[ExI] meaning & symbols

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Wed Feb 3 03:44:54 UTC 2010

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> No matter what you may choose to call them, people do speak and understand word-symbols. The human mind thus "has semantics" and any coherent model of it must explain that plain fact.

I still can't see how the computationalist model fails here, but, more
significantly, I can't see why you think it does. Maybe if I went back
through the archives and read this whole discussion from the start,
but even I don't have that much free time.

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
>Spencer Campbell <lacertilian at gmail.com>:
>> You're correct in saying that sense symbols do not exist,
>> but only insofar as there aren't any symbols which DO exist.
> Hmm, I count 21 word-symbols in that sentence of yours.

And I count 23, because those apostrophes denote points where I've
smashed two discrete words together to save space. I could also get 25
by treating "insofar" as the full three words it's composed of.

Then again, it's really just an arbitrary convention that allows me to
do this, so if I change the convention I could just as easily count
"in saying that" (ins'ingt), "but only" ('tonly), and "insofar as
there" (you get the idea) as single word-symbols as well. There's also
an uncompressed "do not" in there, and the concept of sense symbols
might catch on to such an extent that we start talking about
sensesymbols instead!

So I might just as well say that there are only 14 word symbols in
that sentence. Then again, I only chose those particular words because
it struck me that I almost always put them together in just those
sequences. I could make any two words into one, if I don't care about
efficiency. Therefore, I could squeeze the whole sentence into a
single, magnificently specific word that I'll never, ever have a
chance to use again.

Conclusion: spaces are not (aren't) the be-all end-all demarcation
method of choice, and this is why the word counter in my command-line
shell comes up with a slightly different answer than the one built
into Google Docs.

By the first method this message weighs in at 368 words, whereas the
second confidently gives me a figure of 371.

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