[PH] > By using the word "the"
here, you beg the central question: whether there is a *single* set of
primitives out of which all other meanings can be formed.

Ah so. This is an objection I hadn’t gleaned from the earlier
notes. Interesting point. I thought the main objection was
about the finite number of primitives, not their identity. I
confess it has been an assumption of mine that, from the point of view of a
“primitive” concept being indivisible into smaller primitive
concepts (crudely analogous to an atom, in its role as a component of
molecules), that a finite inventory of such primitive-atoms (if such exists) would
be unique. I have never seen this point raised, and it may be
significant, but right now I can’t think of any way a set of indivisible
primitives could be anything but unique. Limited imagination, perhaps.

Now I have noticed that there
are mathematical objects that have very non-intuitive properties, and perhaps a
mathematician can provide some examples of how a set of primitive concepts (not
divisible into component primitive concepts) might be able to be formulated in
more than one way. I am genuinely curious about this suggestion.

* *

*[MW] There are two ways (at least) that
one concept can be defined in terms of another: relationally, and by
intersection (strictly a special sort of relational definition I suppose).*

* *

*Definition by intersection works for
example when you take, say, blue things, and cars, and derive the intersection
blue cars. Quite straightforward.*

* *

*An example of a relational definition
is: f = ma*

* *

*The characteristic of this kind of
definition is that of the 3 objects, any two can be taken as primitive and the
third derived from them. (I recall Chris Menzel making this point recently). *

*This is where the problem lies for you.
Any time you want to define something except by intersection, you have the
option to choose your primitives (and it is questionable whether you
should not retain all as primitives anyway).*

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Matthew West

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