Among the many evils which prevail under the sun, the abuse of words is not the least considerable. By the influence of time, and the perversion of fashion, the plainest and most unequivocal may be so altered, as to have a meaning assigned them almost diametrically opposite to their original signification.
He is the intermediary between us, his audience, the living, and they, the dolls, the undead, who cannot live at all and yet who mimic the living in every detail since, though they cannot speak or weep, still they project those signals of signification we instantly recognize as language.
In its primary signification, all vice, that is, all excess, brings on its own punishment, even here. By certain fixed, settled and established laws of Him who is the God of nature, excess of every kind destroys that constitution which temperance would preserve. The debauchee offers up his body a "living sacrifice to sin.
Charles Caleb Colton
Since reasoning , or inference, the principal subject of logic, is an operation which usually takes place by means of words , and in complicated cases can take place in no other way: those who have not a thorough insight into both the signification and purpose of words, will be under chances, amounting almost to certainty, of reasoning or inferring incorrectly.
John Stuart Mill
Rather than protecting music as a sublimely meaningless activity that has managed to escape social signification, I insist on treating it as a medium that participates in social formation by influencing the ways we perceive our feelings, our bodies, our desires, our very subjectivities - even if it does so surreptitiously, without most of us knowning how. It is too important a cultural force to be shrouded by mystified notions of Romantic transcendence.
It seems to me that it was well said by Madama Serenissima, and insisted on by your reverence, that the Holy Scripture cannot err, and that the decrees therein contained are absolutely true and inviolable. But I should have in your place added that, though Scripture cannot err, its expounders and interpreters are liable to err in many ways; and one error in particular would be most grave and most frequent, if we always stopped short at the literal signification of the words.
The laws of Coexistence;-the adaptation of structure to function; and to a certain extent the elucidation of natural affinities may be legitimately founded upon the examination of fully developed species;-But to obtain an insight into the laws of development,-the signification or bedeutung, of the parts of an animal body demands a patient examination of the successive stages of their development, in every group of Animals.
What is so special about a title? The mode and significance of titles have changed with the change in the lyrical traditions. So these transitions in style and the art of signification are all collective. What has never changed is the author's intentionality in entitling his works. The art of giving a title to a piece of work is entirely conscious. The author chooses, exercises his will in giving a title to his work.
Toutes les erreurs de la critique commises e mon egard, e mes debuts, furent qu'elle ne vit pas qu'il ne fallait rien definir, rien comprendre, rien limiter, rien preciser, parce que tout ce qui est since¨rement et docilement nouveau - comme le beau d'ailleurs, porte sa signification en soi-meªme. La designation par un titre mis e mes dessins est quelquefois de trop, pour ainsi dire. Le titre n'y est justifie que lorsqu'il est vague, indetermine, et visant meªme confusement e l'equivoque. Mes dessins inspirent et ne se definissent pas. Ils ne determinent rien. Ils nous placent, ainsi que la musique, dans le monde ambigu de l'indetermine. Ils sont une sorte de metaphore.
FV: Annandale defines 'definition' as "an explanation of the signification of a term." Yet Oxford, on the other hand, defines it as "a statement of the precise meaning of a word." A small, perhaps negligible difference you might think. And neither, would you say, is necessarily more correct than the other? But now look up each of the words comprising each definition, and then the definitions of those definitions, and so on. Some still may only differ slightly, while others may differ quite a lot. Yet any discrepancy, large or small, only compounds that initial difference further and further, pushing each 'definition' farther apart. How similar are they then at the end of this process... assuming it ever would end? Could we possibly even be referring to the same word by this point? And we still haven't considered what Collins here... or Gage, or Funk and Wagnalls might have to say about it. Off on enough tangents and you're eventually led completely off track. ML: Or around in circles. FV: Precisely! ML: Oxford, though, is generally considered the authority, isn't it? FV: Well, it's certainly the biggest... the most complete. But then, that truly is your vicious circle - every word defined... every word in every definition defined... around and around in an infinite loop. Truly a book that never ends. A concise or abridged dictionary may, at least, have an out... ML: I wonder, then, what the smallest possible "complete dictionary" would be? Completely self-contained, that is, with every word in every definition accounted for. How many would that be, do you suppose? Or, I guess more importantly, which ones? FV: Well, that brings to mind another problem. You know that Russell riddle about naming numbers?
Mort W. Lumsden