View Poll Results: Is the plural of anecdote data?

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  • Yes

    2 25.00%
  • No

    5 62.50%
  • That it is is supported by the time my mate's anecdote fitted the data

    0 0%
  • Are you joking? Of course it isn't

    1 12.50%
  • The plural of "anecdote" is "anecdotes"

    3 37.50%
  • Hell no!

    1 12.50%
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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    No, because even if every instance of multiple anecdotes was an instance of data, that would not mean every instance of data was an instance of multiple anecdotes. I had the words that way around in my previous post for a reason.
    For simplicity then,

    2) Is data the plural of anecdote? Yes, it just so happens that every instance of multiple anecdotes is an instance of data, and vice versa, and it is a law of the universe.

  2. #62
    . eclectic's Avatar
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    a nec dote?

    da!!

    ta!

    .

  3. #63
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mangafranga
    For simplicity then,

    2) Is data the plural of anecdote? Yes, it just so happens that every instance of multiple anecdotes is an instance of data, and vice versa, and it is a law of the universe.
    If the stuff after "it just so happens" was true, I would agree. But that still provides no difference in meaning between 1) and 2), since if that was the case, then the word "data" and the word "anecdotes" would now have exactly the same meaning, and therefore 1) would get a "yes" answer too.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    If the stuff after "it just so happens" was true, I would agree. But that still provides no difference in meaning between 1) and 2), since if that was the case, then the word "data" and the word "anecdotes" would now have exactly the same meaning, and therefore 1) would get a "yes" answer too.
    So the meaning of a word is just its reference?

    Also, give me your reading of exactly what the data-anecdotes claim is. Is it, all data are anecdotes, all anecdotes are data, or is it a claim that both of these obtain?
    Last edited by Aaron Guthrie; 05-02-2008 at 12:35 AM.

  5. #65
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    Maybe I shouldn't have made any changes to the sentence's when I posted the 1 and the 2, though I am still not sure how my change makes things any different.

    So,

    2) Is the plural of anecdote data?

    as far as I can tell just means that whenever you get multiple anecdotes, you also get data. I.e. all multiple anecdotes are data.

    If you (Kevin) agree with this, I don't think I need to run any complicated argument to demonstrate my point. That is to say, I don't need to know your account of meaning to demonstrate things.

    edit-for some reason "Is the plural of "anecdote" "data?"" seems to me to mean that "anecdotes" and "data" can be substitute for each other. It is quite odd that quote marks would actually change a biconditional to a one way conditional, but still that is how I read it.
    Last edited by Aaron Guthrie; 06-02-2008 at 06:40 PM.

  6. #66
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mangafranga
    Maybe I shouldn't have made any changes to the sentence's when I posted the 1 and the 2, though I am still not sure how my change makes things any different.

    So,

    2) Is the plural of anecdote data?

    as far as I can tell just means that whenever you get multiple anecdotes, you also get data. I.e. all multiple anecdotes are data.
    The question can be interpreted either literally or what I'll call "metaphorically"

    If it is interpreted literally, then in my view it means all multiple anecdotes are data and all data are multiple anecdotes. You would not normally literally call X the plural of Y if quite a lot of Xs were not Y.

    If it is interpreted "metaphorically", then in my view it just means all multiple anecdotes are data.

    In my view it was originally intended "metaphorically".

    If it is intended literally, then the two words not meaning the same thing is a fatal objection to the sentence being true. If intended metaphorically (and hence only a one-way conditional) then it isn't.

    edit-for some reason "Is the plural of "anecdote" "data?"" seems to me to mean that "anecdotes" and "data" can be substitute for each other. It is quite odd that quote marks would actually change a biconditional to a one way conditional, but still that is how I read it.
    I have no idea why you read it that way, because as I've already said, the use of "plural" means (to me) that the discussion is about the meanings of two words that are being compared, and therefore whether there are quote marks around the two words or not is totally irrelevant. Therefore I think the quote marks should technically be there whether the meaning of the sentence is meant to be literal or "metaphorical".

    Perhaps someone can try coming up with other examples of the use of "plural" that might not support my interpretation.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    If it is interpreted literally, then in my view it means all multiple anecdotes are data and all data are multiple anecdotes. You would not normally literally call X the plural of Y if quite a lot of Xs were not Y.
    It doesn't seem to me like the sentence says that, it seems to me to say "Is this a that?" Where the this is multiple anecdotes, and the that is data.

    But I am not that concerned with this issue. I currently just want to know your reading, so I can then argue that even if your reading is correct, the quotes make a difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    If it is interpreted "metaphorically", then in my view it just means all multiple anecdotes are data.

    In my view it was originally intended "metaphorically".
    Of course if your metaphorical reading entails that quotes just cannot make a difference, I can not argue about that. However if it relies on this type of a move-
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    If the stuff after "it just so happens" was true, I would agree. But that still provides no difference in meaning between 1) and 2), since if that was the case, then the word "data" and the word "anecdotes" would now have exactly the same meaning, and therefore 1) would get a "yes" answer too.
    Then I can try to put forth an argument that quotes make a difference. I would also attempt such without arguing against your philosophy of language (unless your PoL was very clearly incoherent).
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I have no idea why you read it that way, because as I've already said, the use of "plural" means (to me) that the discussion is about the meanings of two words that are being compared, and therefore whether there are quote marks around the two words or not is totally irrelevant. Therefore I think the quote marks should technically be there whether the meaning of the sentence is meant to be literal or "metaphorical".

    Perhaps someone can try coming up with other examples of the use of "plural" that might not support my interpretation.
    But it seems as though it all comes down to the use of "plural". As I have said, I read it as "are this thing (in this case multiple anecdotes) that thing (data)". Using "plural" is a weird way to signify this, which I did note in my first response to you-
    Quote Originally Posted by Mangafranga
    It might be arguable that things that aren't words don't have plurals though.
    And so if your position is that the use of "plural" just means that it has to be about words, then I am not really interested in putting forth an argument against that.

    It might still be possible to argue my position anyway, based on what I guess is your philosophy of language. If the meaning of a word is just its referent (ala "water" means H20 because "water" refers to H20, and also not ala logical atomism), then quote marks on this philosophy of language can only refer to the symbols on the page, not to the meaning, and then I would have to think a bit more to complete the argument.
    Last edited by Aaron Guthrie; 06-02-2008 at 10:36 PM.

  8. #68
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mangafranga
    Using "plural" is a weird way to signify this, which I did note in my first response to you-
    Aaaah, I had wondered at the time what the mysterious (to me) sentence "It might be arguable that things that aren't words don't have plurals though." actually meant. I may have wondered about it for as much as four minutes before getting distracted.

    But it seems as though it all comes down to the use of "plural". As I have said, I read it as "are this thing (in this case multiple anecdotes) that thing (data)".
    That is what I think it is meant to mean, but it does so via an unusual use of the term "plural". I find no ambiguity in the question "are multiple anecdotes data?" - it is clearly not asking whether the two concepts in question are identical, but rather it is asking whether the former is an instance of the latter.

    It might still be possible to argue my position anyway, based on what I guess is your philosophy of language. If the meaning of a word is just its referent (ala "water" means H20 because "water" refers to H20, and also not ala logical atomism), then quote marks on this philosophy of language can only refer to the symbols on the page, not to the meaning, and then I would have to think a bit more to complete the argument.
    I don't think I've said anything that commits me to a view on whether the meaning of a word is or is not just its referent. At least, not intentionally.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    That is what I think it is meant to mean, but it does so via an unusual use of the term "plural". I find no ambiguity in the question "are multiple anecdotes data?" - it is clearly not asking whether the two concepts in question are identical, but rather it is asking whether the former is an instance of the latter.
    Now I am confused, as now it seems we agree on the meaning of the question. If the question asks about things, then sticking quote marks should clearly change the meaning to a question about words.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I don't think I've said anything that commits me to a view on whether the meaning of a word is or is not just its referent. At least, not intentionally.
    I thought your 63 did, as in my hypothetical the referent of the words was the same, and you said that means that the meaning is the same.

  10. #70
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    Perhaps the plural of anecdote is historical narrative?
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

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