[lit-ideas] Re: What is information?

  • From: Ursula Stange <Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2006 08:13:25 -0400

There's a joke about a three-legged dog in here somewhere, I think.

Donal McEvoy wrote:

Yes, and this is true of 'triangles' also: what (in normal usage) "we call"
triangular will always have be three-sided, but there is no reason in logic
why we could not use the word 'triangle' to refer to a four-sided object
rather than a three-sided one. It is obviously true that a three-sided object
will be three-sided but it is only a convention of language what term or
terms we use to refer to such objects: insofar as we insist that triangle is
not "rightly so called" when used to refer to an object that is not
three-sided we are merely appealing to rightness in terms of such conventions
of usage. We can allow 'triangle' to be used otherwise without contradiction
but if it is used otherwise, say to refer to a four-sided object, we can
insist that certain consequences follow logically from this e.g. if the
speaker subsequently uses the term triangle to refer to a three-sided object
it is logically the case that they are not using the term 'triangle' in the
same sense in which they used it to refer to a four-sided object - they are
giving it a different meanning.

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