Semantics Quotes

All our work, our whole life is a matter of semantics, because words are the tools with which we work, the material out of which laws are made, out of which the Constitution was written. Everything depends on our understanding of them.

Felix Frankfurter

Semantics, or the study of meaning, remained undeveloped, while phonetics made rapid progress and even came to occupy the central place in the scientific study of language.

Roman Jakobson

Uncritical semantics is the myth of a museum in which the exhibits are meanings and the words are labels. To switch languages is to change the labels.

Willard Van Orman Quine

Let us repeat the two crucial negative premises as established firmly by all human experience: (1) Words are not the things we are speaking about; and (2) There is no such thing as an object in absolute isolation.

Alfred Korzybski

We should not be surprised that we find meaningless noises in the foundation of many old philosophies, and that from them arise most of the old philosophical fights and arguments.

Alfred Korzybski

a few philosophers really do important work. This applies to the so called critical philosophy and to the theory of knowledge or epistemology. This class of workers I call epistemologists to avoid the disagreeable implications of the term philosopher.

Alfred Korzybski

In the rough, a symbol is a sign that stands for something Before a noise, etc., may become a symbol, something must exist for the symbol to symbolize.

Alfred Korzybski

If a psychiatric and scientific inquiry were to be made upon our rulers, mankind would be appalled at the disclosures.

Alfred Korzybski

Creative semantics is the key to contemporary government; it consists of talking in strange tongues lest the public learn the inevitable inconveniently early.

George F. Will

It's a matter of semantics, because you are creating an identical twin. Cloning is creating a replica of a person or an animal. This is creating what happens in nature every single day.

Hilton Kort

Symbolism is the study of the part played in human affairs by language and symbols of all kinds, and especialy of their influence on Thought. It singles out for special inquiry the ways in which symbols help us and hinder us in reflecting on things.

Ogden & Richards

Thus, we see that one of the obvious origins of human disagreement lies in the use of noises for words.

Alfred Korzybski

If we consider that all we deal with represents constantly changing sub-microscopic, interrelated processes which are not, and cannot be identical with themselves, the old dictum that everything is identical with itself becomes in [todays understanding of the universe] a principle invariably false to facts.

Alfred Korzybski

We are getting into semantics again. If we use words, there is a very grave danger they will be misinterpreted.

Unknown

[Urging Sarkozy to avoid] warlike semantics, ... He needs to stop going with cameras and journalists to poor and sensitive areas.

Azouz Begag

[Such] warlike ... contests this method of becoming submerged by imprecise, warlike semantics.

Azouz Begag

We have been told over and over that "you can't change human nature," but the study of emic realities shows, quite the contraty, that almost anything can become "human nature" if society defines it as such.

Robert Anton Wilson

The menu is not the meal.

Alan Watts

The tale is the map that is the territory.

American Gods

The little word is has its tragedies; it marries and identifies different things with the greatest innocence; and yet no two are ever identical, and if therein lies the charm of wedding them and calling them one, therein too lies the danger. Whenever I use the word is, except in sheer tautology, I deeply misuse it; and when I discover my error, the world seems to fall asunder and the members of my family no longer know one another.

George Santayana

There is the name and the thing; the name is a sound which sets a mark on and denotes the thing. The name is no part of the thing nor of the substance; it is an extraneous piece added to the thing, and outside of it.

Michel de Montaigne

The United States is no longer enemy No. 1, as you know, it's priority No. 1, ... And this is the only difference: semantics.

Oleg Kalugin

It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.

Isaac Asimov

Whatever you say it is, it isn't.

Alfred Korzybski

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Updated On : June 25, 2013
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