB)
IntroMeaning.dvi (66 KB)

finished May 1997, first published November 1999, 20 pages


For the original german version of this text see Die Einführung eines logischen Bedeutungsbegriffs. For a formal elaboration of the concepts introduced in this text see The logical concept of meaning.

[home] [blog]