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Formal Signs
December 19, 2008, 11:36 am
Filed under: Epistemology, Philosophical Anthropology

If you repeat the words ‘happy birthday’ over and over again, they’ll loose their meaning and become mere vocal sounds.  (Try it.)  They’ll no longer function as signs but become mere sounds.  (And not merely because you start to mumble.)

When someone walks up to you and says ‘happy birthday’, you do not focus on the sounds but on the meaning signified by them.  You attend to the meaning from the sounds.  But you could attend to the sounds and loose the message, if you wanted to.

When you see a tree, you attend from the changes in your eyes to the tree.  But, unlike with words, you cannot attend to the changes in your eyes.  (Except by cheating with a mirror.)  That’s part of the mystery of being embodied.


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