Representation, of the object or person. The intentional approach

Representation,
meaning and language is an article that gives a deeper insight into how meaning
is created through representation and is used to communicate between members of
a society using images, signs and language. Three approaches used to explain
representation of meaning through language in the world are presented. The
reflective, intentional and constructionist approach.

            The reflective approach is said to
imitate the true meaning of the object or person. The intentional approach is
the opposite of the reflective, where the meaning is applied to the object. The
constructionist approach states that we create meaning and apply it to the
object. The way the constructionist approach is defined and elaborated on makes
it seem like the only right approach to how we attach meaning to things through
language. We do not truly know what the object is, so we attach a meaning to it
to enable us to communicate about it. For example, we cannot ask a mouse what
it would like to be called, therefore we construct a meaning for it through
language to allow us to be able to talk about the mouse to others. This is done
for everything that exists, we create meaning and names for everything so we can
communicate more effectively.

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            Stuart addresses signs later,
specifically using traffic lights for his example. The same theory he applies
for traffic lights could apply to the constructionist approach on how we give
words and meanings to things. Though when he talks about how any of the lights
can be interchanged and could still have the same effect, I disagree. After
getting comfortable knowing that red is stop, green is go and orange is to slow
down, people are not going to make a change instantly to a different series of
colors meaning different things. This is like beginning to call computers chairs
and bottles mice. We have grown comfortable with the words we have attached to
different things it would be almost impossible to change the meaning of a word
and attach it unto something else. The examples he gave as well of changes were
not really changes, it was more of a divergent in a culture that did not affect
the overall meaning of the word. At this point in time, it would be next to
impossible to change the true meaning of a word that was constructed for a
specific thing. There might be fads in different culture to give a word a
different meaning, but it would never be accepted by everyone.

            I really enjoyed this reading,
specifically the constructionist approach section, though it was short. It
makes you realize how using language, we construct meaning to objects or ideas
and represent them with certain words. This is then shared through various
cultures who might interpret the word differently, but it retains the original
meaning created.