The relationship between language, thought and reality

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categorie: Engleza

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Sometimes, denotation is understood not only in its narrower sense which covers the relation between nouns or noun phrases and groups of individuals or objects, but also the relation between words belonging to other word classes and extra-linguistic phenomena they relate to. Thus, verbs denote situations, adjectives denote properties of individuals and objects and adverbs denote properties of situ[...]
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Sometimes, denotation is understood not only in its narrower sense which covers the relation between nouns or noun phrases and groups of individuals or objects, but also the relation between words belonging to other word classes and extra-linguistic phenomena they relate to. Thus, verbs denote situations, adjectives denote properties of individuals and objects and adverbs denote properties of situations.(Kortmann, 2005: 197)

The extension of "tiger" is the set of tigers in the real world. Intension corresponds to the inherent sense of a term, to the concept that is associated with it. For instance, the intension of woman involves notions like "female" or "human".
Two terms can have the same extension and yet differ in intension (meaning). For example, the compound terms "creature with a heart" and "creature with a kidney" have the same extension because (we assume that) every creature with a heart possesses a kidney and vice versa. Nevertheless the reverse is impossible: two terms cannot differ in extension and have the same intension.

Putnam (1975: 135) claims that this impossibility reflects the tradition of the ancient and medieval philosophers who assumed that the concept corresponding to a term was just a conjunction of terms, and hence that the concept corresponding to a term must always provide a necessary and sufficient condition for falling into the extension of the term.The term whose analysis caused all the discussions in medieval philosophy was GOD, thought to be defined through the conjunctions of the terms "Good", "Powerful", "Omniscient".

The philosopher Putnam supports Frege's view/stand against psychologism according to which the psychological state of the speaker determines the intension of a term and hence, its extension. He argues that extension is not determined by psychological state.
Extension is determined socially (is a problem of sociolinguistics) and indexically and in its turn determines intension.

If concepts (intensions) were more important than extensions (then we would expect that when concepts associated with a term no longer applied to the members of its extension) , then that term would be replaced by another to refer to the extension. Knowing the meaning of a word is to acquire a word, i.e. to associate it with the right concept.
2.2 Sign-sense-reference (referent)
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