Re: virus: Discoveries and Inventions

Wade T. Smith (
Tue, 4 Feb 1997 20:34:26 -0500

>But, you see, semantic relativism is the whole point of my question...again
>(and I myself do this all thie time) you are implicitly insisting that
>there are some basic meanings that are involate, axioms if you will.

I am in agreement with you, I think....

Although I have no difficulty with the word 'create', and don't at all have
any sense of a god mixed up with it, but do think it tends towards the
arts, since creation is a new thing, sometimes wonderfully so.

But- 'invention' is not so far off as a synonym, just more comfortable in a
technical setting.

John Cage certainly 'invented' aleatory notation, but 'created' the music....

The fact we have used 'electron' to mean these forms of sub-atomic forces
explained by the term in no way allows us to turn around and declare it

We created (invented) the word 'electron' to explain the discoveries of the
forces and behaviors of the little beastie....

And yes, there are basic meanings which _must be enforced_ before any
reasoned discussion can take place. Language is too slippery, and the
politics of meaning too varied.

Science is, in many ways, the supplier of these basic meanings. I had
hoped, futilely as it so far appears, that memetics may have provided some
tad of a supply of basic meanings....

And I do not feel that some arbitrary mathematical structure placed upon
meaning is the answer. Communication through language requires a common

I would like to use Occam on these meanings. It's time (dammit! ;O) to use
one word in one way! And I prefer (indeed, may be genetically predisposed)
to use words rather than formulae.

Wade T. Smith | "Ideal conversation must be an exchange | of thought, and not, as many of those
| who worry most about their shortcomings
| believe, an eloquent exhibition of
| wit or oratory." - Emily Post
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