Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
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09-05-2014, 10:00 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(09-05-2014 05:45 AM)living thing Wrote:  If I have understood your words correctly, I think I agree with most of them; in the end of the day, what is relevant about words is if they manage to convey ideas from one brain to another.
Obviously, you recognize that there are some problems - I would like to solve such problems, because I believe it is the root solution to ordering world peace.

(09-05-2014 05:45 AM)living thing Wrote:  human beings appear to be able to memorise thousands of words without great trouble recalling them.
I doubt it. But I think it would be a good idea if we were to figure out what the important reference points are that distribute the words assignment to describing reality.

(09-05-2014 05:45 AM)living thing Wrote:  But the point is that, if it is, that does not seem to imply its inefficiency.
how are we going to get there if we do not establish what the important words/definitions are?

(09-05-2014 05:45 AM)living thing Wrote:  There is a notion ("occupying a volume at some distance and in some direction from some reference location") that I would like to call "existence" because it then allows me to distinguish real entities from non-real entities based on their existence; real information consists of things occupying some volume in space, whereas information that is not real consists of change happening over time. Real things exist, whereas entities that are not real don't exist.
Thanks, and have fun!

You need to study the articles concerning ontology and property - pretty sure you are trying to apply volume to abstraction.

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
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09-05-2014, 10:27 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
Living thing, I think your sensitivity to literal language is a bit too high and that's why you misunderstood what I meant by language inefficiency. I'll try explain more what I meant. When there are too many words in a language there is the risk of alienating those that don't have an adept grasp of the complicated vocabulary. Then the message isn't conveyed. Kinda like talking to a person that uses a high register of words, not so much people not having the capacity to remember them.

With regard to your statements about the different existences, I largely feel that it is unnecessary. Having to make new words for simple ideas could be a sign of not being good enough with the basics of language. Especially when dealing with English, a language so rich in vocabulary.

That's all I can offer for now.

8000 years before Jesus, the Egyptian god Horus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life."
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09-05-2014, 03:42 PM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
Hello TrainWreck, thanks for your update.

(09-05-2014 10:00 AM)TrainWreck Wrote:  (...) pretty sure you are trying to apply volume to abstraction.
What do you mean? I've said many times already that, in my view, abstractions do not occupy any volume; in a geometrical sense, volumes do not apply to abstractions. So I'm not sure how I am trying to apply volume to abstraction. Would you mind please explaining what you understand by "volume" and "abstraction"?

Cheers!
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09-05-2014, 05:07 PM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
Hello BlackMason, how are you?

(09-05-2014 10:27 AM)BlackMason Wrote:  Living thing, I think your sensitivity to literal language is a bit too high and that's why you misunderstood what I meant by language inefficiency. I'll try explain more what I meant. When there are too many words in a language there is the risk of alienating those that don't have an adept grasp of the complicated vocabulary. Then the message isn't conveyed. Kinda like talking to a person that uses a high register of words, not so much people not having the capacity to remember them.

With regard to your statements about the different existences, I largely feel that it is unnecessary. Having to make new words for simple ideas could be a sign of not being good enough with the basics of language. Especially when dealing with English, a language so rich in vocabulary.

That's all I can offer for now.
And I thank you for it.

I appreciate your corrections and I apologise if I have misunderstood your words; I'm not a native English speaker. In fact, even though I think I may understand what you are trying to say (the more complex the language used in order to convey some message, the fewer people will be able to understand it; or, in four words, the simpler the better) I am not entirely sure of what you mean by "high register of words" versus "people's capacity to remember them". Might this be a good example of a message not successfully conveyed due to the complexity of the words chosen to encode it?

In any case, when I said that the relevance of words lies in their ability to convey ideas from one brain to another, I think I meant something similar to what you've just said. If a message is encoded in a set of words that is too complex to be understood, then the words used to encode it become useless, regardless of how syntactically, grammatically and semantically correct they are. If a language is used to deliver a message that cannot be understood by anyone who receives it, then either the message is bollocks, or the language is inefficient.

But I don't think the alienation of those without an adequate grasp of complex vocabulary necessarily reflects the inefficiency of the language; it can also reflect the inefficiency of an educational system. And then there is the people themselves and their interests; maybe if they read more and watched less Big Brother, they would understand larger vocabularies.

We seem to agree in that English has a rich vocabulary already, and here we are, using it to have philosophical conversations, despite the fact that at least one of us is not a native speaker; I am not sure the richness of its vocabulary renders it inefficient.

I don't think the vocabulary of a language can ever be too rich; not even rich enough, because new notions are constantly appearing in our collective mind, our environment keeps changing and so will the language that we use to describe it. The word "google" is documented to be a spelling mistake by Sean Anderson on September 15, 1997, when he tried to verify the availability of the domain "googol.com", and now there even is a verb "to google" meaning "searching for something on the internet", an expression that made no sense before 1982, when the internet was still ARPANET. Now we can photoshop pictures, meaning that we use some editing software to alter them... the profusion of new technology in the last thirty or forty years (or maybe two hundred) has brought with it plenty of new words, and I don't think that hinders understandability. When new notions appear, it may make sense to make up new words for them.

However in the case of existence, I think I prefer not making up a word, because by defining existence as I do, not only I can apply it to arrangements of matter that do occur out there (cars, rocks, trees, etc.) but I can also state, for example, that an omnipresent god does not exist, meaning that it is not located at any precise distance and in any precise direction from anything (it is purportedly located at all distances in all directions from every location).

But that is just the way I speak; I may be up to entirely wrong. Thanks again for your clarifications.

Have a good day!
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09-05-2014, 05:27 PM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
Hello Chas, I'm sorry I skipped your post.

(09-05-2014 06:59 AM)Chas Wrote:  You are being incredibly pedantic there.
The etymology of the word is interesting, but even when the concept of splitting the atom was introduced, there was simply no reason to coin a new word - the concept of atom was well beyond the strict adherence to etymology.
Whether I am pedantic or not has nothing to do with the divisibility of purportedly indivisible structures. If you don't like my incredibly pedantic posts, you are free to ignore them.

When the concept of splitting the things called "atoms" was introduced, the fact that they were splitting them was a perfect reason to stop calling them "atoms" and coin a new word instead, even if you don't understand how atomicity implies indivisibility or why Dalton believed certain substances to be atomic. But in many areas of modern science, such as order theory, atomicity still implies indivisibility, so it is not strictly a matter of etymology; modern science uses part of its language inconsistently.

Is there any argument that you can please provide supporting your claims, other than my incredible pedantry and your apparent ignorance of several areas of mathematics?

Thanks!
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09-05-2014, 05:38 PM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(03-04-2014 04:01 AM)living thing Wrote:  As I've said elsewhere, I often consider the notion of something occupying a specific volume at a specific distance in a specific direction from a specific reference point, and I call that notion "to exist".
Acceptable.

(03-04-2014 04:01 AM)living thing Wrote:  However, I realise that the term is already in use by other people, and very often in relation to notions that are not the one I just described, for example when someone suggests that Santa Claus exists in our minds.
Only abstractions can exist in the mind. There are diffirent categories of abstractions and "Santa Clause," is an allegory for merriment, charity, and God.

(03-04-2014 04:01 AM)living thing Wrote:  So I sometimes wonder whether I should simply make up a new term to summarise the notion (I don't know... to besist, or something like that), in order to avoid engaging in endless discussions about the meanings of words. What do you think is most adequate?
try making up a word and explain how you derived it as a combination of what it is you are

Humanism - ontological doctrine that posits that humans define reality
Theism - ontological doctrine that posits a supernatural entity creates and defines reality
Atheism - political doctrine opposed to theist doctrine in public policy
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09-05-2014, 06:45 PM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
Hello again, TrainWreck, how's it going?

(09-05-2014 05:38 PM)TrainWreck Wrote:  
(03-04-2014 04:01 AM)living thing Wrote:  However, I realise that the term is already in use by other people, and very often in relation to notions that are not the one I just described, for example when someone suggests that Santa Claus exists in our minds.
Only abstractions can exist in the mind. There are diffirent categories of abstractions and "Santa Clause," is an allegory for merriment, charity, and God.
He he, I would have thought that Santa Clause was the patron or patroness of contract writers.

But the point in defining existence in that way is that even though abstractions do occur in our minds, that does not mean they exist because our minds don't exist; our brains do. Our minds are sets of abstract implications conveyed by the motion of things in our brains. Our bodies and the things in our surroundings exist, but our minds and the abstractions they contain don't exist.

(09-05-2014 05:38 PM)TrainWreck Wrote:  
(03-04-2014 04:01 AM)living thing Wrote:  So I sometimes wonder whether I should simply make up a new term to summarise the notion (I don't know... to besist, or something like that), in order to avoid engaging in endless discussions about the meanings of words. What do you think is most adequate?
try making up a word and explain how you derived it as a combination of what it is you are
Well, to be honest, the word I chose ("besist") was not really meant as a proposal for acceptance, but as an illustration of what a made-up term might look like. I chose it due to its phonetical resemblance to the verbs "be" and "exist", and also because I couldn't find it defined in an English dictionary, suggesting that it is not widely used at this time.

However, I prefer attaching the notion to the verb "exist", because that gives me a fairly clear (although possibly mistaken) picture of what entities exist and what entities don't. If someone makes a claim about something existing, I can ask "where is it, in relation to us, at this precise instant?" and if the answer does not point to a specific location, then I don't necessarily trust such existence.

But once again, my goal when I brought this up was not discussing the notion of existence; I've been discussing that in a few other threads. My question is more along the lines of: What are the likely consequences (both favourable and unfavourable) that we can expect from trying to redefine words already in use to accommodate new notions? What are the likely consequences we can expect from making up new terms for those notions? Which set of consequences if any might imply a clearer understanding of the universe around us, and therefore have potentially more applications?

Thanks for your opinion if you have one on this subject.

Have fun!
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09-05-2014, 10:07 PM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(09-05-2014 05:27 PM)living thing Wrote:  Hello Chas, I'm sorry I skipped your post.

(09-05-2014 06:59 AM)Chas Wrote:  You are being incredibly pedantic there.
The etymology of the word is interesting, but even when the concept of splitting the atom was introduced, there was simply no reason to coin a new word - the concept of atom was well beyond the strict adherence to etymology.
Whether I am pedantic or not has nothing to do with the divisibility of purportedly indivisible structures. If you don't like my incredibly pedantic posts, you are free to ignore them.

When the concept of splitting the things called "atoms" was introduced, the fact that they were splitting them was a perfect reason to stop calling them "atoms" and coin a new word instead, even if you don't understand how atomicity implies indivisibility or why Dalton believed certain substances to be atomic. But in many areas of modern science, such as order theory, atomicity still implies indivisibility, so it is not strictly a matter of etymology; modern science uses part of its language inconsistently.

Is there any argument that you can please provide supporting your claims, other than my incredible pedantry and your apparent ignorance of several areas of mathematics?

Thanks!

You are hung up on the word origin. And, yes, that is pointlessly pedantic.

And precisely what areas of mathematics am I ignorant of? Consider

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10-05-2014, 03:30 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(09-05-2014 10:07 PM)Chas Wrote:  You are hung up on the word origin.
No, I'm not. I've also mentioned how the word is currently used with its morphological meaning, and in any case so-called "atoms" weren't even mentioned in my opening post. If anyone seems hung up on something, that's you; you seem to be focusing exclusively on how "atoms" are perfectly called, when the thread's topic is about the convenience of redefining words or making new ones up. Any thoughts on that?

(09-05-2014 10:07 PM)Chas Wrote:  And, yes, that is pointlessly pedantic.
Fair enough. So what?

(09-05-2014 10:07 PM)Chas Wrote:  And precisely what areas of mathematics am I ignorant of? Consider
I've already mentioned order theory, but also in computing atomicity implies indivisibility. Atomic operations are those that cannot be decomposed into simpler transformations, and they have absolutely nothing to do with the level of structure of so-called "atoms", other than Dalton mistakenly believing that elementary chemical substances could not be decomposed into simpler structures.

Thank you Chas, have a good day!
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10-05-2014, 07:14 AM
RE: Is it wise to redefine words that are already in use, to accommodate new notions?
(10-05-2014 03:30 AM)living thing Wrote:  
(09-05-2014 10:07 PM)Chas Wrote:  You are hung up on the word origin.
No, I'm not. I've also mentioned how the word is currently used with its morphological meaning, and in any case so-called "atoms" weren't even mentioned in my opening post. If anyone seems hung up on something, that's you; you seem to be focusing exclusively on how "atoms" are perfectly called, when the thread's topic is about the convenience of redefining words or making new ones up. Any thoughts on that?

I have not said 'atoms are perfectly called' - you just made that up. And I directly addressed the topic by saying there is no good reason to have made up a new word in place of 'atom'. If one did, then 'atom' would refer to nothing real at all; it is more convenient to just use the word and refine the meaning.

Quote:
(09-05-2014 10:07 PM)Chas Wrote:  And, yes, that is pointlessly pedantic.
Fair enough. So what?

You waste time.

Quote:
(09-05-2014 10:07 PM)Chas Wrote:  And precisely what areas of mathematics am I ignorant of? Consider
I've already mentioned order theory, but also in computing atomicity implies indivisibility.

Words have multiple meanings in natural languages - just deal with it.

Quote: Atomic operations are those that cannot be decomposed into simpler transformations, and they have absolutely nothing to do with the level of structure of so-called "atoms", other than Dalton mistakenly believing that elementary chemical substances could not be decomposed into simpler structures.

Thank you Chas, have a good day!

I am not ignorant of those mathematical concepts and it is insultingly presumptuous of you to assert that.

Thank you, have a miserable day.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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