Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The parts of a thermostat refer to the ambient temperature of the room, and the desired ambient temperature of the room. Those parts refer in virtue of the functional role of those parts within the total system of thermostat and room.
A person ignorant of thermostats could deduce the semantics of these parts by observation and experiment.

The semantics are objective, not subjective, since it is a factual question whether the thermostat controls temperature, or the number of people in the room, or the ambient light etc. And the semantics of the thermostat obtain regardless of the presence or absence of human observers.

The "Semantics of Money" describes my long-term research programme, which is to understand how money functions as a symbol within a market economy, much in the same way we might try to understand the semantics of a thermostat.

Clearly money has various "meanings" to all of us. But my question is different: what are the objective semantics of money that emerge as consequence of the causal relations that regularly obtain in a market economy?

I believe that the ultimate answer to this question is simultaneously mundane and surprising, intuitive and counter-intuitive.

This blog is an experiment to construct a public diary of my research efforts.