Situations, Topoi, and Dispositions
Submitting to the dualism of the rationalistic tradition of thought and its notions of some (objective) reality and the (subjective) conceptions of it, BARWISE/PERRY (1983) have presented a new approach to formal semantics which, essentially, can still be considered a mapping of this duality, mediated though by their notion of situation. Within their relational model of meaning, any language expression is tied to reality in two ways: by the discourse situation allowing its meaning being interpreted and by the described situation allowing its interpretation being evaluated truth-functionally. This is achieved by recognizing similarities or invariants between situations that structure a system’s surrounding environments (or fragments thereof). Mapping these invariants as uniformities across situations, cognitive systems attuned to them are able to identify and understand those bits of information which appear to be essential to form these systems’ particular view of reality: a flow of types of situations related by uniformities like individuals, relations, and time-space-locations which constrain “a world teaming with meaning”1 to become interpretable fragments as persistent courses of events.
KeywordsCognitive System Situation Semantic Linguistic Entity Phenomenological Interpretation Discourse Situation
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