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Caledonian2 comments on Where to Draw the Boundary? - Less Wrong

36 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 February 2008 07:14PM

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Comment author: Caledonian2 23 February 2008 12:59:56AM 0 points [-]

They are aquatic animals. But that is irrelevant - the argument is being made with dolphins. And that is irrelevant, because the point concerns why failing to use a word in the conventionally-accepted manner is suddenly a "nitwit game", not which word is used to make this curious argument.

Seeking the "real meanings" of words is neither useless nor futile. The point is to recognize that definitions are not a matter of objective and universal truth but of societal labeling convention. What we're seeking is a deeper, explicit understanding of that convention.

Go back a few thousand years and try telling a fisherman that dolphins aren't fish. He'd look at you like you were a fool - which you of course would be.