[Taxacom] Clade age
jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Mon Nov 14 13:12:25 CST 2011
No, the idea that definitions matter is the tyranny. The point is that
definitions solved nothing that was not already solved. If people agree
on definitions then they have already agreed on what they are about.
Definitions do not provide any more information than is already known
There are two sides to every clarity and confusion, not just the
speaker/writer, but recipient as well.
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Jensen
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2011 2:06 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Clade age
Agreeing on definitions is a tyrrany? It seems to me that only someone
with an agenda to be hidden would believe that definitions are
tyrranical. Agree on a set of definitions, then lay out an argument
based on the agreed upon definitions. Only then can others evaluate the
argument in an appropriate context. It is not sufficient to say that
others are well aware of your viewpoint. It is incumbent on you, the
speaker/writer, to ensure that there is no confusion with respect to
what is meant.
On 11/14/2011 1:33 PM, John Grehan wrote:
> Here is someone trying to impose the tyranny of definitions. Sure, an
> explanation of what one means by a term is helpful, but then only in
> much as there is a shared understanding about the context. People
> over definitions all the time, but whether such arguments really solve
> anything or not is another matter. The perennial species definition
> arguments are a nice case in point.
> I have seem little sing of confusion about my 'definitions' or
> else. The usual response is that others are all too well aware of my
> viewpoint and understand it well enough to usually disagree very
> strongly without any (apparent) confusion whatsoever.
> John Grehan
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard
> Sent: Monday, November 14, 2011 11:41 AM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Clade age
> Unfortunately, the one thing you and John agree on is a mistake.
> Definitions do matter. They are essential for understandable
> communication. If you are allowed to define "science" by your
> and I am allowed to define it by a different set of properties, then
> can we ever communicate effectively? It's the old apples and oranges
> (and, no, I'm not a Herman Cain supporter) confusion. Both are fruits
> and share a variety of properties, but they are not, by definition,
> same thing!
> John has made this argument before and it appears to be part of the
> problem in communicating with him. His definitions often are quite
> different from those that many (most!) of us use and that only serves
> create confusion and a lot of unnecessary exchanges on Taxacom.
> Dick J
> On 11/11/2011 11:06 PM, Curtis Clark wrote:
>> On 11/11/2011 5:52 PM, John Grehan wrote:
>>> Which is why definitions don't matter.
>> And at last we agree.
Richard J. Jensen, Professor
Department of Biology
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
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