Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds
Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds

5.4 The meaning of meaning

I've spoken above as if the whole question of meaning was a simple one. I've used the word itself as if it presented no problems. This certainly isn't true. The whole issue of semantics is a matter of fierce debate among computer scientists and philosophers. What is meaning anyway? How is it possible for anything inside a computer to mean something? Exactly where does meaning return as we go back across the boundary – at the output device or in the human mind? Is the meaning of a picture somehow different from that of a line of text, and if so how?

Fortunately for me (and for you), there's no need for us to get involved in this brawl. What I've said about the issue of meaning – that digital representations mean nothing in themselves – will do for now. Let's end the section on a less contentious note and look quickly at some output devices.

M150_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus