[extropy-chat] examples of rational irrationalism

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Dec 10 11:36:05 UTC 2006

On 12/10/06, Lee Corbin wrote:
> BillK writes
> > We are not allowed to have our own personal meanings for words.
> > Not if you wish to communicate with speakers of the same language.
> Exactly!
> > 'Define your terms' is always a good idea when confusion arises.
> No, it is an utterly terrible idea.  If you've been using a word for many years
> to mean a certain thing, just how long do you expect to remember that person
> X means Y by the word?   It *never* helps to define words, except perhaps
> as a follow-up explanation for what sounded like nonsense to someone.

We are not allowed to have our own personal meanings for words.
'Define your terms' doesn't mean that everyone gets to make up their
own definition.
It means that everyone has to be able to find their favorite meaning
in some recognised language reference book that describes the usage of
language. If your usage is not recognised, then you should stop using
the word with your unique meaning because you will just cause
confusion for everyone else.

The wikipedia article admits that common usage leads to much confusion
in the use of 'rational'. They say that 'rational' is generally used
for intelligent goal-seeking behaviour (i.e. non-random behaviour).
But admit that values must judge whether the goal is rational or not.
So you can have rational behaviour seeking to achieve non-rational
goals (and vice-versa).

The discussion should seek to achieve 'rational' in both behaviour and goal.


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