VIII Existence, negation and roles: Prolegomena to a pragmatic
theoryofdenotation and existential import in "negative
1. Introdudion. A new problem, its solution (in outline) and an auxiliary.
Having linked our discussion of linguistic interpretation to the Interpreter's
mental representations, rather than to "objective things" and "objective facts",
we are faced with the problem of (re)formulating all further semantic questions,
and answers to them, in an appropriate terminology. This we shall not try to
do in a general way. Our problem
This paper discusses the problems of an ontological value of the variable in Russell’s philosophy. The variable is essential in Russell’s theory of denotation, which among other things, purports to prove Meinongian being outside of subsistence and existence to be logically unnecessary. I argue that neither Russell’s epistemology nor his ontology can account for the ontological value of the variable without running into qualities of Meinongian being that Russell disputed. The problem is that the variable cannot be logically grounded by Russell’s theory of denotation. As such, in so far as being is concerned, Meinong and Russell’s theories are much closer than is typically thought. The arguments are supported with concerns raised by Russell, Frege, and Moore regarding the ontological value of the variable. The problem can be summarised as follows: the variable is the fundamental denoting-position of a formal theory that is meant to explain the structure of the ontological. If such a formal theory is meant to ground the ontological, then the formal must also represent the actual structure of the ontological. Yet the variable, the fundamental symbol of denotation in a theory that defines objects, is ontologically indefinable.
Nietzsche and James regard objects as produced by pragmatic
representational practices. But, instead of landing us in a nihilistic view of the world, both thinkers’
constructivism points the way toward finding meaning in our lives and in the world. Ivory Pribram’s essay,
like Remhof’s, takes a comparative approach, but this time to two giants of the analytic tradition: Meinong
and Russell. Pribram shows that Russell’s theoryofdenotation cannot ground the ontological value of
the variable unless it reconsiders some aspects of Meinong’s ontology that Russell himself
and connotation, which have been widely used
in the analysis of material culture; in particular I will be concerned with
Norman Bryson's reinterpretation of these concepts as they were devel-
oped by Barthes. In Vision and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze, Bryson
The pragmatic semiotics of cultures 53
(1983) locates his reformulation of Barthes's theoryofdenotation and
connotation in a broad critique of a Western ideology of the 'essential
copy', namely, the pervasive notion that constructed images are verisimi-
lar pictures of the world, apart from social
is at present working on his
book Syntactic Relations.
Sändor G.J. Hervey (b. 1942) is Research Fellow in the Department of Linguistics
at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. His principal research interests are in the
field of semantics and sign theory, with special reference to an axiomatic approach.
He has published an article "Notions in the manipulation of non-denotational meaning
in speech", La Linguistique 1971, 1, and he is working towards the publication of an
axiomatic theoryofdenotational semantics, which was initially submitted as an Oxford
(further illustrated below).
Barthes proposes the theoryofdenotation and connotation. Denotation is
the meaning produced by language structure itself and connotation is the
meaning produced by the socio-cultural environment outside language
structure. Barthes applies this theory to discourse analysis. His analysis is
divided into two stages: the first stage is called the primary order, and belongs
to the natural domain. In this stage, signs are on the surface level and produce
denotations. The next stage, the secondary order, belongs to the cultural
Jackson recognizes the uneasiness of linguists and logicians in the adversar-
ial setting of the courtroom, but nonetheless offers useful guidance across
this interdisciplinary bridge: 'Adjudicatory discourse does not stand to
doctrinal discourse as parole to langue. They are different semiotic systems,
with different communications networks, different objects, different codes'
(p. 56). Yet it is the shared elements that offer the special insight of one
who is student both of law and of language.
Much of the book describes and appraises
is the sine qua non of any theoryofdenotation, then, it is
claimed, mediation theory reduces to a special case of single stage theory.
If the second assumption is made, the theory presumes a restriction on
the definition of meaning at the outset which is necessarily inadequate.
It is clear that in that case where rm equals Rt we have nothing more
than a single stage theory. Put conversely, single stage theory is that
special case of mediation theory where rm is assumed equal to or equiva-
lent to Rt. On the other hand, mediation theory must assume that both
theory has two elements (or dimensions): a sub-theory of word formation, and a sub-theoryofdenotation (understood as the relationship between form and content). In Item-and-Arrangement theories, word formation proceeds incrementally , since every time a morpheme combines with a stem, both form and content features (i.e., morphs and grammatical properties) are added to the representation of a word. Moreover, each morpheme’s lexical entry specifies a correspondence (i.e., a denotation relationship) between form and content. In Process Morphology on the other hand, a
Logical Point of View (Harvard University
Press, Cambridge: 1953) , p. 34.
L - S E M A N T I C S 91
F . On Abstract Entities in Semantics . Before going on to a
discussion in the next chapter of various other definitions of being
analytic, let us consider briefly the role of abstract entities in
semantics as formalized by SMfc or SM£ above. We are speaking
here, as throughout, of semantics only in the sense of the theoryofdenotation or extension or reference, as it is variously called,
and not of the theory of meaning. The abstract entities we shall