The Constitutional term "war"
edlind at dickinson.edu
Wed Aug 9 07:39:19 PDT 2006
Based on what I see in these posts, and that may not be enough to go on,
you seem to be assuming a criterial semantic view (i.e., to speak
meaningfully about a concept we must first share an understanding of
some essential features of that concept). Many people take this view
(or assume it), but others have argued persuasively against it.
Criterial semantics may work for natural kind concepts like penguin
(although, notice that you take flight as a necessary condition of
"birdness" and that may not always work). If bachelorhood (or
bachelor-ness) is a criterial concept, then your account may work for
this concept, too. Again, notice though that we also may genuinely
disagree about the meaning of that concept: you say that a bachelor is
an unmarried man who is otherwise free to marry and I (might) say a
bachelor is simply a man who is not married. The point is that we can
agree about a certain criterion (we don't at this point disagree that
bachelors must be men) and disagree about another (must a bachelor be
religiously -- or otherwise -- free to marry). You say that this means
I am "relying upon diffusion in the referent because the function of the
term 'bachelor' is to denote dating eligibility." I see this
differently. I think you and I may disagree about the concept
bachelor-ness. Maybe it will turn out that one of us is wrong about the
meaning of this concept. Does this mean that you and I cannot have a
meaningful conversation in which we both refer to "bachelors"? I don't
see why not. Malla's example of a metaphorical meaning of triangle
reinforces this notion.
All of this is prelude to the more significant concern, though.
Criterial semantics may work tolerably well for criterial and natural
kind concepts. It seems seriously problematic, though, for interpretive
concepts. If some people see a bean bag and some people see a chair,
how are we possibly going to achieve adequate agreement about what
justice is for us to be able to talk about it? Interpretive semantics
instead holds that we don't have to agree about a canonical set of
criteria as a prerequisite to meaningful exchange of ideas about a
concept, even if we don't share precisely the same concept (as viewed
from a reference theory of meaning).
Sean Wilson wrote:
> ... sorry I made a slight mistake. This is not a proper comparison.
> Saying that the Pope is a bachelor is a language game similiar to one
> that says a penguin is a bird. The penguin looks like a bird, but cannot
> really function as one. (birds fly and so forth). Referents that have
> form over function should be thought of as "de jure" referents (by the
> form), but referents that have function over form should be thought of
> as "de facto" (in fact) referents. The pope is a de jure bachelor and
> the penguin is a de jure "bird."
> (Now, if the Pope falls from grace and starts dating someone, all bets
> are off. The hypothetical assumes he is, in fact, impossible to date. If
> that assumption is violated, then of course he is in the family
> of archetype bachelors).
> Here are some de facto puzzles: is a living room bean bag a "chair?" It
> doesn't look like it but it functions as such. Hence, campaign dollars
> are "speech" in the sense that living room bean bags are "chairs."
> */Sean Wilson <whoooo26505 at yahoo.com>/* wrote:
> One who is unmarried but not eligible is a "bachelor" much in the
> same way that dollars are speech.
> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
> Penn State University
> Do You Yahoo!?
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Douglas E. Edlin
Department of Political Science
P.O. Box 1773
Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013
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