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In the past decade, network analysis (NA) has been applied to psychopathology to quantify complex symptom relationships. This statistical technique has demonstrated much promise, as it provides researchers the ability to identify relationships across many symptoms in one model and can identify central symptoms that may predict important clinical outcomes. However, network models are highly influenced by node selection, which could limit the generalizability of findings. The current study (N = 6850) tests a comprehensive, cognitive–behavioral model of eating-disorder symptoms using items from two, widely used measures (Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire and Eating Pathology Symptoms Inventory).
We used NA to identify central symptoms and compared networks across the duration of illness (DOI), as chronicity is one of the only known predictors of poor outcome in eating disorders (EDs).
Our results suggest that eating when not hungry and feeling fat were the most central symptoms across groups. There were no significant differences in network structure across DOI, meaning the connections between symptoms remained relatively consistent. However, differences emerged in central symptoms, such that cognitive symptoms related to overvaluation of weight/shape were central in individuals with shorter DOI, and behavioral central symptoms emerged more in medium and long DOI.
Our results have important implications for the treatment of individuals with enduring EDs, as they may have a different core, maintaining symptoms. Additionally, our findings highlight the importance of using comprehensive, theoretically- or empirically-derived models for NA.
To observe the effects of magnetic resonance imaging scans in Vibrant Soundbridge 503 implantees at 1.5T in vivo.
In a prospective case study of five Vibrant Soundbridge 503 implantees, 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging scans were performed with and without a headband. The degree of pain was evaluated using a visual analogue scale. Scan-related pure tone audiogram and audio processor fitting changes were assessed.
In all patients, magnetic resonance imaging scans were performed without any degree of pain or change in pure tone audiogram or audio processor fitting, even without a headband.
In this series, 1.5T magnetic resonance imaging scans were performed with the Vibrant Soundbridge 503 without complications. Limitations persist in terms of magnetic artefacts.
Preservation of residual hearing is one of the major goals in modern cochlear implant surgery. Intra-cochlear fluid pressure changes influence residual hearing, and should be kept low before, during and after cochlear implant insertion.
Experiments were performed in an artificial cochlear model. A pressure sensor was inserted in the apical part. Five insertions were performed on two electrode arrays. Each insertion was divided into three parts, and statistically evaluated in terms of pressure peak frequency and pressure peak amplitude.
The peak frequency over each third part of the electrode increased in both electrode arrays. A slight increase was seen in peak amplitude in the lateral wall electrode array, but not in the midscalar electrode array. Significant differences were found in the first third of both electrode arrays.
The midscalar and lateral wall electrode arrays have different intra-cochlear fluid pressure changes associated with intra-cochlear placement, electrode characteristics and insertion.
In unipolar depressed patients participating in trials on antidepressants, we investigated if illness characteristics at baseline could predict conversion to bipolar disorder.
A long-term register-based follow-up study of 290 unipolar depressed patients with a mean age of 50.8 years (SD = 11.9) participating in three randomized trials on antidepressants conducted in the period 1985–1994. The independent effects of explanatory variables were examined by applying Cox regression analyses.
The overall risk of conversion was 20.7%, with a mean follow-up time of 15.2 years per patient. The risk of conversion was associated with an increasing number of previous depressive episodes at baseline, [HR 1.18, 95% CI (1.10–1.26)]. No association with gender, age, age at first depressive episode, duration of baseline episode, subtype of depression or any of the investigated HAM-D subscales included was found.
The patients were followed-up through the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register, which resulted in inherent limitations such as possible misclassification of outcome.
In a sample of middle-aged hospitalized unipolar depressed patients participating in trials on antidepressants, the risk of conversion was associated with the number of previous depressive episodes. Therefore, this study emphasizes that unipolar depressed patients experiencing a relatively high number of recurrences should be followed more closely, or at least be informed about the possible increased risk of conversion.
‘Introduction to language-analytical philosophy’ – that is ambiguous. From a lecture-course with this title one might expect a survey of a philosophical movement, an historical or systematic guide to the philosophical literature commonly called language-analytical. This is not what I shall be doing, particularly as such introductions to language-analytical philosophy already exist. The title can also be interpreted in another sense, by understanding ‘philosophy’ in the sense of philosophical activity. The title would then denote an introduction to language-analytical philosophizing.
One introduces someone to a particular activity by demonstrating it to him by means of an example, so that he can imitate it. So I would have to demonstrate to you a characteristic language-analytical line of thought in a way that would enable you to follow it and stimulate you to carry out similar patterns of argument yourself. And indeed this is something I intend to do. But such a demonstration by means of an example cannot, taken by itself, suffice for an introduction if the activity in question is a way of doing philosophy.
A way of doing philosophy is not related to other ways of doing philosophy in the way that one form of dance is related to other forms. Forms of dance are not mutually exclusive or inclusive. On the same evening one can, with equal enthusiasm, dance a tango, a boogie and a rock'n'roll – and simply not bother with the waltz. But one cannot philosophize in one way without having rejected or incorporated the others. A dance can be out of date; but it is not on that account incorrect. In philosophy, on the other hand, as in every science, the concern is with truth. For this reason, although ways of doing philosophy can be modern or old-fashioned, worrying about this is the business not of the philosopher but of the historian. If I am asked why I do philosophy in this way rather than that I cannot answer: ‘Because it is up to date’, but only: ‘Because it is the correct way.’ But this implies an obligation to justify the claim to be correct. To introduce someone to a way of doing philosophy, therefore, involves relating it to other ways of doing philosophy and, by means of such a confrontation, demonstrating its correctness.
In the enquiry into the semantics of singular terms there is no reason why we should not follow the traditional philosopher in describing the relation between the singular term and the object by saying that the singular term stands for the object. But at present we should regard this expression ‘stands for’ as a cipher, as an expression whose sense has yet to be specified.
I earlier (p. 160f) called Wittgenstein's dictum ‘The meaning of a word is what the explanation of its meaning explains’ the fundamental principle of analytical philosophy, because it instructs one to frame the philosophical question about the meaning of linguistic expressions in a way that exactly corresponds to the pre-philosophical question and in fact merely formalizes the latter. According to this principle the philosophical question concerning the understanding of a form of expression should be construed as the question of how pre-philosophically we explain expressions of this form. In the case of singular terms we have to do with expressions which not only have a meaning but also stand for an object. In whatever way these two aspects may be connected, if the expression stands for an object at all then the question about the expression's mode of employment must embrace, together with the question of how its meaning is explained, that of how one explains for which object it stands. And we can only answer the philosophical question of what it is for an expression to stand for an object by explaining how pre-philosophically one explains in a particular case which object an expression stands for. To explain what it is for a predicate to apply to an object we asked how we would explain how we establish that a predicate applies to an arbitrary object. Likewise we can only explain what it is for a singular term to stand for an object by asking how we establish for which object a singular term stands.
The question ‘How do we establish it?’ is quite indispensable. Without it any explanation of an expression would remain in the air. Within semantics this recourse to establishing corresponds to the move we made in the enquiry into the semantics of whole assertoric sentences from truth-conditions to verification-rules.
To tackle the question of what it means to speak of ‘objects’ and how a reference to objects is possible by asking how we can refer to objects by means of signs is already to adopt a language-analytical approach. However we have seen (pp. 299–300) that such an approach still leaves it open whether the answer to this question itself results in a specifically language-analytical position. This would consist in holding that the reference to objects to which the explanation of such signs points cannot be understood independently of the use of just such signs.
As with all signs the question of the mode of employment of these signs can only be tackled by asking how they can be explained. And in this case that means: how it can be explained, or established, for which object the expression stands (p. 281). To prepare for this question I enquired in the last lecture into the function of these expressions. What emerged there regarding the purpose for which singular terms are used and what it means to speak of ‘objects’ holds generally for all singular terms and all objects. We now know what in general is being asked when it is asked how it can be established for which object a singular term stands: one is asking which object is specified by the singular term, where ‘specify’ means: to pick out what is meant from a presupposed plurality.
If we now ask, not about the function, but about the explanation, or mode of employment of these expressions then precisely because of what we have seen regarding the function of these expressions the question can no longer be posed in a formal, general way. Rather a specific type of object, a specific plurality (that of perceptible objects or states of affairs or attributes, etc.) is presupposed and one asks how it is possible to pick out one object as the one meant from among all objects of this type. Thus the question left open in the last lecture, viz. how a singular term can specify an object, must be put separately for each type of object (and this is because the different types of object – though I have not shown this – are distinguished precisely by the manner in which they are specified).
My aim in the introductory part of these lectures was to work out a question which can be regarded as a fundamental question of language-analytical philosophy. At the same time the language-analytical conception of philosophy was to be confronted with other philosophical positions and we were to examine whether, and if so how, it can be justified vis-à-vis these other positions. And this involved also discussing the idea of philosophy in general.
The fact that this has not yielded a unitary conception of philosophy is no disadvantage. The object of such reflections is to get clear about the different possibilities of understanding something (in our case the idea of a ‘pre-eminent science’) and about how these different possibilities are related to one another. Which of these one then calls ‘philosophy’ is a secondary matter. Essentially we have become acquainted with three ways in which ‘philosophy’ could be understood. Firstly, on the basis of the discussions of the first lecture, one could designate ‘philosophy’ all elucidation of prior understanding, all clarification of concepts or meanings. Such enquiry would be a ‘pre-eminent’ enquiry inasmuch as it concerns the understanding-presuppositions of direct, non-reflective knowledge and enquiry.
Secondly, from our examination of the Aristotelian introduction there emerged a conception of philosophy as a universal formal science, which is to be understood as formal semantics.
The first of these two conceptions of philosophy represents a vague, but indispensable, methodological conception of language-analytical philosophy. By contrast the second conception has clear thematic contours and a definite fundamental question. It represents, if one holds on to the first, broad conception of language-analytical philosophy, the ground-discipline of language-analytical philosophy. It contains a question which, vis-à-vis questions in accordance with the first conception, is ‘pre-eminent’; for it concerns the universal presuppositions of all understanding.
The conceptions of philosophy as ontology and as transcendental philosophy have shown themselves to be inadequate approximations to the second conception of philosophy. In so far as transcendental philosophy contains elements which point beyond this conception these elements can themselves only be clarified by linguistic analysis (Lecture 6), thus by means of a procedure in accordance with the first conception of philosophy.
If Aristotle or the tradition which followed him had taken veritative being as the guiding thread of their investigation, then there would have developed, within the framework of ontology, a semantics of the assertoric sentence-form. Instead of this, however, the problematic, which Aristotle had at least touched upon, became unrecognizable in the shape of the inadequate doctrine of the verum as another ‘transcendental’ determination of ens, together with unum and aliquid, a doctrine in which the veritative meaning of ‘is’ was assimilated to the others and thereby finally objectified. Moreover for mediaeval ontology the starting-point for the demonstration of the universality of being was no longer the usage of ‘is’ but the thesis that the determination ens is the first determination that is given to the mind. How this proposition, which, to the impartial observer, must appear far from evident, indeed unintelligible, could be regarded as supremely evident by an entire tradition, can be explained only by reference to the concept of representation (Vorstellen) which I shall examine at the end of this lecture.
Where the Aristotelian ontology, and indeed the entire traditional ontology from Parmenides to Hegel, came closest to veritative being was in the assumption that the question of being is always connected with the question of not-being. How far from obvious this is can be seen immediately one considers that a theory which started out from objects or from that mediaeval conception of ens would have no occasion to thematize the ‘not’. The opposition of being and not-being is (as we could already see in connection with the Principle of Contradiction) an opposition that belongs to veritative being just as much as the so-called modalities of being; and other meanings of ‘is’ (such as that of the copula or existence) only participate in this opposition because they are species of veritative being. On the other hand, our traditional orientation towards the opposition being not-being contributes to our tendency to place denial on a level with affirmation and to overlook the peculiar status of the ‘not’ in the sentence-form.
What we were able to achieve in the previous lecture in connection with veritative being was a formal characterization of all assertoric sentences.
‘The assertion that a is F is true if and only if the predicate “F” applies to the object for which the singular term “a” stands.’ With this truth-definition a start is made in the analysis of the meaning of predicative sentences. But it is only a start. The transition from this first level of semantic analysis to the crucial second level, which consists in the explanation of use, will prove much more difficult in the case of predicative sentences than in the case of truth-functional sentences. You will therefore not be prepared to undertake the lengthy analyses that are now required unless I am able to convince you that this first level of explanation of meaning does not suffice for the fundamental analysis of the meaning of predicative sentences we are here aiming at.
In the last lecture I explained the inadequacy of this explanation by saying that it presupposes that we already understand what it is for a predicate to apply to an object and what it is for an expression to stand for an object. But we can also see the inadequacy of this explanation from another angle. The truth-definition with variables ‘F’ and ‘a’ is of course meant to provide a framework for the specification of the truth-condition of any actual assertion by the substitution of a particular predicate and a particular singular term. But this means that it would also have to provide the framework both for the explanation of the meaning of predicates and for the explanation of the meaning of singular terms; and it would have to do this both in general and for the explanation of particular predicates and particular singular terms. But that the truth-definition, as it now stands, allows for an explanation of the sentence-components could at best be claimed for the singular term. Of the latter one could say that one understands it if one knows for which object it stands. But what would it be, in terms of this truth-definition, to understand the predicate? The best I can think of is: to understand a predicate ‘F’ is to know what it is for it to apply to an object. But this of course is to say nothing so long as one does not explain what it is.
Despite some obvious gaps and defects in execution I now want to regard the analysis of the mode of employment of elementary singular terms – those with which one can refer to perceptible objects – as concluded. In this lecture I shall merely summarize what follows from this analysis for the understanding of reference to objects, the explanation of the predicative form of sentence, and the elementary use of the word ‘true’. At the outset I predicted that, contrary to the traditional prejudice, the analysis of the mode of employment of expressions which ‘stand for’ objects would be essentially more complicated than the analysis of the mode of employment of predicates. The extent to which this is grounded in the facts of the case has meanwhile become apparent. The analysis of the mode of employment of these expressions is more complicated because the mode of employment is itself more complicated. It is so because the use of individual singular terms, in contrast to the use of elementary perceptual predicates, is not isolable. Therefore the individual expression cannot be explained by itself. Rather the use of any type of singular term refers (verweist) systematically to the use of singular terms of other types; and in part, as we have seen, this reference is even a reciprocal one.
These references (Verweisungen) are expressed in the replaceability of one expression by other expressions in the predicative sentences in which it is used. This replaceability can itself be asserted in an identity-statement. The replaceability of ‘a’ by ‘b’ expressed in the identity-statement ‘a = b’ however, does not fully bring out the phenomenon which I here call ‘reference’, because in an identity-statement neither of the two terms has a priority over the other, whereas in what I call reference it is always the one term that refers to the other; and this is not convertible except where the reference is a reciprocal one. We first encountered this phenomenon in connection with the question: ‘and which object is a?’ (Lecture 23).
The object-orientated conception of the meaning of predicative sentences foundered on the question of how the meaning of the whole sentence results from the meanings of the sentence-components. The only answer the object-orientated position could give was: the meaning of the whole sentence is composed of that for which the singular term stands and that for which the predicate stands. This answer led to the dilemma: either the composition must be construed as the real composition of a complex object or one cannot say what is to be understood by composition here without presupposing precisely that understanding of the sentence which was to be explained.
This result is not purely negative, inasmuch as it prescribes a specific direction of enquiry for a new, no longer object-orientated attempt at an explanation. Firstly, understanding of the predicate has emerged as the – from an object-orientated point of view – critical element in the understanding of a predicative sentence. We will thus first have to try to achieve a new and no longer object-orientated conception of the understanding of a predicate. Secondly, it has at the same time become clear that the problem of the understanding of a predicate – the second of my four questions (see p. 109) – is directly connected with our third question, viz. how we understand the combination of the singular term with the predicate. It would therefore seem plausible that these two questions should now be combined. This gives a concrete clue to the enquiry into the understanding of a predicate. Were we simply to formulate the question concerning the understanding of the predicate thus: what is it to understand a predicate if this understanding cannot consist in the consciousness of an object? we would have no positive clue as to how we should proceed. If, on the other hand, we combine the second question with the third and hold fast to the idea that at any rate the singular term stands for an object, we can ask: if the supplementation of the singular term by a predicate does not have the function of combining the object of the singular term with another object (that of the predicate) how then is it to be understood?
At the end of the last lecture it again became clear how limited the possibilities of internally refuting a philosophical basic conception are. One cannot show – assuming one is prepared to accept the uncashed metaphor of the representation-concept – that a representation-theory is impossible. Sponge-like thoughts have the advantage that they cannot be smashed. But to demand an internal refutation would also involve an unrealistic view of the extent to which obsolete philosophical ideas can be put out of action. It is enough to show that the object-relation which we encounter when we examine how we actually establish for which object a sign stands is not a representation-relation and that the meaning of objecthood which emerges from this examination cannot be understood in terms of representation. The genuine refutation of the traditional conception cannot be accomplished internally but only by means of the positive construction of a new conception which right from the start can claim the advantage that it takes its departure from an actual form of reference to objects, namely that by means of linguistic expressions (for the present I leave it open whether it is the only one). The traditional conception is thus not shown to be impossible but – disregarding the unclarity of its basic concept – only false.
Before I begin the positive construction of the new conception I wish to add something to what I said about the representation-theory. I have shown that the doctrine of the primacy of proper names over descriptions, which implies that ‘standing for’ is to be understood as simple assignment or association, is grounded, if it has any philosophical foundation, on the representation-theory. However, it would be false to suppose that the converse holds, viz. that the representation-theory necessarily leads to this conception of the name-relation and such a simplistic object-concept. That it need not do so is particularly well illustrated by the case of Husserl. Husserl's object-theory is, on the one hand, a representation-theory: what he calls intentionality is the not linguistically but representationally construed object-relation of consciousness. On the other hand, we have already seen that Husserl follows Frege in thinking that descriptions are semantically more fundamental than proper-names.
The debate with the second step of the philosophy of consciousness – the transcendental approach – went in favour of the language-analytical position. How is it with the third step, in which the transcendental question concerning the conditions of the possibility of the experience of objects led to modes of consciousness which are no longer objectual?
In this extension of the enquiry beyond objects transcendental philosophy failed to take account of sentences. It thereby passed over a whole dimension of non-objectual consciousness without which there is also no objectual consciousness. Thus in extending the thematic it started out from an unclear basis. On the other hand, with the world-problem there is opened up, in both the Kantian and the Heideggerian version (connection of objects in space and time; connection of significance), a dimension of consciousness which goes beyond the understanding of sentences just as much as beyond the relationship to objects. Also the other non-objectual modes of consciousness, such as the consciousness of action-rules (the same is true of the experience of a sensible manifold such as the view of a landscape or the hearing of a melody) are not ‘logical’ modes of consciousness, are not articulated in sentences. Here then we encounter a limitation of the language-analytical approach, if this is understood as formal semantics.
But if we recognize such a limitation from whence do we get our criterion of universality? Clearly we orientate ourselves towards a broad concept of consciousness in the sense of what Heidegger meant by ‘dis-closedness’. But what is to be understood by consciousness in general? Plainly we have no clear concept of this. Nor do we have a clear concept of the various non-logical modes of consciousness; what is actually meant by a consciousness of spatial and temporal connections, by an action-consciousness and so on? Until we can see more clearly here we can have no idea how we should concretely conceive an extension of the universal approach beyond the sphere of sentences. In particular it must remain unclear whether, and if so how, a formal analysis of a non-linguistically articulated consciousness is possible, what formalization would mean here, or what would have to take the place of formalization.
What we achieved in the last lecture was a preliminary clarification of the concept of identification which sufficed to explain the division into levels in the specification-question and to confirm the sharp distinction between locating and non-locating descriptions. We can now disregard non-locating descriptions and confine ourselves to the problem of identification, since it has become apparent that the question of what is meant by ‘perceptual objects’ and how we are able to refer to such objects centres on this problem.
To this end we must again take up the question of how singular terms are used and how one establishes for which object they stand. Whereas in the previous lecture we were concerned to distinguish the use of demonstrative and locating singular terms from non-locating singular terms, our concern will now be to explain, from the same methodological perspective, the interdependence of demonstrative singular terms and objectively locating singular terms as regards their function in the identification of perceptible objects. We shall have to so approach this problem that we simultaneously aim at a clarification of the difficulty we encountered at the end of the last lecture when the hypothesis arose that perhaps spatial and temporal positions rather than objects that are in space and at times are to be regarded as the most elementary objects. We must therefore put the question about spatio-temporal identification in such a way that initially we leave open the question of whether the identification of spatial (extended) objects and temporal objects (events) depends on the identification of places and times or whether the reverse is true or whether there is an interdependence between them.
Of course, one can only speak of places and times as objects if there are corresponding singular terms. But clearly there are such terms. In particular the demonstratives ‘here’ and ‘now’ are such. Despite their syntactic difference from the other singular terms they fulfil all the semantic conditions for singular terms with which we have become acquainted. By means of the words ‘here’ and ‘now’, if they are used in a specific situation, something is specified and even identified. An individual spatio-temporal position is singled out from all spatio-temporal positions as that which can be classified by a predicate (for example if we say ‘Here and now it is hot’).
In the lecture before last we arrived at a first, preliminary result in the enquiry into the meaning of assertoric sentences. In the last lecture I related this result to other possible conceptions and then supplemented it in an essential respect. I had started from the assumption that to understand a linguistic expression is to understand its employment-rule. It became clear that the understanding of its employment-rule consists not in knowing in what circumstances it is used, but rather in knowing what its function is; and that this function consists in asserting something. So far we have only been able to determine in a general way what this means. To assert something is to perform the opening-move in a verification-game. Such a game has the following defining features. There are two mutually negating opening-positions. The rules of the game are verification-rules. The outcome of the game is characterized thus: on the basis of following the verification-rule the one assertion turns out to be true, the other false, or one assertion must be withdrawn in favour of the other. It followed from this general characterization of the employment-rules of assertoric sentences that the explanation of the use of such a sentence must consist in the explanation of its verification-rule. It was this question that remained open and to which we must now turn. It had to remain open, because in general nothing can be said about the verification-rules of assertoric sentences. They must be shown separately for the different sentence-forms or, better: different sentence-forms are distinguished precisely by having different sorts of verification-rule. (Should that prove to be correct then we would have a basis for rendering precise the concept of semantic form that has hitherto remained vague.)
The account given so far is thus not only abstract; it is also incomplete so long as it has not been shown how the verification-rules of specific sentence-forms can be explained. Only by doing this will we be able to see how far this conception really provides a basis for the explanation of the meaning of individual sentences and sentence-parts.
Now we saw at the end of the last lecture that the view that the employment-rule (meaning) of a sentence is its verification-rule must be corrected.
The multiplicity of semantic theories I have touched on in the last two lectures in the process of trying to achieve what seems to me to be a tenable preliminary concept of the meaning of an assertoric sentence may have left behind a certain confusion. So before taking up the problem to which the line of thought of the last lecture led it seems to me to be necessary to insert a lecture devoted to surveying what has been achieved. This will enable me to say something about the connections between the various positions and to add a supplement that will be important for what will follow.
The various theses about the meaning of assertoric sentences (a.s.) are as follows.
(1) One understands an a.s. if one knows for which state of affairs it stands.
(2) One understands an a.s. if one knows in which circumstances it is to be used.
(3) One understands an a.s. if one knows what its truth-conditions are.
(4) One understands an a.s. if one knows what its verification-rules are.
(5) One understands an a.s. if one knows what belief the person who uses it communicates to a hearer.
(6) One understands an a.s. if one knows which assertion-act a speaker can perform with it (illocutionary act theory).
(7) One understands an a.s. if one knows the verification-game whose opening-move is performed with it.
The most striking thing both about the line of thought as it has turned out and about virtually all important modern theories is the central position which the concept of truth suddenly acquires. You could say: that statements can be true or false is something one has always known. Before Frege, however, no one had hit upon the idea of defining the meaning – the sense – of a sentence by means of its truth-conditions. The ‘reality-relation’ of statements was also understood as truth in the philosophical tradition, but this relation always remained pre-defined as a relation to things (res), to beings. It is only when one is primarily orientated towards sentences rather than towards names that it seems natural to start with the possible truth of a sentence and by reference to this understand even its meaning.
Because Aristotle orientated himself not only towards the expression ‘being’ (Seiendes) but also towards the expression ‘is/to be’, traditional ontology reaches beyond a mere theory of objects or theory of substance. This surplus really already belongs to the broader field of a formal semantics. If one asks why Aristotle included predicative determinations as well as objects in his formal thematic the answer must be: because predicative determinations, although not objects, are at least determinations of objects. So the orientation towards the category of an object, which is definitive of the whole of traditional philosophy, also determined which non-objectual semantic form Aristotle dealt with.
If we now envisage a formal semantics as the formal universal science in place of ontology we must consider whether the formal thematic, as thus extended, still has some sort of unified structure and a centre, so that here too a unitary fundamental question can be formulated.
The fundamental question of ontology is: what is being as being? It is obvious that this formulation of the question is a makeshift solution, for it is framed as though one were asking about the what-being (Was-Sein) of an object. I have therefore reformulated it so that what is being asked is what it means to speak of an object (or being). This is already to give the question a semantic formulation. But its real semantic counterpart is the question: ‘How can one refer to objects with linguistic expressions?’ and this question, it would seem (cf. pp. 33–4), leads back to the question: ‘In what does the meaning of a singular term consist?’ And if we wish to avoid speaking of a meaning as an object, this question can be formulated as follows: ‘What is it to understand a singular term?’ Analogously, if we extend the sphere of the formal thematic beyond that of singular terms, we can ask with respect to any semantic class: ‘What is it to understand an expression of this form?’ The formulation ‘What is it to understand …?’ is not completely clear. But at the present stage of our deliberations it is appropriate to content ourselves with a question-formula which contains only a vague indication of what we are looking for. As yet we do not know with what categorial means we can adequately thematize something like the understanding of linguistic expressions.