On the Meaning of “Objective”

This week’s 15 Minute Insight (the 3rd of 4 in the series), on the meaning of the word “objective” and the fallout from loss of its original meaning.

Thus it is that sometimes the changes in how words are used allow us to better signify and explain the significations of our concepts.  “Symbols”, Charles Peirce said—and words are the preeminent kind of symbol—“Symbols grow”.  The word “sign”, for instance, has grown considerably since its early use in ancient Greece (which, in Greek rather than English, was “semeion”, used initially to signify the symptoms of a medical condition).  I’ll talk about that a little more next week.  But we can likely think of many other words which have grown over the course of history: “community”, for one, or “truth” as I discussed last week; that is, a growth which is not necessarily an increase of the term’s comprehension, but perhaps a deepening, strengthening, or clarification of its meaning.

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