The Dictionary | INFJ Forum

The Dictionary

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by wolly.green, Sep 13, 2017.

Share This Page

Watchers:
This thread is being watched by 6 users.
More threads by wolly.green
  1. wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2016
    Threads:
    54
    Messages:
    863
    Featured Threads:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Trophy Points:
    1,031
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    ENTP
    Enneagram:
    4w5
    If we are engaged in a deep philosophical discussions, is it ever helpful to quote a dictionary? Getting into disputes about definitions is almost gauranteed; but does using the dictionary ever settle anything?

    My opinion: No, absolutely not. Dictionaries are based on how people, on average, actually USE words. But in philosophy, USE is almost always different. Thoughts?
     
    Lurk, Sandie33 and James like this.
  2. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2017
    Threads:
    0
    Messages:
    7,778
    Likes Received:
    27,553
    Trophy Points:
    2,877
    MBTI:
    ENTJ
    Enneagram:
    3w4, 3-8-7
    No.

    For example, Max Weber's definition of "The State" and the dictionary definition are not the same.

    Disputants should still immediately define their terms to save time.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Ginny, Wyote and Skarekrow like this.
  3. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Threads:
    70
    Messages:
    9,482
    Likes Received:
    6,763
    Trophy Points:
    1,011
    MBTI:
    xxxx
    You don't always have to use dictionary definitions but if you just make up definitions without other parties knowing about it then you risk banana pudding your feather duster.
     
    Sandie33, Ginny, jyrffw54 and 2 others like this.
  4. OP
    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2016
    Threads:
    54
    Messages:
    863
    Featured Threads:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Trophy Points:
    1,031
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    ENTP
    Enneagram:
    4w5
    As an INTP, I get accused of making up definitions all the time. I think even you accused me of that once. But it's just not true. In reality, all I do is treat "definitions" as their own point of discussion. There are many reasons to do this, but the most important is that a lot of great insight can be gained by criticising variations of a "definition". Each variation has its own unique pros, cons and consequences; each contributes something different to the discussion.

    Actually, trying to discover a good definition is often as important as trying to discover a good explanation. Explanations use words, so the meaning of those words has fit together perfectly with your theory. In practical terms, it's rather like trying to find exactly the right nuts and bolts to fit your Death Ray. You get the wrong bolts, and it'll explode in your face. The same is true of explanation. Choose the wrong meaning, and it will explode in your face; taking your pride and dignity with it --and possibly even your corneas. This is one of the reasons that meaning can generate its own discussion. And is consequently the reason that dictionaries are unhelpful. Dictionary writers don't have deep philosophical discussions, so their "definitions" are often times shallow and impotent.
     
    #4 wolly.green, Sep 14, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  5. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Threads:
    70
    Messages:
    9,482
    Likes Received:
    6,763
    Trophy Points:
    1,011
    MBTI:
    xxxx
    Explanation is pointless if your listener doesn't understand you.
     
  6. Sandie33

    Sandie33 Love Often & Absolutely ♡
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2016
    Threads:
    58
    Messages:
    7,449
    Featured Threads:
    5
    Likes Received:
    33,307
    Trophy Points:
    2,456
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    USA
    MBTI:
    INFJ-t
    Enneagram:
    2w1, 2w3
    I disagree. :D Dictionaries are often more useful than Google, or a Thesaurus.

    Back in the days, when I worked corporate as an executive administrative assistant, one of the VP's and I got into a willful debate one day with he telling me that irregardless was not a word, that I made it up and that the proper word was regardless.

    I assure you after going out to my desk, retrieving the 25 lb dictionary from its top and lugging it back to the lounge, I proved to him it is indeed a word and I was using it in the propper context.

    Word usage and familiarity often fall on the receiver in communication. If the receiver is unsure of usage or context of a word they should practice asking for clarity from the sender in that moment. Doing this shows interest not stupidity on the part of receiver.

    Being a person that choses her words very carefully, often irritating others while forming a response has made others think me an imbicile at times ... my question is, WTF's the hurry?? Ask for clarity.
     
  7. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Threads:
    70
    Messages:
    9,482
    Likes Received:
    6,763
    Trophy Points:
    1,011
    MBTI:
    xxxx
    @Sandie33

    Shoulda shown him the definition of "word" lol.

    By technical definition any distinct utterance with a practical meaning is a word. So basically if you can say it and somebody knows what you mean, it's a word, even if it is not in the dictionary.
     
  8. OP
    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2016
    Threads:
    54
    Messages:
    863
    Featured Threads:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Trophy Points:
    1,031
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    ENTP
    Enneagram:
    4w5
    Oh, absolutely. I completely agree with everything you said. However, this is not really what I was talking about! I'm talking about trying to define terms while having a deep philosophical discussion. In this sense, the dictionary is like a cute little kitty.
     
    Sandie33 likes this.
  9. Lurk

    Lurk [ what ]

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Threads:
    36
    Messages:
    1,358
    Featured Threads:
    11
    Likes Received:
    3,930
    Trophy Points:
    1,167
    Gender:
    Female
    MBTI:
    INTP
    Enneagram:
    6,9 & 4
    +1 (Is that dry enough? jk ;) )

    Thank you! Concepts stem from words, arranged in a convenient fashion, usually as binary opposites: More than simply arbitrary and convenient, this semantic frame absolutely makes us everything we are. How we think, how we perceive, how we learn, how we define morality, how we debate....absolutely everything about us is determined by our culture, which is language.

    Simply put, there is no good without an evil. Simple -- and deadly -- idea.

    If each monotheistic religion stresses a One True God, and condemns non-believers as [insert whatever negative word here], then religious tolerance is antithetical to monotheistic religion.

    Because of our "either you are [good, with us, etc.] or you are [evil, against us, etc.] reductionist thinking style, "multiculturalism" demands an opposite. Name an idea, and opposition arises.

    In addition, these "opposites" are not necessarily equally weighty, meaningful, or even distinctly different, in reality. In the U.S., Democrat and Republicans are juxtaposed so completely that one could actually buy into the supposed polarity. In reality, both U.S. parties are rather moderate and ideologically similar. But the illusion is what really matters: thus, Obama was a socialist, and Trump is a right-wing dictator.

    Who could honestly accept this cognitive dissonance?

    One person on another forum raised a good point: Do we fall into this dualistic thinking because it is convenient, etc., or is simply a linguistic expression of how we naturally think? Can we alter that?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_opposition

    Then....

    But this is ultimate truth:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconstruction

     
    Ginny and wolly.green like this.
  10. Peppermint

    Peppermint Well-known member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    Threads:
    25
    Messages:
    3,448
    Likes Received:
    6,223
    Trophy Points:
    877
    MBTI:
    _
    Enneagram:
    _
    It is helpful, insofar as you cannot have a productive discussion if the participants disagree about the definitions of terms that are being discussed.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    jyrffw54, Lurk and acd like this.
  11. Lurk

    Lurk [ what ]

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Threads:
    36
    Messages:
    1,358
    Featured Threads:
    11
    Likes Received:
    3,930
    Trophy Points:
    1,167
    Gender:
    Female
    MBTI:
    INTP
    Enneagram:
    6,9 & 4
    Oh, I'd go beyond helpful! It's all we know.

    I wonder about alternatives, as a society.
     
  12. just me

    just me GONE

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Threads:
    206
    Messages:
    11,856
    Featured Threads:
    14
    Likes Received:
    5,685
    Trophy Points:
    1,121
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    not here
    MBTI:
    infj
    Enneagram:
    6w5
    I bought a Webster's Dictionary from many years ago. Christianity has been taken out of meanings over the years, though it was filled with such definitions years back. to me, it's like looking up a verse in the Bible on Biblehub or elsewhere. Still need to read all the different commentaries, where each writer shows what they think it to mean. We get a very broad generalization of the meanings, but really must go far back to the Greek interlinear translations and read lexicons regarding what the words meant at the time they were written.
    People are changing things to mean what they want them to mean, and deleting things they disagree with. Truth is lost. I'll go to write a word I remember from the ninth grade, but find myself looking it up with google to see if what I remembered was correct. I don't read the entire definition; I just look for the meaning I learned back in the dark ages.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Ginny and wolly.green like this.
  13. OP
    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2016
    Threads:
    54
    Messages:
    863
    Featured Threads:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Trophy Points:
    1,031
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    ENTP
    Enneagram:
    4w5
    This makes sense. But I'm not entirely sure what point you are trying to make here. I'm going to assume your trying to say that: "When discussing philosophical ideas, it is often unhelpful to make changes to existing definitions. This because in doing so, you risk losing the intended meaning of a philosophical argument."

    This is true, as far as it goes. But it is no reason to discourage playing around with existing definitions. The reasons are simple. First, often times words don't just express meaning, they also express concepts that are themselves worthy of criticism. Consider the word 'Reason'. It's Google definition is as follows: "the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements logically". This might seem like an innocuous definition, but it's actually riddleded with problems. First, is reason really about "forming judgements logically"? Sure it's possible to form judgements rationally! But logically? If Karl Popper was right that one cannot derive scientific theories from observation -- or from anything for that matter -- then it follows that scientific theories cannot be formed logically. That is, theories cannot be derived logically from observation. But then in what sense do scientists form judgements logically? In fact, in what sense does anyone form judgements logically?This might be true, but you would need a good philosophical argument that explains why. Google's definition of "reason" is not just a word with a meaning, it states something about reality that is itself worthy of criticism.

    Second, suppose you are discussing your own original philosophical idea. This usually means that you are discussing new concepts. What happens if the language you are using is incapable of expressing these new concepts? How do you communicate them? You could, say, invent new words whose definitions express them. This would help you to avoid redefining commonly used words, and indeed it may sometimes be helpful to do so. But what happens if inventing new words just makes your idea more difficult to understand? What can you do then? Simple! You can used already established words that are similar in meaning. This helps to reduce the difficulty in understanding new ideas by hijacking concepts that already exist people's minds. This is rather similar to using analogies to goad an idea into another person's mind. You use the concepts that already exist, and then ulter them slightly until you have communicated the meaning you originally intended. In other words, redefining words often involves using knowledge that already exists in people's minds, and changing it a little bit.
     
    #13 wolly.green, Oct 3, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
    Walkingcontradiction and Ginny like this.
  14. just me

    just me GONE

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Threads:
    206
    Messages:
    11,856
    Featured Threads:
    14
    Likes Received:
    5,685
    Trophy Points:
    1,121
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    not here
    MBTI:
    infj
    Enneagram:
    6w5
    Huh?
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  15. OP
    wolly.green

    wolly.green Community Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2016
    Threads:
    54
    Messages:
    863
    Featured Threads:
    20
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Trophy Points:
    1,031
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    ENTP
    Enneagram:
    4w5
    Sorry, I'm a terrible writer. Basically, redefining words is sometimes necessary. Moreover, its sometimes difficult to find just the right words to express a new definition. Therefore it may have to be inferred from the argument it is used in.
     
    #15 wolly.green, Oct 4, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  16. the

    the Si master race.
    Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Threads:
    479
    Messages:
    14,396
    Featured Threads:
    9
    Likes Received:
    8,727
    Trophy Points:
    1,112
    MBTI:
    ISTJ
    Enneagram:
    9w1
    I agree. The dictionary is a good tool, but not always applicable for every job.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Ginny and wolly.green like this.
  17. Ginny

    Ginny Wolf soul

    Joined:
    May 23, 2017
    Threads:
    29
    Messages:
    5,939
    Featured Threads:
    10
    Likes Received:
    37,126
    Trophy Points:
    3,042
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Trovami
    MBTI:
    INFJ IEI
    Enneagram:
    1w2 sx/sp
    This is so metaphysical here, I love it!

    I rather recently got through "Structure, Sign and Play..." (1970) by Jacques Derrida, and this whole discussion is about something he explained in this text, the so-called bricolage. (I only mention this in case you want to look it up.) Basically, to use the dictionary as an example here, it means that there is no more meaning to a word than the one we ascribe to it at a certain point in time. Things, even the meaning of words, change over time, and dictionaries are merely proof of it. Because in the end, dictionaries are merely an attempt at fixing meanings, to limit the vocabulary to a field of words within the structure of language.

    But there is a problem with this: People aren't limiting themselves to a specific meaning or even a limited set of words. We constantly invent new words, and gloss over the meanings of old. Why do you think that there are always dictionaries being made and printed, or at least new editions? (Therefore, you have to move with the times, or go with the flow of meaning.)

    How do you ever want to adopt a new way of thinking if you are constantly being constrained by a fixed structure, of how things are supposed to be? What you can do, and this was also in the article, is point out the limits of the conventional and go from there, adding your own neologisms (i.e. if they are based on conventional words, otherwise you'd have to explain what it means from the start and ideate through your thought process so the others understand) or adding new meaning to a word (this is a bit more complicated, you'd either have to have examples to legitimise it, and this requires empirical studies; or again you point out the limit of the word's meaning are argue yourself to another meaning which connects to it, usually by referring to single morphemes). However, this is something that belongs at the beginning of an argument, and should be agreed upon.

    What I ought to add here, is that this usually only applies to words that are in use, mostly colloquialisms. Obscure words, which are rarely used (such as @Sandie33 mentioned), don't really fall into that category, as the fixed meaning in the dictionary is probably the only way the word enters into a vocabulary, and therefore a sudden change in meaning is rather improbable to occur.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Wyote, wolly.green and Sandie33 like this.
  18. Ginny

    Ginny Wolf soul

    Joined:
    May 23, 2017
    Threads:
    29
    Messages:
    5,939
    Featured Threads:
    10
    Likes Received:
    37,126
    Trophy Points:
    3,042
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Trovami
    MBTI:
    INFJ IEI
    Enneagram:
    1w2 sx/sp
    I fear I wouldn't like playing Scrabble with you.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Sandie33 and sprinkles like this.
  19. Sandie33

    Sandie33 Love Often & Absolutely ♡
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2016
    Threads:
    58
    Messages:
    7,449
    Featured Threads:
    5
    Likes Received:
    33,307
    Trophy Points:
    2,456
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    USA
    MBTI:
    INFJ-t
    Enneagram:
    2w1, 2w3
    No fear. I love Scrabble ... Boggle is more my favorite though ;) Pop the cube and you have about minute to make as many words as you can with the letters. It's great!!
     
  20. just me

    just me GONE

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Threads:
    206
    Messages:
    11,856
    Featured Threads:
    14
    Likes Received:
    5,685
    Trophy Points:
    1,121
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    not here
    MBTI:
    infj
    Enneagram:
    6w5
    "By technical definition any distinct utterance with a practical meaning is a word."

    I totally disagree. I never uttered the words I am writing, and you may never utter them when reading this. Word is very complex.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Walkingcontradiction likes this.

Share This Page