Introduction to Semantics

Introduction to Semantics

Introduction to Semantics

Introduction to Semantics

Excerpt

Authors' prefaces tend to be mere conventions, tributes paid to usage. In my case, however, I do really feel a need to explain to the reader my intentions before he starts to read this book. Hence I regard this Preface not as an appendix to, but as a component part of, my work.

The point is that the subject matter of my interests is extremely complicated and very vast. I lack, unfortunately, such competence and erudition as would be necessary adequately to treat all aspects of that subject matter; indeed, it is to be feared that no individual can master that subject matter in a completely satisfactory degree. Consequently, here too, as in many other cases, a conscious restriction of research interests should be the token of mastery. I do not know whether I can satisfy that requirement properly, but I should like to explain what tasks I have set myself, and why. It is up to the reader to decide whether, and to what extent, I have achieved them.

First of all, I wish to explain, both to myself and to others, what we mean by semantics. As a discipline, semantics is now so intricate, and its name so ambiguous, that semantic analysis must be applied to the very term "semantics", if deplorable misunderstandings and errors of logic are to be avoided.

Such is the objective aspect, not to mention the attitude towards semantics adopted in Marxist literature. And yet the present author would like to approach and handle the issue of semantics from the Marxist point of view, both in the sense of making Marxist philosophy assimilate as far as possible the real research problems of semantics, and of subjecting to criticism any possible philosophical abuses of such protlems.

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