The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search




13. ". .. a new Science . . . of Symbolism . . ."3
The Meaning of Meaning of Ogden and Richards marks an historical turning point in the history of semantics. Much work had been done on the merely verbal level; much work had been done on the merely psychological aspects of the uses of language; but the innovation of these authors lies in the fact that they relate words and thoughts to things.
It is very Important to keep In mind the restricted use of the key word "symbol" in the exposition of Ogden and Richards. Others, notably Charles Morris, use the term in a much broader way.
For Ogden and Richards, the term "symbol" is used only for such words as refer to things, situations, events, etc.
The new science of symbolism is, therefore, restricted to that area of semantics which is concerned with words that refer through thoughts to things, etc.
Any word that refers to a feeling or an attitude is not a symbol. In the sentence This is good "this" is a symbol only If it refers to a thingsituation, event, etc., in the outside worldan apple, a boy, a symphony, a tree, a chair, etc. "Is good" has "no symbolic function," these authors say, since it serves only to express an attitude,
* The Meaning of Meaning, p. 242.
43