This post launches a new and deplorably tardy category in RR, one that will contain ready access to the definitions and extended meanings of terms, notions, and ideas discussed and debated in these pages. I plan to make the glossary and semantics (G&S) available on two separate documents that can be downloaded as pdfs – initially we’ll start with just the Glossary. Both will be ‘living documents’ in the sense that they will grow and be edited over time. The new G&S category is found in the Category section presented in the right margin of RR.
Their content will be derived initially from culling the 1,500 posts that currently comprise RR over its five year life. These definitions and semantics will primarily be mine. However, I invite readers to submit contending definitions which may be included with their distinguishing labels. The documents will of need be ‘versioned’ by date so that they can be unambiguously referenced in all future discussions and debates.
I also ask readers, who search RR for some past reference I have made to some idea or issue, if they would kindly let me know when such terms should be included in updated versions of the G&S. This undertaking has been motivated from time to time by readers who either don’t know in which sense I use a previously defined/discussed word, or would like to contend the proper role for such a word. In that sense I also lay myself open to criticism and critiques of consistency, which I welcome.
My propensity is to use what have been termed ‘operational definitions’. These are definitions which are both non-circular - as are so many in today’s dictionaries - and to the maximum extent of direct application in the existential world. (Judging from the work product of today’s dictionaries, I find the practice of the art and science of lexicography to be dismal.) Ideally the definitions should be algorizable to the extent that an intelligent machine could apply them. I believe that living languages should coin/adopt new labels to unambiguously refer to new ideas, things, places, actions, …, and nuances of old familiar collections of such things. To me piling more meanings under the same label makes that label and its use ambiguous and an unabashed irritant.
The comment stream for this post will be restricted to definitions and semantics, and not allowed to dilute or disperse into prescriptive areas of whether some word/idea is good or bad or belongs in public policy. While I welcome critical analyses of my semantics, and even some well thought out alternatives and/or references to other usage, I want to emphasize that in the end these definitions are mine, and I am responsible for their proper usage in the arguments and apologies I offer on these pages. It should be understood, of course, that I strongly recommend others adopt as many of these definitions/semantics as they may find useful in their own communications.
The first issue (version) of G&S will have a starter list that includes definitions and pointers to the discussion and explication of the following terms. The current version can be downloaded here - Download RR Glossary&Semantics_v180121
- Algorithm, algorithmics -
- Bastiat Triangle
- Equal Opportunity
- Rights, privileges
- System Science