I’m going to begin this post by pondering a deep philosophical conundrum (hopefully, you will find some method in my rambling madness as you read on): I want to discuss the meaning of meaning.
Ludwig Wittgenstein begins the Philosophical Investigations (1953), perhaps one of the greatest works of 20th Century philosophy, by quoting Saint Augustine:
When they (my elders) named some object, and accordingly moved towards something, I saw this and I grasped that the thing was called by the sound they uttered when they meant to point it out. Their intention was shewn by their bodily movements . . . I gradually learnt to understand what objects they signified; and after I had trained my mouth to form these signs, I used them to express my own desires.
— Confessions (397 CE), I.8
Wittgenstein uses it to illustrate a simple model of language where words are defined ostensively i.e…
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