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"Meaning" is one of the most highly ambiguous words in English; not only
does it have a large number of meanings (heh,heh), they often occur in
virtually indistinguishable contexts.  So, it is not that logicians and
linguists and all have not done a good job dealing with meaning or have
not settled on a clear notion of it, it is just that they have done good
jobs on several notions and then haven't decided which one they all
should use -- or on a set of different names for their different

Logic has, by and large, take the simplest route and identified meaning
with reference as nearly as possible.  The reference (denotation,
Bedeutung) of a name is the object named, of a predicate the class of
those things which are correctly said to be that sort of thing, and so
on.  In other words, the meaning of a term is the extension of that
term, the things to which it correctly applies.  This cuts out a lot of
psychology (why people apply this term to this thing and agree that the
application is correct) and a lot of metaphysics (properties,essences,
etc.).  It also seems a little unsatisfying, for what we take to be
essen- tial characteristics of some kind of object are, on this view,
indistinguishable from incidental ones:  the four-leggedness of a dog is
no different from its habit of barking.

When we get on to intensional logics, which look like they might do a
bit better, we find that they do so only by extending the notion of
extension.  The meaning of a term in a world is still just its extension
in that world, but the meaning of a term absolutely is the function on
worlds that gives that extension in each world.  This does allow
differentiation between essential and accidental properties, since the
essential ones will coincide in every possible world (we have to leave
out the impossible ones, since one -- perhaps the main -- way to be
impossible is to separate just those essential properties, to allow
married bachelors, for example).

This last then gives an adequate guide for proper definitions, one of
the two practical interests in meanings for Lojban.  The other is, of
course, translations and that most immediately for definitions again.
Of course, it is not a very practical guide, but it does amount to
saying "Could we imagine a case where one expression applied and the
other did not and, if so, what are the distinctive features of the
case?"  In this way we can gradually build to a pretty full definition
and thus at least a sketch of a meaning (obviously in some other sense
first but, with a little empirical help, also in the reference sense).