[FOM] Nature of semantics of formal lenguages

Steven Ericsson Zenith steven at semeiosis.org
Sun Apr 9 19:50:14 EDT 2006

I am not clear on what Barov's question is exactly but here is a 
semeiotic view:

My view is founded upon that of Peirce and Carnap.

If the content of experience (the embodiment of metaphysics) evoked by a
mark in its apprehension can be mapped to natural marks of the physical 
world then this is the only sense in which a mark (including sentences 
of formal languages) can be true.

Formal languages are strict conventions.  The mathematical objects of
description and explanation exist in the content of experience.

What those using formal language generally mean when they use the term
"truth" I prefer to call "correctness" which is simply a usage clause.
I draw a sharp distinction between truth and correctness: it should be
obvious (per the above definition of truth) that correct sentences are
not necessarily true, and true sentences are not necessarily correct.

A mark is therefore meaningful formally if it consistently evokes the
same content of experience (metaphysics) in individuals familiar with
the conventions and rules of its usage.

This is not a Platonist's view.

The notions of the constructivist and formalist are not incompatible
from my point of view.  Constuctivism, for me, is the argument for
explanation, not merely description.  It is the quest for truth as
defined above.  And formalist translation is a valid constructivist
technique.  However, the formalist view in isolation is ungrounded.  It
lacks any semantics from my point of view.

With respect,

barov at mccme.ru wrote:
> I wish to ask peoples on FOM to explain their understanding of nature of
> semantics (of formal languages). I know possibly three positions

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