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Thread: Philosophy Something

  1. #1
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    Philosophy Something

    A word definition that leads to another word definition that refers back to the original word definition. So the former definition is dependent on the latter, and the latter definition is dependent on the former?

    So no definition can exist because it cannot be broken down into an independent term.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    Define definition
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  3. #3
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    I don't think I can.

    A means B. B means A. What's A? A is B. What's B? B is A.
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    Therefore A=B. So the condition to be met, in my opinion, is A=A.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    Quote Originally Posted by PilgrimsPath View Post
    A word definition that leads to another word definition that refers back to the original word definition. So the former definition is dependent on the latter, and the latter definition is dependent on the former?
    So no definition can exist because it cannot be broken down into an independent term.
    @PilgrimsPath, your question identifies you as someone who is poorly prepared in the history of philosophy. You should read The Critique of Pure Reason, in which Kant lays out the Analytic–synthetic distinction. I think you are confusing that problem with the twentieth century problem of self reference. The problem of self reference is at the base of all twentieth century set theory & logic. There is a party problem: there is an isolated island where one male barber, by law, must shave any man who does not shave himself. Well the party question is simply: can the barber shave himself without breaking the law??

    This is just one of many, many such self-referential questions. But the idea goes far beyond party games.
    There is a true story. B. Russel wrote a note to Frege asking a simple question, "is a set of tea-spoons a tea-spoon?
    Frege had just finished the third volume of his set theory. Upon reading Russel's note, Frege realized the flaw in his work.

    Consider a 'set' $\Omega$ that contains any set that does not contain itself. Do you see how this is 'self reference'?
    • if $\Omega\in\Omega$ then $\Omega$ does not contain itself(WHY)?
    • If $\Omega\notin\Omega$ then $\Omega$ does not contain itself so that means $\Omega\in\Omega$


    Therefore, one must take extreme care with definitions. Your assumption that definitions are impossible is complete nonsense! But the above shows that extreme care must be given to definitions.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    We do not define everything- sometimes we just point! In mathematics, since this is a mathematics board, we start with "undefined terms" that are left as "place holders". They are given meaning in a particular application.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    @Plato
    Great post I'll get back to you on that.

    @HallsofIvy
    Again another first-class response. I'll get back to you on this because undefined terms are popping up in my set theory books.

    One step at a time to get my point across. Pick up a dictionary and choose a word. I'll choose...remark.
    I look up its definition and it leads me to another word; namely comment. I look up the definition of comment and that definition uses remark to define comment!?

    So both word definitions are dependent on each other. This is the point I'm trying to make.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    Yes, you cannot define all word with words. That is why you have to have some independent knowledge before you consult a dictionary. I'll bet that when your parents told you to "eat your vegetables", you did not need to look "eat", "your", and "vegetables" up in a dictionary.
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    So is it safe to say that one can define something through experience alone?
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  10. #10
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    I'm not sure I would use the word "define" there but, yes, there are somethings (actually many things) that are "das ding an sich" ("the thing itself").
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    @Plato

    I've found the time to go over some of your lengthy post. Yes you're right about my philosophy; I'm beginner of beginner, but I'm looking forward to what's to come. This Wittgenstein guy is growing on me.

    That's the barber paradox according to my philosophy dictionary. If he shaves, then he does not. If he does not shave, then he does. It's a close comparison to Russel's paradox.

    I'll get back to you on the rest.

    @HallsofIvy

    Ok thanks. Your words have been absorbed. You'll hear from me again.
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    Quote Originally Posted by PilgrimsPath View Post
    @Plato

    I've found the time to go over some of your lengthy post. Yes you're right about my philosophy; I'm beginner of beginner, but I'm looking forward to what's to come. This Wittgenstein guy is growing on me.

    That's the barber paradox according to my philosophy dictionary. If he shaves, then he does not. If he does not shave, then he does. It's a close comparison to Russel's paradox.

    I'll get back to you on the rest.

    @HallsofIvy

    Ok thanks. Your words have been absorbed. You'll hear from me again.
    I would like all y'all to look at my signature.

    -Dan
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    I like it, I like it! Only because I get it!
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    It is interesting that Russell himself doesn't seem to have considered that possibility that the village barber is a woman.
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    Re: Philosophy Something

    Quote Originally Posted by HallsofIvy View Post
    It is interesting that Russell himself doesn't seem to have considered that possibility that the village barber is a woman.
    Doesn't matter. They shave their legs. (And don't start me on bikini waxing...)

    -Dan
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