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ElevatorEscapee
13-07-2012, 09:51 AM
Looking at the threads here, it seems that a lot of people are having a bit of trouble in their arguments when it comes to defining things.

To one person a certain word may mean a perfectly innocent thing, to others, it may mean something completly different and have distasteful and objectionable connotations.

Apparently Science Fiction (SF) is quite popular here, as many of the defiintion threads include "sf" in their titles.

Given that definitions are so important, what is your defnition of the word "definition"?

Can you claim that yours' is the definitive definition? Or do you have scope for accepting others' definitions, even if their definitions may differ from yours? :)

Rincewind
13-07-2012, 10:25 AM
Can you claim that yours' is the definitive definition? Or do you have scope for accepting others' definitions, even if their definitions may differ from yours? :)

I think this is the crux of the Christian definition thread. The literalist mob think they have the good oil on the definition of Christian and others (almost everyone else) are using the term incorrectly. And that things were much simpler in the 4th century. :D

Kevin Bonham
13-07-2012, 12:06 PM
Just for the benefit of anyone confused (though I'm sure EE isn't), "sf" or "sf." in a thread title means "split from", indicating that the thread started with posts moved from the other thread(s) named. If we were classifying threads according to literary genre - which we have really only had to do so far with Axiom's - then UF (Unscientific Fiction) would probably be a good label for some. :lol:

Kevin Bonham
13-07-2012, 06:10 PM
I tend to take a view similar to that of Wittgenstein, that many common words defining sets of people or objects are not capable of definition simply by reference to a set of essential criteria, but instead are most easily identified by resemblance to other objects/people that are uncontentiously included in that set. "Christian" is one that is currently being discussed on this board; others I've seen similar arguments about include art, religion, goth (in both the personal and musical sense), left-wing and right-wing, etc. But not all words pose such difficulties.

It's also possible that some words could be defined in a similar way to an ID check - that there are various ways of establishing that something belongs to a given set as a result of some combination of attributes, with some attributes being nearly conclusive evidence while others might only make up a small proportion of a conclusive case.

Giving a definition of "definition" is probably easier than coming up with a robust general process for establishing one.

morebeer
13-07-2012, 10:48 PM
I tend to take a view similar to that of Wittgenstein, that many common words defining sets of people or objects are not capable of definition simply by reference to a set of essential criteria...

e.g. game

Kevin Bonham
13-07-2012, 10:49 PM
e.g. game

Yes, I that was Wittgenstein's primary example. "Sport" is another case in point.

morebeer
13-07-2012, 10:57 PM
Smart guy.

He was also a gun door handle designer.

http://www.bauhaus-fittings.com/136/Ludwig_Wittgenstein.htm

Mrs Jono
14-07-2012, 03:56 AM
- that there are various ways of establishing that something belongs to a given set as a result of some combination of attributes, with some attributes being nearly conclusive evidence while others might only make up a small proportion of a conclusive case.

IMO, the subjective/objective nature of those attributes and the bias of the ones making the determination can be a definite handicap toward conclusion.

All who claim to be artists, writers, singers, etc. are engaging in a subjective activity. Aside from kooks making spurious claims, exclusion generally cannot be determined by the quality of what is produced in these cases.

In other instances, some might find it necessary to include a qualifier to the description if they hold a particular bias or they feel the common definition has some very objective attributes.

For example, the common understanding of "Teacher" might be considered someone engaged in the activity of teaching at an educational institution.

Individual bias might gauge whether one accepts the title as applicable to those who home school, conduct chess classes in their home, instruct a room full of kids on Sunday morning at church, or provide ESL lessons at the local library. One argument might be for the strict inclusion of only those with educational degrees. This in-turn might prompt the more inclusive to argue the presence of bigotry in the less inclusive who insist on using a qualifier, or change the title to "Home educator", "chess tutor", "Sunday school class-leader", or "ESL coach". We may also see people opening the definition up to personified abstraction. Ironically, those people claiming bigotry might be found later to be negatively bringing their own bias into different discussions they feel more strongly about (ahem, "not a real scientist" of those holding degrees in science :whistle:).

Everyone has some sort of bias.

Again, aside from the misguided children and the insane ("No, you aren't Superman, and you cannot fly"), the bigger issue, IMO, is recognising mandatory attributes, e.g., one can only be defined POTUS if they hold or have held that position.

So who or what determines whether an attribute is mandatory to the description? And when is disagree bigotry, or simple disagreement?

Rincewind
14-07-2012, 11:36 AM
(ahem, "not a real scientist" of those holding degrees in science :whistle:).

Matt 7:16

Mrs Jono
14-07-2012, 01:23 PM
Matt 7:16

Psalm 50:9 RSV

Desmond
14-07-2012, 02:40 PM
^ are you two playing Battleships?

Rincewind
14-07-2012, 07:04 PM
^ are you two playing Battleships?

I was quoting the bible because Mrs Gump actually thinks it contains something useful. I'm not sure why she was doing the same to me. IMO she would have more traction quoting Bertrand Russell.

Mrs Jono
14-07-2012, 07:18 PM
^ are you two playing Battleships?

:lol:



I'm not sure why she was doing the same to me.

Because Psalm 50:9 RSV (http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/psalms/50-9.html) was an appropriate reply. I'll let you look it up to see why.

Rincewind
14-07-2012, 07:27 PM
Because Psalm 50:9 RSV (http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/psalms/50-9.html) was an appropriate reply. I'll let you look it up to see why.

Not at all. Your husband regularly flouts his qualification in physical chemistry despite not publishing any research for two decades and when he was active (i.e. when doing his PhD and perhaps slightly before) the sum total of his output was a handful of papers which garnered around the same number of citations. Hence by his fruit (epsilon) we know he is trained to be a scientist he just never was one.

He has been very active writing for a church bulletin, however.

Mrs Jono
15-07-2012, 03:47 AM
Mrs Gump

There were two.

I can by no stretch of the imagination be identified with the wife, Jenny, who was the short-lived version who lived a path of self-destruction through being a liberal activist mixed up with the SDS fringe, a drug-using hippy who eventually settled into being a single-parent waitress who hid her kid from his father, Forrest, for many years, and eventually died of an unspecified "virus" that was probably AIDS.

That leaves the mother, who raised Forrest as a single-parent after his father abandoned them[/or died, movie vs book], who loves her son unconditionally, giving him slogan sounding pearls of wisdom that he can understand and use to get through the tough bits of his life, a Christian conservative who did her best to live a good life, and who [in the movie] died in her bed with her son at her side. I'm okay with that comparison.



Hence by his fruit (epsilon) we know he is trained to be a scientist he just never was one.

And with an amazing show of prejudice, and dismissive handwaving over how many papers are sufficient, you broadbrush away every other scientist with a valid science degree, who may not have entered the same field, but published similarly. Good going. It appears there are also no mirrors or pools of water for self-reflection on comments of prejudice and bigotry over there in the shadow of those windmills, RW.

Yeah. I still "will accept no bull from your house".

Rincewind
15-07-2012, 10:54 AM
There were two.

I was not thinking of either but rather using the term in the same way as I use the term Mrs Thumper (and Mr Thumper). Sort of a feminine version of Forrest Gump if you like, but only insofar as you supplied the original cultural reference.

Desmond
17-07-2012, 03:36 PM
I know a guy who thinks that Forrest Gump is a true story. Yep. As evidenced by the video with US Presidents, the companies he started, etc. Did I mention he's a Pentecostal?

Rincewind
17-07-2012, 04:18 PM
I know a guy who thinks that Forrest Gump is a true story. Yep. As evidenced by the video with US Presidents, the companies he started, etc. Did I mention he's a Pentecostal?

That's nothing. He probably also believes that Genesis is a true story. :hand: