On 10/30/2012 3:05 PM, meekerdb wrote:
[SPK] Unless multiple entities can agree that the sequence of symbols "17 is prime" is an indicator of some particular mathematical object and one of its particular properties, then how does "17 is prime" come to mean anything at all?


I agree with that. But you're talking about the tokens "17 is prime" not the concept that 17 is prime. Could not a person who grew up alone on an island realize that 17 has no divisors, and he could even invent a private language in which he could write down Peano's axioms.

Why are you using such trivial and parochial framing for abstract questions? Why the reference to single individuals? Did you not understand that I am claiming that meaningfulness requires at least the possibility of interaction between many entities such that each can evaluate the truth value of a proposition and thus can truthfully claim to have knowledge of true statements? A person that grew and died on a desert island may have discovered for itself that 17 objects cannot be divided into equal subsets, but our statements about that are mere figemnts of our imagination as we could know nothing objective and non-imaginative at all about that person. We are imagining ourselves to have powers that we simply do not have. We are not omniscient voyeurs of Reality and there is not anything that is.

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Onward!

Stephen


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