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How theories of meaning resemble attributed situations: methodological suggestions for representing how people conceive the contents of theories of meaning, extracting signifiers’ identity conditions, and measuring domains for allowed influences

Rissanen, S. (2020) How theories of meaning resemble attributed situations: methodological suggestions for representing how people conceive the contents of theories of meaning, extracting signifiers’ identity conditions, and measuring domains for allowed influences. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis develops methods for representing how the contents of theories of meaning become conceived by their users. These contents are treated as the range of systematically elicited conceptions afforded by a designated corpus of key texts. The approach being taken involves first detailing a formal scheme for the components of situations attributed to various entities (e.g. ‘your situation’). This scheme is then applied as a framing device to form a template which accounts for the shared structure between the mental spaces which embody how people conceive different theories of meaning. For the purposes of this task, cognition is treated as embodied in the sense that both the form and content of personal conceptualisations are largely dependent on what both bodily and ecological factors afford. The purpose of this approach is to help understand how theories operate when viewed as worldly entities within a materialist framework. The significance of such understanding lies in enabling analyses and comparisons which account for the effects of material restrictions such as how a theory’s presentation must necessarily be selective and how human cognition operates on models set by precedent. The framework being provided here allows the conceptions each individual theory of meaning elicits to be reduced to formal, commensurate models which account for differences between typical influences on the conceptions characteristic of different demographics such as experts of related fields. Approaching theories of meaning from this angle also reveals new avenues of comparison concerning otherwise implicit details. One involves theory-internal conditions on the full material identity of meaning-instantiating entities. The other concerns the extent of the domains for aggregating applicable influences for which a theory accounts and the range of those it may accommodate.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Borg, E.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Philosophy
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:96821

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