Ferdinand de Saussure - Wikiquote
2 Quotes about Ferdinand de Saussure; 3 External links The aim of general synchronic linguistics is to set up the fundamental principles of any idiosynchronic. One question is whether synchronic and diachronic identity are different kinds of identity. This section opened with a quote from David Lewis claiming that there is Each thing trivially stands in the relation of identity to itself. A synchronic relationship is one where two similar things exist at the same time. Modern American English and British English have a synchronic relationship.
Then Tcup fails to qualify as a cup at t when it is a proper part of Cup. In that case a relative identity theorist can say the following.
Moreover, for any kind K, Cup is not the same K as Tcup at t. Some of those who reject relative identity nevertheless accept that a cannot be identical with b, unless there is a more specific answer to the question whether a is the same thing as b.
Many philosophers distinguish between two kinds of concepts which are applicable to whatever can persist through time. One kind is illustrated by the concepts of gold as opposed to a quantity or piece of goldsnow, or rain.
In the case of any such concept F, there is no answer to the question: In contrast, in the case of other concepts such as the concept of a horse, a tall person, an artwork, or a statue there is an answer to the question: For example, though we may not know it, there is an answer to the question: Concepts of this last kind are often referred to as sortal concepts.
Those who take the view that the question whether a is the same as b is illegitimate, unless it is construed as elliptical for the question whether a is the same thing of such and such a kind as b typically also hold the following views. We should distinguish between two types of sortal concepts: A phase sortal such as child, utensil or prize is a concept that something can cease to fall under without ceasing to exist.
If, in contrast, something falls under a substance sortal, it must always do so. Moreover, a substance sortal is said to go together with a criterion of identity where a criterion of identity associated with substance sortal S is, inter alia, a criterion for some earlier S being the same S as some later S. Finally, there are a group of issues that fall under the heading of the dispensability of identity.
According to one tradition that goes back, at least, to Wittgenstein's Tractatus, we can theoretically dispense with identity talk without loss of information.
Issues about the dispensability of identity engage with issues about identity across time in the following way. This section opened with a quote from David Lewis claiming that there is never any philosophical problem about identity. The case of Cup and Tcup raises what is ostensibly a problem about identity across time. That problem only arises, it seems, because the later Cup is putatively identical with the earlier Tcup. If the problem is not, in part, about that putative identity holding, what is it about?
According to a four dimensionalist like David Lewis a table is extended through the time of its life, and constituted from temporal parts which are themselves short lived tables.
As such a four dimensionalist like Lewis would not hesitate to give the following answer to the above question. If we are not prepared to endorse four dimensionalism, it remains to be seen how the putative problem about Cup and Tcup's identity through time can be reformulated so that it is no longer a problem about identity through time.
An example of an identity holding at a single time is: An example of an identity holding across different times is: The table in the next room is identical with the one you purchased last year. Diachronic identities pose some of the most intractable problems about identity.
Before looking at those problems, and some of the most frequently proposed solutions to them, let us ask whether there is anything that distinguishes identity from other relations. The most commonly agreed on distinguishing feature of identity is that it conforms to the Indiscernibility of Identicals, what was earlier called Leibniz's Law.
It is symmetrical if a's standing in R to b implies that b stands in R to a. It is transitive if a's standing in R to b and b's likewise standing in R to c together imply that a stands in R to c. Identity is trivially reflexive. Each thing trivially stands in the relation of identity to itself. That identity is also symmetrical and transitive follows from Leibniz's Law. Suppose identity fails to be symmetrical, and for some a and b, a is identical with b, but b is not identical with a.
In that case, a has a property, being identical with b, which b fails to have. Suppose identity is not transitive, and, for some a, b and c, a is identical with b and b is identical with c, but a is not identical with c.
In that case b has a property, being identical with c, that a lacks. The Problem of Temporary Intrinsics Identity through time generates a number of problems posed by puzzle cases such as the case of Cup and Tcup. Later we will review a number of solutions to those problems offered in the literature. One problem about identity through time is not raised by consideration of puzzle cases.
It arises simply because persisting things can change their intrinsic properties. For that reason it has been labeled by David Lewis the problem of temporary intrinsics Lewis— A decent test for distinguishing between extrinsic and intrinsic properties is this. A property F is an extrinsic property of an object o if o having F implies that something distinct from, and not a proper part of, o exists.
For example, being married to Sally is an extrinsic property of John's since John can only have that property if something, Sally, distinct from, and not a proper part, of him exists. A property F is an intrinsic property of o if and only if o having F is compatible with nothing apart from o and its proper parts existing, and also compatible with something apart from o existing.
For example, the property of being round is an intrinsic property because a surface S having that property is compatible with nothing other than S and its proper parts existing.
Here is one reason why this is only a rough way of drawing the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties. It looks as though the property of existing in complete isolation, which Lewis calls loneliness, is extrinsic. Nevertheless being, in this sense, lonely is not only compatible with, but requires that nothing else exists. For more discussion, see the entry on intrinsic vs. Suppose some object, a metal plate we will call Plate, changes from being round at t1 to being square at t2.
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How can that be? After all, though something can have a round part and a square part, nothing can be round and square. No problem, you might say. Nothing can be round and square at a single time, place and world. But something can be round at one time and square at another. According to Lewis the original problem of temporary intrinsics remains, unless we can show how something can have incompatible properties at different times.
To show how that can be so we need to give at least a partial answer to the following question. What is it for something to have a property at a time? According to the first for some object O to be F at t is for the relation of being F to tenselessly, or timelessly, hold between O and time t.
For example, for Plate to be round at t1 is for the two-place relation of being round at to hold between Plate and t1. Something can stand in the relation of being round at to the earlier time t1 without standing in that relation to the later time t2. So there is no reason to think that standing in the relation of being round at to t1 is incompatible with standing in the relation of being square at to t2. By transmuting the ostensibly one place relational properties of being round and being square into the two place relational properties of being round at and being square at we can show how something can be round at one time and square at another.
Lewis' principle objection to this first solution is that it transforms intrinsic into extrinsic properties. He takes it as evident that properties such as being round and being red are intrinsic.
Call the view that putatively one place intrinsic properties are two place relational properties the relational view. Why does Lewis so adamantly reject that view? One difficulty with answering this question is a difficulty about locating the source of Lewis' disquiet with the relational view.
Is it that Lewis rejects the relational view because it treats putatively intrinsic properties as extrinsic, or because it discerns an extra place in a putatively monadic property?
That it is the latter is suggested by the following. The problem of temporary intrinsics appears to arise because nothing can have the intrinsic properties of being round and being square, unless it has those properties at different times. The same goes for pairs of extrinsic properties. The property of being the same height as the Eiffel Tower is extrinsic as is the property of being different in height from the Eiffel Tower. Something can change from being the same height as the Eiffel Tower to being different in height from that structure even though nothing can simultaneously have the properties of being the same height as, and being different in height from, the Eiffel Tower.
Suppose we say that something can be the same height as the Eiffel Tower at some time t1 without being the same height as the Eiffel tower at some distinct time t2.
In that case we appear to be confronted with the same problem as the one that originally raised the problem of temporary intrinsics. We are confronted with the task of explaining what it is for something to have, in this case, the property of being the same height as the Eiffel Tower at time t1. If we respond, it is for the three place relation of being the same height as at to hold between some object, the Eiffel Tower, and time t1 we are, treating an ostensibly two place relation as a three place one even though we are not treating an intrinsic property as extrinsic.
Lewis considers an alternative explanation of what it is for an object to have a property at a time. We are used to something having a property according to one story, but failing to have that property according to another. If we think of a time as a set of propositions describing what holds at that time, we can say that according to one such set plate is round, but according to another it is square.
Lewis gives the according to explanation short shrift. We may think it cannot be so readily dismissed if it is combined with a view about existence and time that has received considerable discussion in recent years. The view is called Presentism. On the Presentist view the only things that exist without qualification are things that presently exist. Suppose t1, a time when Plate is round, is the present.
In that case if Plate is ever square it will be, or was square. What is it for Plate to be round?
Given that plate is presently round what makes it the case that Plate is round is not just that Plate is round according to some set of propositions about the present. Instead what makes it the case that Plate is presently round is that plate exists and is round. So, what makes it the case that Plate, say, will be square? Not, the Presentist will say, this: Plate tenselessly or timelessly exists, and will be square. So what makes it the case that Plate will be square?
What makes it true that Plate will be square is that Plate is square according to some relevant future tensed presently existing propositions. Here is one reason why we might think that Presentism does not, in the end, help with the problem of temporary intrinsics.
Suppose that, at t1, we send a circular object forward in time to t2. At t2 the shape of the circular object changes so that it becomes elliptical.
Retaining its elliptical shape the object is sent back to t1. Even if Presentism is true at t1 we have an object with incompatible intrinsic properties. Of course, to embrace this combination of an according to explanation with Presentism is to embrace just one of a number of options available to the Presentist for giving the truthmakers of future and past tense propositions. Presentists can deny that it follows from something at one time being round that will at another time be square that there exists something both round and square.
In his original exposition of the problem of temporary intrinsics, Lewis does not consider a variety of other ways of understanding sentences attributing ostensibly intrinsic properties to objects at times.
Many take it that a relation of instantiation holds between a property and its instances. Suppose instantiation is not a two place, but, at least, a three place relation holding between an object, property and time. If so, Plate is round at t1 if and only if Plate stands in the instantiation relation to the non-relational property of roundness and t1. Moreover Plate standing in the instantiation relation to roundness and t1 is clearly consistent with Plate failing to stand in the instantiation relation to roundness and the different time t2.
The key difference between this view and the relational view that Lewis considers is the following. On the relational view we take an ostensibly non-relational property such as being circular to be relational and extrinsic [extrinsic because having it requires an object to stand in a relation to a time].
On the instantiation view we are taking something, the instantiation relation, that is already an extrinsic relation to have an extra place. So, our intuitions about what counts as an intrinsic non-relational property are not violated.
Plate, on this view, can be round at t1, but square at t2 because Plate can have roundness at t1-ly without having roundness at-t2-ly See JohnstonHaslanger Solutions to the problem of temporary intrinsics abound. Here is another that treats being true and being false as three place relations between propositions, facts and times. We should distinguish between a property of a proposition, and a property that is a constituent of a proposition. Being a proposition is a property of ibut is not a constituent of i.
In contrast, being round is a constituent of ibut is not a property of i. Propositions have no shape. Can we hold that i and ii are both true compatibly with taking roundness and squareness to be intrinsic properties?
Synchrony and Diachrony
It is plausible to suppose that that the truth value of a proposition such as i or ii depends on the existence of something distinct from that proposition. Since that is so, let us, as some adherents of a correspondence theory of truth would do, allow that if isay, is true, it has a relational property of being true.
For example being true may be a relation that holds between i and the fact that Plate is round. How many places are there in what we may call the truth relation? It is often though to be a two place relation. Suppose that is wrong, and truth is a three place relation holding between a proposition, fact and time.
In that case, the three place relation of truth can hold between ithe fact that Plate is round, and t1, without holding between ithe same fact and t2. Of course whether this is a solution to the problem of temporary intrinsics depends on what that problem is.Synchronic vs Diachronic
It is a solution if the problem is to explain time indexing without turning intrinsic into extrinsic properties. After all, no correspondance theorist would allow truth is an intrinsic property.
It is not a solution if the problem is to explain time indexing without adding extra places to, it may be, relational properties. Alternatively, we can follow Haslanger in Haslanger and Lowe in Lowe and treat the relevant propositions as tensed. A change in an intrinsic property corresponds, on this view, to a change in the tense of a proposition atrributing that property. Lewis objects to this last solution on the grounds that a tensed proposition should itself be identified with a relational property.
But, such identification leaves it unexplained how something can change its non-relational intrinsic properties. Ben Caplan in Caplan has replied to Lewis that Lewis's objection depends on a view about propositions that is not compulsory. Lewis favors a different solution to the problem of temporary intrinsics Lewis Synchronic Linguistics The aim of general synchronic linguistics is to set up the fundamental principles of any idiosynchronic system, the constituents of any language-state.
Synchrony and Diachrony
Many of the items already explained in Part One belong rather to synchrony; for instance, the general properties of the sign are an integral part of synchrony although they were used to prove the necessity of separating the two linguistics. These delimited entities or units stand in opposition to each other in the mechanism of language. One is at first tempted to liken linguistic signs to visual signs, which can exist in space without becoming confused, and to assume that separation of the significant elements can be accomplished in the same way, without recourse to any mental process.
The word "form," which is often used to indicate them cf. But we know that the main characteristic of the sound-chain is that it is linear. Philosophers and linguists have always agreed in recognizing that without the help of signs we would be unable to make a clear-cut, consistent distinction between two ideas.
Without language, thought is a vague, uncharted nebula. Thought, chaotic by nature, has to become ordered in the process of its decomposition. Neither are thoughts given material form nor are sounds transformed into mental entities; the somewhat mysterious fact is rather that "thought-sound" implies division, and that language works out its units while taking shape between two shapeless masses.
Visualize the air in contact with a sheet of water; if the atmospheric pressure changes, the surface of the water will be broken up into a series of divisions, waves; the waves resemble the union or coupling of thought with phonic substance.
Similarly, in the matter of language, one can separate neither sound from thought nor thought from sound; such separation could be achieved only by abstraction, which would lead either to pure psychology, or to pure phonology. According to de Saussure, a linguistic sign is a psychic whole with two aspects: Thus the sign is a specific combination of these two elements.
Ferdinand de Saussure
Following from de Saussure's analysis, that two-sided relationship between sound and notion is meaning. The sign fulfils its function only by virtue of that relationship of meaning, the members of which are connected inseparably. The breaking of that unity would result in the destruction of the sign. This has the effect of highlighting what is, in fact, the one point of arbitrariness in the system, namely the phonological shape of words, and hence allows the non-arbitrariness of the rest to emerge with greater clarity.
An example of something that is distinctly non-arbitrary is the way different kinds of meaning in language are expressed by different kinds of grammatical structure, as appears when linguistic structure is interpreted in functional terms.