Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Ostension: is the pointing to objects for the purpose of definition or description. A known problem is the indeterminacy or lack of uniqueness of the reference in pointing. For example, an object, its form, its nature, its history, its weight, etc., can be meant. See also Gavagai, pointing, to mean, indicative definition, definition, definability, statue/clay.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 62
Showing/Ostension/Gärdenfors: (Hurford 2007(1), p.224): pointing communicates only the localization of an object and says nothing about its properties. Gärdenfors: that means that pointing can work without an established and divided object category.
Language acquisition/learning/child/Gärdenfors: before children use words alone, they combine the uttering and pointing at them. (Goldin-Meadow, 2007(2)).
Triangulation/Gärdenfors: the communicators meet in two respects: the spatial-visual domain and the space of the object categories.
I 77
Pointing/Ostension/Gärdenfors: Thesis: the processing of meaning in pointing is essentially the same as in linguistic communication. The development of communicative skills can be understood as a transfer from the spatial-visual domain to "pointing" in other domains. This concerns the domains of feelings, the subject space, and the target domain.
Meaning/Pointing/Gärdenfors: thesis: I understand communication as a "meeting of minds", whereby the meanings are not only in the world, but they also develop in communicative interaction (see Brinck, 2001(3), 2004b(4)).
I 78
Pointing/Gärdenfors: a) imperative pointing is seen as the basic form, following Bates et al. (Bates 1975(5), 1976(6), Brinck 2004a(7)). It is not necessarily intentional. It can be used purely reinforcing.
I 79
b) Declarative pointing: involves the attention of another person being directed to an object (Bates et al., 1975(6), Brinck 2004a(7), Tomasello et al., 2007(8)).
I 80
Decisive: it is not about a desire of the object, but about common attention.
c) emotive, declarative pointing: requires no understanding of the intentions or beliefs (Brinck, 2008)(9).
I 81
D) Information-requesting pointing: combines the spatial-visual domain with the category space for objects. e.g. "What is it?"
L 81/82
Proto speech act/Searle: this kind of pointing can be understood as a proto speech act. (Searle, 1969)(10).
e) Targeted pointing: e.g. a child points to the relocated glasses. (Liszkowski et al., 2007)(11). The intention of the other is recorded as well as a deviation in the target. This can be understood as proto-declarative. Intersubjectivity must only encompass the understanding of the goals, not the beliefs. (Brinck, 2001, 2004a).

1. Hurford, J. R. ( 2007). The origins of meaning: Language in the light of evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2. Goldin-Meadow, S. (2007). Pointing sets the stage für learning language - and creating language, Child Development 78, 741-754.
3. Brinck, I. (2001) Attention and the evolution of intentional communication. Pragmatics and Cognition, 9, 255-272
4. Brinck, I. (2004b) Joint attention, triangulation and radical interpretation: A üroblemn and its solution. Dialectica, 58(2), 179-205
5. Bates, E., Camaioni, L., & Volterra, V. (1975). The acquisition of performatives prior to speech. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 21, 205-224.
6. Bates, E. /ed) (1976). Language and context: The acquisition of pragmatics. New York: Academic Press.
7. Brinck, I. (2004a). The pragmatics of imperative and declarative pointing. Cognitive Science Quarterly, 3, 429-446.
8. Tomasello, M. Carpenter, M., & Liszkowski, U. (2007). A new look at infant pointing. child Development, 78, 705-722.
9. Brinck, I. (2008) The role of intersubjectivity for the development of intentional communication. In J. Zlatev, T. Racine, C. Sinha, & E. Itkonen (Eds.) The shared mind: Perspectives on intersubjectivity (pp. 115-140). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
10. Searle, J. (1969). Speech acts: An essay in the philosophy of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
11. Liszkowski, U., Carpenter, M. & Tomasello, M. (2007). Reference and attitude in infant pointing. Journal of Child Language, 34, 1-20.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-09-24
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