SUO: Re: SUOP Topic :> Definition Of Definition
SUOPT :> Definition. Note 6
SUOPT Outline. http://suo.ieee.org/email/thrd1.html#11635
JA = Jon Awbrey
JS = John Sowa
NS = Norman Swartz
Cf. SUOPT :> Definition 02. http://suo.ieee.org/email/msg11652.html
Ever since passion become formally recognized
as a not-of-necessity evil thing in SUO Land,
I have felt liberated to express myself with
a modicum thereof. I think, no, I daresay
I 'feel', that I declaimed my intentions
on this auto-da-fe with all due dynamism.
Please allow me a bit of a refractory
period, as I am too exhausted to go
through 'that' again, at least,
for the time being.
Refractory Period @
Sporadic remarks below:
SUOPT :> Definition 05. http://suo.ieee.org/email/msg11736.html
JS: Although I agree with you that there are no universally accepted
definitions of terms like "issue", "example", and "proposition",
I also agree with Tom that there are many more important things
to do than to spend time defining those terms.
JA: If you can locate but a single consensual
definition hereabouts, of even the firest
geronymous brand, then do e-patch it with
all due dispatch to a fine and proper url,
and the entire working group will pick up
the gauntlet, and initiate itself on that.
JS: I believe it would be a total waste of time to search for
citations or to study whatever citations might be found.
In an earlier note to this thread, I recommended the
paper by Norman Swartz:
NS: Definitions, Dictionaries, and Meanings
JA, Inserting the requested copyright notice,
so as not to become the "unwitting dupe"
of JS, in his transparent and pernicious
attempt to thwart the letter, if not the
spirit, of all applicable copyright laws:
| The material so indicated below is used on
| the condition that the following notice be
| included with it:
| Copyright © Norman Swartz 1997
| URL: http://www.sfu.ca/philosophy/swartz/definitn.htm
| This revision: September 27, 1997
| Department of Philosophy
| Simon Fraser University
| These notes may be freely reproduced, in whole or in part,
| provided the copyright notice and URL (above) are preserved
| on the copy. Any other reproduction is illegal.
JS: Please note the following paragraph from that paper:
NS: Far too much stock has been placed in the supposed efficacy and
utility of defining our terms. Students often approach philosophy
with beliefs about definition which border on the magical. Students
mistakenly believe that defining one's terms will usually have a powerful,
beneficial payoff; but the actual dividend earned in defining one's terms
is typically fairly meager.
Is this an argument for innate ideas?
Or just an indirect way of exploiting
straw-students to slam their previous
JS: For example, I define the word "proposition"
as an equivalence class of sentences under a
given class of meaning-preserving translations.
This is a standard tack, at least, it's what just about
everybody I know does, or tries to do, one way or another.
The deuce is in the details.
JS: See the following web page:
JS: Meaning-Preserving Translations
JS: This is a very precise, but very theory-dependent definition,
which I have found useful for many theoretical purposes.
I would also consider it a definition that is well within
the range of more informal uses of the English word.
JS: However, I would never claim that it was consensual,
widely accepted, or even understandable by anyone
who did not have a good background in logic.
It would, of course, require a Target Audience,
AKA "community of interpretation" (COI), that
did not have cotton wad plug-ins in their ears.
John, these are fascinating issues, er, questions, er, topics.
If I had not disconnected the substantive portion of my brain:
all for the sake of "carrying on" this Procedural "deliveration" --
that's what happened to Prometheus, y'know, so watch out for that --
I would perhaps be presently capable of joining in with some Gusto!
JS: I believe that my definition is appropriate for a formally
defined ontology, and I would recommend it for that purpose.
But I also believe that it would be completely inappropriate
for a procedures document on how to define an ontology.
JS: To use Peirce's pragmatic criterion, that definition (or any other
precise definition of "proposition") would not make the slightest
difference in any procedures that the SUO group would carry out,
except perhaps to waste a lot of time.
JS: Bottom line: There are better things to do
with our time, and let's get on with them.
I move that the IEEE SUO Group adopt the Pragmatic Maxim
to clarify all residual issues/questions about meanings,
and I will, in duel course, expect your valiant second --
that's what happened to Galois, y'know.
P.S. I'm also considering proposing "Murray's Law",
that proscribes against working on weekends any more.