The Second Person — Meaning and Metaphors

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A notion of meaning is introduced that is related to information theory but requires agents and observers (who may or may not coincide) for its genesis. We generalize Wittgenstein’s notion of language games to interaction games between agents or between an agent and its environment. In this setting, meaningfulness is also characterized by use. As these realizations concern particular agents, they lead to a shift in consideration of ‘meaning transfer’ away from an external, universal (third person) standpoint towards aspects of mapping grounded in embodiment (intra-agent or agent-environment: first person structures) and in interaction and imitation (inter-agent: second person structures). We propose that the study of agents, constructive biology, memetics and metaphor can benefit from considerations of the origin, design, evolution, and maintenance of channels of meaning for various observers and agents. To take advantage of correspondences in channels of meaning, second person methods (that is, those methods concerned with agent correspondences) in these areas require the study of grounding structural correspondences between source-channel-target pairs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-388
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS)
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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