longknowledge
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 02:44 am
@Reconstructo,
OK, how about we look at a "real" definition or set of definitions. I've been researching the various meanings of the verb "to sustain" and I'll give you three definitions that appear to refer to the same "meaning." (This is only a sample of the ones that appear to be related to this meaning, and also I have identified at least a dozen other meanings of the word "sustain." For a larger list of definitions of "sustain" see my blog here.)

sustain, verb

1. to uphold
2. to be the physical support of
3. to keep something in position by holding it from below

One interesting thing that you may notice is that these "definitions" consist of synonyms or synonymous expressions, in this case a verb and two verb phrases. It appears from my research that definitions of verbs can only consist of synonyms or synonymous expressions.

We could present each definition in the form a sentence, as follows:

1. "To sustain" is "to uphold."
2. "To sustain" is "to be the physical support of."
3. "To sustain" is "to keep something in position by holding it from below."

Or even as more formal propositions as follows:

1. The meaning of the verb "to sustain" is "to uphold."
2. The meaning of the verb "to sustain" is "to be the physical support of."
3. The meaning of the verb "to sustain" is "to keep something in position by holding it from below."

Now you could interpret these as predications where the subject is "the meaning of the verb 'to sustain'," and the predicates are "is 'to uphold'," "is 'to be the physical support of'," or "is 'to keep something in position by holding it from below'."

But, how does that help in deciding which of the above propositions is the "correct definition" for this "meaning" of the word "sustain"? And since I have identified at least a dozen other "meanings" of the word "sustain," including two as a noun, what does this say about arriving at "the" definition of a word?

And the answer is, I don't know!

Any suggestions?

:flowers:
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 03:18 am
@kennethamy,
Context can serve as a half-God and the reader as the other half. It's always a risk to read, it seems. The risk of necessity of misreading.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 06:27 am
@longknowledge,
longknowledge;131344 wrote:
OK, how about we look at a "real" definition or set of definitions. I've been researching the various meanings of the verb "to sustain" and I'll give you three definitions that appear to refer to the same "meaning." (This is only a sample of the ones that appear to be related to this meaning, and also I have identified at least a dozen other meanings of the word "sustain." For a larger list of definitions of "sustain" see my blog here.)

sustain, verb

1. to uphold
2. to be the physical support of
3. to keep something in position by holding it from below

One interesting thing that you may notice is that these "definitions" consist of synonyms or synonymous expressions, in this case a verb and two verb phrases. It appears from my research that definitions of verbs can only consist of synonyms or synonymous expressions.

We could present each definition in the form a sentence, as follows:

1. "To sustain" is "to uphold."
2. "To sustain" is "to be the physical support of."
3. "To sustain" is "to keep something in position by holding it from below."

Or even as more formal propositions as follows:

1. The meaning of the verb "to sustain" is "to uphold."
2. The meaning of the verb "to sustain" is "to be the physical support of."
3. The meaning of the verb "to sustain" is "to keep something in position by holding it from below."

Now you could interpret these as predications where the subject is "the meaning of the verb 'to sustain'," and the predicates are "is 'to uphold'," "is 'to be the physical support of'," or "is 'to keep something in position by holding it from below'."

But, how does that help in deciding which of the above propositions is the "correct definition" for this "meaning" of the word "sustain"? And since I have identified at least a dozen other "meanings" of the word "sustain," including two as a noun, what does this say about arriving at "the" definition of a word?

And the answer is, I don't know!

Any suggestions?

:flowers:


It says to me that the different formulations you provide have stylistic differences, but nothing much in substance, so that which actual words you will choose will depend on the context. On the other hand, if various formulations were substantially different, that would mean that the same word had different meanings. The same word can have different meanings (ambiguity) and, so, have very different definitions. There is also the possibility of homonyms, which are different words spelled or sounded differently. And, of course, different words will have difference definitions. So when you consider all these differences, the your problem dissolves. You have not looked at the matter closely enough.

And, by the way, the term "is" or any other form of "to be" is not part of the predicate, it is the copula that connects the subject with the predicate. Logic books make that distinction between the copula and the predicate right away.

"Tolle Lege Tolle Lege" "Pick up and read" "Pick up and read". It isn't all in Ortega.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 10:41 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;128365 wrote:
Yessir. So maybe there is something new beneath that old Sun of ours occasionally.

Let me ask you a sort of dumm question...Do you think the sun rises or the the world rotates??? Doesn't your mind sort of rebel at the idea of the obvious being untrue??? What does it mean if the whole world is under the sun and at once over it, having no relationship with it that could be called up or down...Unless we reference the earth itself because it is the center of our universe...
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 10:48 pm
@Fido,
Fido;131708 wrote:
Let me ask you a sort of dumm question...Do you think the sun rises or the the world rotates??? Doesn't your mind sort of rebel at the idea of the obvious being untrue??? What does it mean if the whole world is under the sun and at once over it, having no relationship with it that could be called up or down...Unless we reference the earth itself because it is the center of our universe...


I think different descriptions are useful for different purposes.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 11:50 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;131711 wrote:
I think different descriptions are useful for different purposes.

So utilitarianism advance along the same path as people, that people pick up what works, and cast off that which does not...I am in the latter catagory...
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Feb, 2010 11:58 pm
@Fido,
Fido;131731 wrote:
So utilitarianism advance along the same path as people, that people pick up what works, and cast off that which does not...I am in the latter catagory...


I think we all do both. But maybe at a certain point we have assimilated enough method and information to mostly cast-off the superfluous.
0 Replies
 
 

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