Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Caledonian2 comments on Disputing Definitions - Less Wrong

48 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 February 2008 12:15AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (42)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Caledonian2 12 February 2008 03:50:02AM 4 points [-]

Using different words to describe the same thing can produce a dispute where there is none, yes. But people also tend to use the same word to refer to totally different things, sometimes as a means of artificially avoiding conflict. Equivocation can be a powerful teaching tool and rhetorical device, but more often it serves as a way to lie plausibly, both to others and to oneself.

Meaningful communication is possible only when people are discussing the same ideas, and ensuring that everyone involved maps the same concepts onto the same words is necessary to bring that about.

Without concern for the proper use of words, language becomes useless.