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Authorship and Purpose

Henry S. Leonard
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 26, No. 4 (Oct., 1959), pp. 277-294
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/185363
Page Count: 18
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Authorship and Purpose
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Abstract

This paper approaches a theory relating authorship, meaning and purpose by semiformalized developments of two "presupposed theories": of purposeful behavior and of sign-reading. The theory of purposeful behavior is made to rest upon two undefined predicates. `Wt(a,p,q)' abbreviates the claim that at time t, person a works at bringing it about that p in order to bring it about that q. `Bt(a,p)' abbreviates the claim that at time t, person a brings it about that p. A number of definitions and laws are based upon these two predicates. One practical utility of the symbolism is a constraint to symbolize differently a purpose, according as what is intended is a purposing or a thing purposed. The theory of sign-reading undertakes to assimilate sign-reading to inference. The theory proposes `Rt(a,p,q)' as a basic undefined predicate, abbreviating the claim that at time t, person a reads that p as a sign that q. The theory of deliberate sign-production, and more particularly of authorship, is approached by permitting the two above sets of symbols to supply arguments one for the other. Specifically, making a deliberate or a candid sign is defined as bringing about a state of affairs in order that an addressee will read the bringing about by the sign-maker of that state of affairs as a sign that such and so. The laws of the two first parts of the paper are then appealed to in order to show that when the sign-making is candid (defined in the paper), the such and so mentioned above must be a feigned or actual purpose of the author. The paper concludes with a brief consideration of what in this total signified purpose of the sign-making might be indentified by reference to the conventional sign-type (sentence) presented. Thus "meaning" of a sentence is thence viewed as an abstraction from the signified meaning (always a purpose) of the uttering.

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