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Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Reality and Truth

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 02 May 2007 12:45:04 -0400
Message-id: <4638C010.5070801@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris,    (01)

I'll admit that Schiappa's use of the word "always" was a bit
extreme, but his focus was on attempts to legislate definitions
for words whose origins are based on everyday usage.    (02)

> Yes, I've always been particularly suspicious of the definition of  
> "prime number".  I mean, by singling 2, 3, 5, etc out as "prime", are  
> we not thereby marginalizing those numbers that are tarred as "non- 
> prime"?    (03)

Indeed.  That may sound humorous, but there was a lot of consternation
about the idea of applying the word 'number' to those "imaginary"
thingies.  And of course, we mustn't forget the state legislature
(was it Indiana?) that passed a law to define pi as 3.    (04)

I'll admit that definitions in a math textbook are usually defensible,
but Schiappa's point is worth noting.  Whenever people try to legislate
definitions for common words, their motivations should be questioned.    (05)

Just look at all the attempts to define "life", "death", etc.    (06)

John    (07)

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