Two words are synonyms when they mean the same. Similarly two phrases or sentences are synonymous when they mean the same. The usual criterion is that meaning is preserved when they are substituted one for the other. Two terms may be cognitively synonymous although associated with a different tone, and the choice of one synonym or another may have implicatures, but these will not be due to a difference of what is actually said. However, the notorious difficulties for translators of finding synonyms across different languages testifies to the delicate problem of quite how much is built into the meaning of terms. Philosophically, synonymy was crucial to the methodology of the analytic tradition, whose goal of laying out the structure of our concepts is only realistic if we know whether what is displayed is in fact the structure of the original, and not some reconstruction or differing concept altogether. Knowing this will require judging whether the analysans or analysing expression is indeed synonymous with the analysandum or expression to be analysed. Although difficulties with the relationship had always been recognized, it was Quine who first made an effective attack on the notion of synonymy, in his widely influential article ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’ (1951). Quine complained that the ideal of synonymy demands a sharp division between what we put down to linguistic convention, and what we put down to generally held truths about the world, but that in practice this division cannot be sustained. The question of whether we have ‘changed the meaning’ of a term when we come to believe something new about its subject-matter is generally speaking unanswerable and unprofitable. The extent of Quine's critique is, however, problematic. It seems essential to any understanding of language, and especially any belief that logic applies to language, that terms mean the same on one occurrence as they do on another, so at least in some cases a notion of synonymy must be applicable. A compromise would be that a notion of synonymy is applicable when in our actual practices of interpretation we refuse to contemplate the possibility of meaning shift; however, when such possibilities genuinely arise, the way we settle the matter may be subject to a high degree of indeterminacy. See also indeterminacy of translation.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Synonym — Synonym …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • synonym — Adj gleichbedeutend per. Wortschatz fach. (19. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus frz. synonymique, dieses aus l. synōnymus, aus gr. synṓnymos, zu gr. ónoma Name, Benennung, Wort und gr. syn , also gleichnamig . Abstraktum: Synonymie.    Ebenso nndl.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Synonym — Syn o*nym (s[i^]n [ o]*n[i^]m), n.; pl. {Synonyms} (s[i^]n [ o]*n[i^]mz). [F. synonyme, L. synonyma, pl. of synonymum, Gr. synw nymon. See {Synonymous}.] 1. One of two or more words (commonly words of the same language) which are equivalents of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Synonȳm — (v. gr.), von gleicher Bedeutung sinnähnlich, sinnverwandt; bes. nennt Synonimus solche Wörter, welche unter einander gleiche Bedeutung haben od. doch wenigstens sinnverwandt sind. Streng genommen gibt es in keiner Sprache Wörter, welche… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Synonym — Synonȳm (grch.), gleichbedeutend, sinnverwandt; Synonyme (Synonўma), sinnverwandte Wörter, Synonymīe, Sinnähnlichkeit; Synonȳmik, Lehre von den sinnverwandten Wörtern …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Synonym — Synonym, gleichbedeutend (sinnverwandt); daher Synonymen: Worte, welche, obwohl ganz verschieden klingend, doch dasselbe bedeuten. Sie entstehen durch Einbürgerung von Fremdwörtern (wie civil = bürgerlich), durch Näherung der verschiedenen… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Synonym — Synonym, griech. dtsch., gleich od. ähnlichbedeutend, sinnverwandt; S.e, S.a, Wörter von gleicher od. ähnlicher Bedeutung; S. ik, die Darstellung des Unterschiedes der sog. S.en …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • synonym — index call (title), definition, same Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • synonym — (n.) early 15c. (but rare before 18c.), from L. synonymum, from Gk. synonymon word having the same sense as another, noun use of neut. of synonymos having the same name as, synonymous, from syn together, same (see SYN (Cf. syn )) + onyma, Aeolic… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Synonym — »sinnverwandtes Wort«: Der sprachwissenschaftliche Terminus wurde im 15./16. Jh. aus lat. (verbum) synonymum entlehnt, das seinerseits aus griech. (rhēma) synō̓nymon stammt. Griech. syn ō̓nymos »gleichbedeutend; gleichnamig« ist eine Bildung… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • synonym — ► NOUN ▪ a word or phrase that means the same as another word or phrase in the same language. DERIVATIVES synonymy noun. ORIGIN Greek sun numon, from onoma name …   English terms dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”