An Operational Definition of "Meaning"


Meaning: the experience produced by the interaction between memory and stimuli caused by human action in time. This definition survives criticism even if the action is purely passive observation. All symbols for meaning are constructed from some set of analogies to experience. These constructs evolve through repetition and loading, until their constituent causal relations are lost, and all that remains is the habituated experience caused by the term. At which point ‘meaning’ is a purely experiential, rather than constructive. At that point, reason no longer can be said to apply. If one cannot explain something in analogies to experience, where analogies to experience are statements in operational language, one does not understand the terms one uses. They are merely experiential metaphors, used to transfer experiences rather than causal properties independent of experiences.


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