A non-linguistic meaning is an actual or possible derivation from sentence, which is not associated with signs that have any original or primary intent of communication.[clarification needed what?] It is a general term of art used to capture a number of different senses of the word "meaning", independently from its linguistic uses.
1 Meaning as internal interpretation 2 Semantic meaning 3 Natural meaning
3.1 Consequences and meaning
4 Meaning and cognition 5 Ideasthesia 6 Notes
Meaning as internal interpretation
The sense that sentient creatures have that the various objects of our
universe are linked is commonly referred to as a person's sense of
"meaning". This is the sense of meaning at work when asking a person
when they leave a theater, "What did that movie mean to you?" In
short, the word "meaning" can sometimes be used to describe the
interpretations that people have of the world. Example: "Chunks are
pieces of information linked and bound by meaning. (Remembering
details vs. getting an overall meaning) links individual memory traces
together, to create conceptual chunks." (Dr. Barbara Oakley, A Mind
for Numbers, p. 55).
The field of semantics is often understood as a branch of linguistics,
but this is not strictly true. Basic or non-idealized
meaning as a type of semantics is a branch of psychology and ethics
and reflects the original use of the term "meaning" as understood
early in the 20th century by
This section's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on. See's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. (August 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In another sense, the word "meaning" can be used to describe the
internal workings of the mind, independently of any linguistic
activity. This sort of meaning is deeply psychological. If we look for
other uses we can find intent, feeling, implication, importance,
value, and signification. Since the negative form--
"meaningless"—challenges and would deny these uses, experts believe
that underlying them all are understanding and understandability.
One approach to this way of understanding meaning was the psychosocial
theorist Erik Erikson. Erikson had a certain perspective on the role
of meaning in the process of human bodily development and
socialization. Within his model, a "meaning" is the external source of
gratification associated with the human erogenous zones and their
respective modes. See imprinting (psychology) for some related topics.
Some communication by body language arises out of bodily signals that
follow directly out of human instinct. Blushing, tears, erections and
the startle reaction are examples. This type of communication is
usually unintentional, but nevertheless conveys certain information to
This was coined by Paul Grice, and describes associations in the
natural world, as in the sentence, "Those clouds mean rain", "mean" is
associating cloud with rain.
Another example of natural meaning is the weathervane: when it points
in a certain direction, that is taken to mean that the wind is blowing
in the same direction.
Consequences and meaning
Still another perspective comes courtesy of the Pragmatists, who
insist that the meaning of an expression lies in its consequences.
Philosopher and polymath
Charles Sanders Peirce
The whole function of thought is to produce habits of action... To develop its meaning, we have, therefore, simply to determine what habits it produces, for what a thing means is simply what habits it involves. Now, the identity of a habit depends on how it might lead us to act, not merely under such circumstances as are likely to arise, but under such as might possibly occur, no matter how improbable they may be. ...I only desire to point out how impossible it is that we should have an idea in our minds which relates to anything but conceived sensible effects of things. Our idea of anything is our idea of its sensible effects; and if we fancy that we have any other we deceive ourselves. — (from the essay "How to Make Our Ideas Clear", hosted courtesy of peirce.org).
Outside of the Pragmatic tradition was Canadian 20th century
philosopher of media Marshall McLuhan. His famous dictum, "the medium
is the message", can be understood to be a consequentialist theory of
meaning. His idea was that the medium which is used to communicate
carries with it information: namely, the consequences that arise from
the fact that the medium has become popular. For example, one
"meaning" of the light bulb might be the idea of being able to read
during the night.
The controversial social psychologist and ethicist
rapid language development in children, at a pace that can not be accounted for by the usual learning process. the functioning of a personal "theory of mind" about other people, or empathy, as an innate capability of most people. (Recently published research  points to a reflex-based "model of mind" that is built upon the mirror neurons - that we share with certain other creatures.)
^ Tarnow, E., Response probability and latency: a straight line, an operational definition of meaning and the structure of short term memory, c