Words that need to be redefined
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19-02-2013, 12:18 PM
Words that need to be redefined
I think there are several words which definition is outdated or even incorrect, since
their definitions were given many years or centuries ago and there've been many
scientific discoveries since then. Others have changed their meanings

Some of those words that come to mind are:

- Nothing
- Soul
- Freedom
- Moral
- Faith
- Truth

Some of those words need a philosophical approach rather than scientific; others, a humanist, political or even religious.
Nevertheless, when discussing/debating with someone and these words appear in the conversation, it's probable that
they say something that's very different of what they mean or even worse, the other person might have a different idea
of the word(s).

This is very common with the word "nothing", a word I find difficult to explain in layman terms.

What other words do you think need to be redefined?
Sometimes I think we need to "invent" new words instead of redefining the old ones.
What do you think?

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19-02-2013, 12:54 PM
RE: Words that need to be redefined
I think you have something there. Though a life long non theist, I did struggle with this idea of soul - I never really understood what people were referring to.
It's possible I still don't relate to what a theist might mean by the term soul but I'm pretty certain they are referring to identity... which seems kind of lame when you think about it. Dodgy

Anyway, I think a lot of understanding is lost between the lines, when not only theists and atheists can't agree on the definition of a word but the myriad of denominations of theists are at odds themselves when it comes to accepted definitions.

Fuck that was a long sentence. I should shut the hell up now. Drinking Beverage

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19-02-2013, 01:20 PM
RE: Words that need to be redefined
"Soul" and "faith" are two of several overused words that might not have a religious meaning.

Soul, for example:
- When talking about some musician, it's common to hear: he has soul. Or she plays with her soul.
- When someone does something nice: she's a good soul.
- He has no soul. (It could mean anything: he's a bad person, he's lazy, he doesn't like what he does, etc).

Same for "faith":
- That's a very difficult job, just have faith and you're be able to solve the problem.
- Hey, don't worry, have faith and everything is going to be fine.
- Have faith, your payment will come.
- Have faith, don't be a pessimist.

... and so on...

As an atheist, I find it difficult to separate those words from their religious meaning and as you can see,
people might get a bad idea of you if you say:

- Soul? we don't have one!
- Do you have a soul? Prove it.

The same thing happens with "faith".

In most cases I just change the word in my mind and try take it philosophically but sometimes I just can't
help myself and answer with a sarcastical phrase or a question like the ones above.

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19-02-2013, 01:28 PM
RE: Words that need to be redefined



For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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19-02-2013, 02:31 PM
RE: Words that need to be redefined
(19-02-2013 12:18 PM)KVron Wrote:  Some of those words that come to mind are:

- Nothing - What I do on Sunday.

- Soul - What niggas do, in order to make something that would have otherwise been boring and without taste, dope.

...oh wait..not that 'soul'.

- Freedom - Eating a Big Mac.

- Moral - What doesn't exist when I don't want to be wrong.

- Faith - Like Febreze, specifically designed to cover up the smell of bullshit. And they are still working on the formula.

- Truth - See 'Moral'.


Yeah, it looks like we have a lot of work to do. Sounds like a good idea for a project, where you parody an encyclopedia... http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-onio...133265&r=1

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19-02-2013, 02:36 PM
RE: Words that need to be redefined
On a serious note, people need only to be objective and clean up.

It's hard when we have languages that just suck, like English, but at the end of the day, people need only to make sure that they are objective, if only in spirit, at trying to make language correspond with what it is that they are trying to communicate, represent, express, etc.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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19-02-2013, 06:49 PM
RE: Words that need to be redefined
(19-02-2013 02:36 PM)TrulyX Wrote:  On a serious note, people need only to be objective and clean up.

It's hard when we have languages that just suck, like English, but at the end of the day, people need only to make sure that they are objective, if only in spirit, at trying to make language correspond with what it is that they are trying to communicate, represent, express, etc.
I'm sure it's not only in English were this ambiguities occur. My main language is Spanish and it's the same thing.

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19-02-2013, 08:05 PM (This post was last modified: 19-02-2013 11:13 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: Words that need to be redefined
(19-02-2013 01:28 PM)bemore Wrote:  


"Creation seems to come out of imperfection. It
seems to come out of a striving and a frustration. And this is where I
think language came from. I mean, it came from our desire to transcend
our isolation and have some sort of connection with one another."

A quote from the waking life?

Please tell me you've studied the ideas of language past this appeal to emotion.

It obviously came from the need to communicate dangers, and advantages. Eventually leading from pack behavior to language.

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19-02-2013, 09:27 PM (This post was last modified: 19-02-2013 09:51 PM by Lion IRC.)
RE: Words that need to be redefined
(19-02-2013 12:18 PM)KVron Wrote:  I think there are several words which definition is outdated or even incorrect, since
their definitions were given many years or centuries ago and there've been many
scientific discoveries since then. Others have changed their meanings....


Good list KVron !

- Nothing
- Soul
- Freedom
- Moral
- Faith
- Truth

Here's some others,

Marriage - apparently no longer necessarily between loving, opposite gender adults. No longer a commitment. No longer a ''social contract''. No longer about ''family''. Now it's arguably available to everyone and anyone without any nasty, bigoted legal discrimination.

Edit to add sub-category for the subjectively defined word "Gender" which is also becoming more and more elective.

Existence - If you redefine the words ''something'' and ''nothing'' then the entire epistemology of existential reality needs to get a LOT MORE fuzzy. Not sure if that makes it harder or easier to assert the existence of ''something'' (Probably easier. A bit like multiverses, quantum foam, dark energy etc etc.)

Human - We are apparently less certain now about when a (temporary) human being begins to exist. Has that person always existed in one form or another? If the universe and everything in it has always existed, then independent, conscious existence is illusory. A human brain and the concept of ''self'' is no more or less than the tiny sum of chemical elements that never cease to exist.

Atheism - I've been waiting a long time to change the definition of the word atheism so that it is correctly referred to as a religion. If a US Federal Court judge can describe it as a religion and atheists like Alan de Botton can have atheist churches, then lets just get it over and done with and call it what it is.
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19-02-2013, 10:55 PM
RE: Words that need to be redefined
(19-02-2013 09:27 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  
(19-02-2013 12:18 PM)KVron Wrote:  I think there are several words which definition is outdated or even incorrect, since
their definitions were given many years or centuries ago and there've been many
scientific discoveries since then. Others have changed their meanings....


Good list KVron !

- Nothing
- Soul
- Freedom
- Moral
- Faith
- Truth

Here's some others,

Marriage - apparently no longer necessarily between loving, opposite gender adults. No longer a commitment. No longer a ''social contract''. No longer about ''family''. Now it's arguably available to everyone and anyone without any nasty, bigoted legal discrimination.

Edit to add sub-category for the subjectively defined word "Gender" which is also becoming more and more elective.

Existence - If you redefine the words ''something'' and ''nothing'' then the entire epistemology of existential reality needs to get a LOT MORE fuzzy. Not sure if that makes it harder or easier to assert the existence of ''something'' (Probably easier. A bit like multiverses, quantum foam, dark energy etc etc.)

Human - We are apparently less certain now about when a (temporary) human being begins to exist. Has that person always existed in one form or another? If the universe and everything in it has always existed, then independent, conscious existence is illusory. A human brain and the concept of ''self'' is no more or less than the tiny sum of chemical elements that never cease to exist.

Atheism - I've been waiting a long time to change the definition of the word atheism so that it is correctly referred to as a religion. If a US Federal Court judge can describe it as a religion and atheists like Alan de Botton can have atheist churches, then lets just get it over and done with and call it what it is.
If I had a religion I would call it the cult of reason.

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The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
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