On Meaning: Individuation and Identity—The Definition of a World View
Author: Maria Isabel Aldinhas Ferreira
Date Of Publication: Jun 2011
Meaning, the complex phenomenon of individuation and the definition of identity are the core theme of this work. Grounded on a theoretical framework that gives particular emphasis to the semiotic process common to all forms of cognition, human cognition is conceived here as specific of organisms that, in the course of their interactions, produce symbolic forms, defining the specific physical, social and cultural environments in which they evolve.
Individuation, inherent to that semiotic process, is complex and double-sided. It involves, on one hand, the definition of semantic identities and their acknowledgment as world objects – naming; on the other hand, it comprehends the specific lexical and morphosyntactic strategies different languages have found to designate particular entities – referring.
The definition of world objects and its symbolic translation presents variations from language to language. In the second part of the book, we define what we have called a “structure-motivated ontology” to represent how this symbolic translation is accomplished in English and European Portuguese. Plus, we try to show how the nature of this symbolic translation affects structural realisation, namely the individuation of reference and the construal of “one-off referring” expressions.
Maria Isabel Aldinhas Ferreira is a linguist. She is a member and researcher of the Centre of Philosophy at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and presently also a researcher at the Institute of Systems and Robotics, Instituto Superior Técnico-Lisbon. The fundamental questions of cognition and meaning have always been at the core of her research work.
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