Re: [quickphilosophy] Re: Fodor on Concepts IV: Circularity

  • From: wittrsl@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: quickphilosophy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2010 21:55:02 +0100

I can see your point, Neil, but am not convinced.  What you are talking 
about looks to me to be scientific practice rather than the meaning of 
words.

It is possible for scientists to choose to define words in such a way 
that certain statements (such as your example) appear inescapable.  At 
least for a while.

But general usage refuses to be bound by such principles - a prime 
example is the word "cusp" which to me has a very specific meaning, but 
latterly has become every writer's favourite word in apparently 
arbitrary circumstances.

And even scientific usage is liable to slide over time.

Despite my disgust over the misuse of "cusp" lexicographers will no 
doubt alter their definitions to match current usage.

Although in many cases I might deplore changing usage, it is also true 
that it is the seemingly infinite malleability of language that is its 
power and delight.


iro3isdx wrote:

 > But within science, "all mammals are
 > vertebrates" seems clearly analytic.
 >
 > Regards,
 > Neil

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