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LINGUIST List 20.708

Thu Mar 05 2009

Diss: Philosophy of Lang/Semantics: Ferreira: 'On Meaning: The ...'

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        1.    Isabel Ferreira, On Meaning: The phenomenon of individuation and the definition of a world view

Message 1: On Meaning: The phenomenon of individuation and the definition of a world view
Date: 05-Mar-2009
From: Isabel Ferreira <aldinhasferreiragmail.com>
Subject: On Meaning: The phenomenon of individuation and the definition of a world view
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Institution: Universidade de Lisboa
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Isabel Aldinhas Ferreira

Dissertation Title: On Meaning: The phenomenon of individuation and the definition of a world view

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                            Philosophy of Language

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Portuguese (por)

Dissertation Director:
João Malaca Casteleiro

Dissertation Abstract:

Meaning, the complex phenomenon of individuation and the definition of
identity are the core theme of this work, constituted by three parts, that
though interconnected preserve their own specific substance.

The first part lays the basic epistemologic foundations on which the two
subsequent parts are grounded. This theoretical framework gives particular
emphasis to the semiotic process common to all forms of cognition and from
which the genesis of meaning emerges. Human cognition is conceived here as
a particular form of cognition, one that characterises organisms that in
the course of their interactions, produce symbolic forms, defining the
specific physical, social, cultural and linguistic environments in which
they evolve.

In the second part individuation is presented as inherent to the semiotic
process that grounds any form of cognition. A phenomenon that in the case
of human cognition is complex and double-sided. It involves on one side the
definition of semantic identities and their acknowledgment as world
objects-naming;on the other it comprehends the specific lexical and
morphosyntactic strategies different languages have envisaged to refer to
specific entities- referring.

The definition of world objects and their symbolic translation presents
variations from language to language. In the second part we define what we
call 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.

Finally, in the third part, we reflect on the contribution of research,
carried out in lexical semantics,to a better understanding of the substance
and structure of lexical meaning, and we argue for a 'bird's eye view', a
detached view over the lexicon. We take the four layered lexical
representation, present in Pustejovsky's Generative Lexicon, as an example
of how lexical semantic information should be (re)presented.

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