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The AIT analysis includes several important terms, designed to highlight the particular notion of the architecture of natural language which AIT proposes. This concentrates upon two distinct sentential or propositional, elements:

1) A word or phrase that, through the structure of its utterance, announces the existence of some particular entity or occurrence.

2) A word or phrase that indicates the modes of the existence of such entities or occurrences. In order to qualify as a sentence or proposition, any string of words must consist of both these elements. And although sentences or propositions must themselves depend upon a combination of semantic and syntactic factors, these can be analysed according to this basic structure.

The term Extantal Imbuant is used to identify phrases of the first kind, which are usually the subject of a statement. In general, if you utter a single word in a declarative manner, it will tend to have something of this quality. But with a more complex Imbuant, e. g., "The Queen of Scotland's hat," the syntactic organisation allows this phrase to announce the existence of one entity, and not a series of disconnected entities.

The term Modal Informant is used to identify phrases of the second kind, which are usually the predicate clause of a statement. It introduces a mode or modes of the existence generally not already made explicitly extant within the Imbuant, which give some more specific character, state, or manner. As such, it can refer either to a temporary or a permanent condition that pertains to the Imbuant. The use of the term 'modal' highlights the fact that what is stated in this phrase is not placed into a necessary relation with what is stated in the Extantal Imbuant.

But the most important aspect of this analysis can be seen within the examination of the role played by the various conjugations of 'be.'

Consider a basic sentence like: "Mary is brave."

Here, the existence of Mary is wholly announced within the simple use of her name. The word"is" does not say anything more about her existence; rather, it allows her already announced existence to be attributed or processed into a specific mode of existence. For the function of 'be' is always solely to exhibit the mode of existence of the Extantal Imbuant andnever carries any additional burden of having to state the fact that it exists.

Obviously Mediaeval/Scholastic physics did attempt to take note of this notion of modal aspect of the 'be' conjugation, but only did so with reference to a distinction between'being' and 'existence,' within the assumption that 'being' refers to all the possible modes of a thing's existence, whereas 'existence,' refers only to the 'mere fact' that it exists, and hence the second is only a 'lowly predicate.' In other words, 'being' refers to 'that by which something exists,' and 'existence' tells us 'whether it exists,' as the basis of the Latin distinction betweenessentia and esse respectively.

To return to the above example, AIT analyses this sentence down into the following elements:

"Mary [Extantal Imbuant] is [Modal Processant] brave [Modal Informant] ."

This introduces the third and most important basic element of the AIT terminology.

For AIT the function of the Modal Processant is wholly syntactic. It is a syntactic enabler distinguished by its purely systematic processing function. It should however be noted that although, wherever it appears and in whatever conjugational form it does so, 'be' always equates to the Modal Processant function, the reverse is not the case. The Modal Processant function indicates that the descriptive element of the sentence is specifically synchronal of the existent element, but in such a way as to be separable from it.

The notion of the Processant function as wholly syntactic is implied by the observation that it does not entail any kind of semantic 'existence reference.' And this must lead to the further conclusion that the Processant function in any language - which necessarily includes the 'be' conjugation in English - is not that of a verb. It is clear that in the classification of 'be' as 'verb of existence,' 'verb' and 'existence' are each implied by the other. In traditional grammar, a verb is classified as a word that denotes the occurrence or performance of an action or a process. Where 'be' is classified as a verb, this is takes place upon the basis of its formal similarity to words that do indeed perform the verb-function. But since there is no obvious action or process to which it manifestly refers, it is then taken as referring to the action or a process of existing. The most important point to be noted here is that the designation of function is inferred from similarity of form. In modern descriptive linguistic analysis, a verb is a word or group of words that function as the predicate of a sentence or introduces the predicate or verb phrase. Here, the verb function and the Processant function are not properly distinguished, inasmuch as the 'be' conjugation is still classified as a verb.

Two: The Functions of the Processant.

Before anything can be specifically stated about the mechanisms that reveal how the Processant can function as it does, it is important to lay out these functions with as much clarity as possible.


Modal Indication.

For AIT, the Processant function cannot be described in the traditional sense as that of a 'copula' for, upon closer investigation, it does not strictly perform any kind of 'joining.' This can be seen if one considers the difference between "The tall man," and "The man is tall." Not only is "The man" is 'joined' to "tall" in both; it is clear that these elements are not so irrevocably joined in the latter as in the former. In both cases, the man has the individuated or specific mode of existence "tall," but only in the second case is this mode of existence specifically held forth as that which the utterance points out. Thus any string of words within which no specific Processant function is entailed cannot be said to have a Modal Informant. In this way it can be seen that, properly regarded, the Processant function does not 'introduce' a predicate or 'join' a predicate to a subject. Rather, it performs a function of predicate creation.

But in any string of words where a Modal Processant appears, attention is specifically drawn to the particularity of the Modal Informant. Whether or not the mode of existence is stated as temporarily or permanently belonging to the Imbuant, it is the indication of the Modal Informanhat provides the contextual point of the utterance. (It is for this reason that in AIT, the Processant is also referred to as a "Modal Indicant," hence "Analytical Indicant theory.")


Modal Interrogation.

The Modal Processant, in its role of modal indication, functions such as to exhibit a Modal Informant. This introduces the next function to be considered, since where a mode of existence is thus exhibited, it can be examined and hence challenged. A sentence or proposition is distinguishable from other types of utterance, inasmuch as it explicitly says something (the Informant) about something (the Imbuant.) But this something that is exhibited can be detached from the Imbuant, inasmuch as it is exhibited within the possibility of not being a mode of existence of the Imbuant. This aspect of the Processant can be seen most clearly within the role it has within question formation, within the way it allows the sentence "The man is tall" to be transformed into the question "Is the man tall?" Here it can be seen that the so-called copuletic function is inferred from the fact that where a mode of existence is displayed as a Modal Informant of a particular Extantal Imbuant, it can be effectively challenged as to its modal informancy, and disjoined from the Imbuano which it is presented as pertaining. Thus it is assumed that the possibility of this disjunction arises out of a previous conjoining of the Imbuant to an Informant, as opposed to the indication function that AIT proposes.

But more importantly, the Processant function introduces into the structure of language the question of the veracity of utterances. The cognitive possibility of 'truth' or 'falsehood' is created out of this particular syntactic structure. A proposition must make use of the Processant function, which displays a particular mode of existence. This again can be seen if one considers the distinction between "The tall man," and "The man is tall," which both describe the same modes of existence. The difference is that the Processant allows these modes of existence to be displayed in terms of a possible correspondence wherein the Informant pertains the Imbuant. Obviously, we can then test this proposition, as to whether 'tall' does indeed correspond to 'the man,' but only because this has been initiated into a separable pertaining correspondence by the Processant.

It should of course be noted that there are in fact two types of 'correspondence' simultaneously at work here. The first we can call semantic correspondence. Where someone points to a dog and says "cat," there is no semantic correspondence between the referent and the standard usage of this particular word. The question of semantic correspondence does not of course arise where the referent is not physically present, which is precisely the case where the referent is made manifest through Extantal Imbuance. Nevertheless, it is the distinction between the actually perceived referent and that which is extantally imbued which allows semantic non- correspondence to be made manifest.

Nevertheless, this should not be taken as implying that AIT presupposes any notion of a formal Correspondence Theory as envisaged by Bertrand Russell and others. All that is implied within the notion of semantic correspondence is whether or not the terms used correspond to their standard or conventional usage.

The second type of correspondence, which we can call propositional correspondence, is directly attributable to the Processant function. Here, the semantic reference of the Informant is separated from that of the Imbuant in order to be related back to it. This propositional correspondence itself depends upon a semantic correspondence between the Informant and a particular aspect of that to which the Imbuant refers. If both these semantic correspondences hold, then the proposition itself can be said to be true. Thus the Processant allows correspondence/non-correspondence to be introduced into the formal structure of language, in a way that goes beyond the correct/incorrect use of words upon which semantic correspondence alone depends.

Three: Some More Terminology.

The Extantal Imbuant is a word or phrase that, in referring to something, must also instantiate it as existing. That is to say, the Extantal Imbuant linguistically effects its own referent. This introduces another element of the AIT terminology, that of Extantal Reification. Approximately speaking, an Extantal Reificant is coincident with an 'abstract noun.' But, more strictly, Extantal Reification refers to the linguistic process by which such abstraction is brought about. For example, a word like 'life' functions perfectly well as a term that describes a mode of existence of an entity, as in the verb or adjective 'live.' As is implied by the term 'substantive,' the noun form can here create the impression of having an explicit referent. This obviously suggests that a Reificant is a noun that is taken as an 'essence' or 'substance' that has modes of existence of its own, in contrast to its semantic usage of pointing out some specific mode of existence. This is most obviously seen within the notion of 'the emergent property' which, in the case of the word 'life,' occurs from the simple fact that at a certain level of chemical organisation, it makes no sense to apply the term "life" whereas further up this process it does.

This divergence between syntactic form and semantic function can of course be represented within a formal logical notation, as the distinction between 'first-order predication,' where the eligible subject phrase has the certain function of referring to something or someone, as in the sentence "Socrates is wise," and 'second-order predication,' as in the sentence "Wisdom is rare." However, although this allows the logical syntax to correspond to semantic usage, this cannot of itself say anything about the process by which the divergence between syntax and semantics, evident in the words 'wise' and 'wisdom' is a feature of natural language.

The distinction between 'first order' and 'second order' predication relates directly to the question of the instantiation of existence that is given in the subject, such that with 'second order predication' a mode of existence is itself instantiated into having a 'free standing' existence by the structure of the sentence. The divergence between syntax and semantics takes place wherever a verb or an adjective is habitually placed as the subject of a sentence and thus functions as an Extantal Imbuant. Strictly speaking, any Extantal Imbuant carries out a function of Extantal Reification. But where the subject of a sentence is itself a word or phrase that habitually refers to an observable entity, as opposed to a mode of existence of an entity, then this function does not present us with an obvious divergence between semantic usage and syntactic form.

In many regular sentences however, Extantal Reification is tempered by its subsequent reference to an Extantal Objectant. For example, the sentence "Happiness was written all over his face" can be analysed as follows.

"Happiness [Extantal Imbuant/Reificant] was [Modal Processant] written all over his face [Modal Informant]."

But since the Modal Informant contains a substantive, this becomes the object to which the Reificant is referred, and hence the Modal Informant contains an Extantal Objectant, and the sentence would further analysed as:

"Happiness [Extantal Imbuant/Reificant] was [Modal Processant] written all over {his face [Extantal Objectant]} [Modal Informant].."

However, the Objectant is not a separate sentential extantialisation enabled by the standard noun function. Rather, the Objectant is extantally bound to the Imbuant, inasmuch as its extantness is sententially tied to the Imbuant in terms of the particular mode by which it is related to it. This can be seen in a sentence like "James is eating the apple." Here, the Extantal Objectant - 'the apple' - is extantally subordinated to the Imbuant as the object to which its contextual aspect is directed.

But the Objectant is extantally bound to the Imbuant in terms of its inseparability from the mode of action within the sentence. Thus, although we can say that the action of the verb 'eating' corresponds to both the Imbuant and the Informant, the sentence is structured in such a way that a non-correspondence between Objectant and the mode of action that it shares with the Imbuant cannot be stated. In order for this to be stated, the sentence must be inverted, to give "The apple is being eaten by James." This operation, where the Objectant of the first sentence can be made into the Imbuant of the second, is known as the Modal Switch. This is because the mode of action must be transformed from active to passive with regard to the switched Imbuant, in order to preserve the original relation wherein the Objectant is referred to the Imbuant.

Although the Modal Switch appears to be a fairly simple operation, it plays an important role within some of the more detailed analyses which the AIT approach makes possible. In relation to Extantal Reification, the Modally Switched sentence "The apple is being eaten by James," has the same form as "Happiness was written all over his face." In this reference to an Objectant, the abstract noun retains its adjectival form to indicate a state of his face, and it is only within sentences such as "Happiness is relative" that it strictly has the Reificant function of second-order predication.

Four: Conclusion. What has been presented here is a brief survey of the basic AIT argument. In part, it is a brief survey because the ideas themselves are new, and are still very much under investigation. It is only to be expected that AIT raises as many questions as it seems (to us at least) to answer. We hope anyone who has such questions will feel free to raise them on the AIT Discussion List at Yahoo, whether or not they are addressed elsewhere on this site.

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