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Thread: Contemplating A New Project.

  1. #1

    Contemplating A New Project.

    What is the most important skill any human being ever acquires? Language.

    Language is the armature upon which our world and all the lives on it hangs.

    That being the case, how is it that we are so sadly inadequate in our linguistic skills? How is it that being as ill-adept as we tend to be, on average, is in any way acceptable?

    Language is built upon the pillar of grammar, which in turn is comprised of the components we call "syntax" and "semantics". While our sad lack of syntactical skill presents a clear and present danger to our prospects as free men, the wholesale failure in semantics presents a deeper, more immediately urgent, and more readily correctable problem.

    Consider words as basic to our daily lives as "crime". I have conducted a reasonably exhaustive hunt for a sufficient definition of "crime", and have come up snake-eyes. I've consulted several Law dictionaries including Black's, Bouvier's, and a couple of others. To my utter surprise, shock, and chagrin, I have been unable to find a definition of "crime" that isn't either circular or nonsensically arbitrary, vague, and utterly dissatisfying. Far and away worse is the fact that the same deplorable truth applies to "law" itself. Seriously folks, are these people even kidding? How can anyone take the "law" seriously when the people who are supposedly the experts cannot even offer us a reasonable definition of the moniker of their profession?

    In my opinion, the absence of minimally sufficient definitions of a great many centrally important words, much less those of a more rigorous nature, represents one of the greatest threats to the human condition.

    The project I am contemplating is that of a dictionary of rigorous definitions of words key to the understanding of the essentials of human life. Imagine being able to pin down tyrants petty and grand, with very specific semantics such that they would be left with little to no wiggle room. The ability to assess the validity of criminal statutes might also prove useful.

    Without the basics, we are lost.

    What do you all think?

    UPDATE:

    Let us try for a definition of "crime".

    CRIME, n. s.

    1. Any positive act committed by an individual or group thereof acting in unison, resulting in the violation of the property rights of an individual or those common to a group thereof, such that those who committed the violation were aware that the result would be a likely outcome of the act.

    2. Any failure to act by an individual or group thereof acting in unison, in the face of a standing obligation to prevent property loss to another where such an obligation can be positively demonstrated to have existed on the part of those who so failed.



    Definition two is VERY tricky business. I have taken some care in the wording, yet remain uncertain that it is sufficient. It is intended to cover those circumstances where one fails to act to preserve and protect the property rights of others from the accidental loss incurred because someone failed to take measures to avoid causing the loss. A silly example: you are blasting in the quarry on your back forty, spy a wayward soul in the blast zone, but let the lit fuze continue to burn when to put it out would present no risk to yourself, yet would save the life that would certainly be lost through inaction. This is a VERY difficult thing to specify and I am not even sure that it is valid, save where there is a specific and valid contract between the parties, such as perhaps a bodyguard and his client. If you promise to take a bullet for him and fail to do so when it is clear that you had both awareness and capacity, resulting in the death or maiming of your charge, such a failure can be validly construed as felonious.

    OTOH, you're walking down the esplanade in Brooklyn only to spy a man of apparent ill-breeding attempting to rape a woman and you just walk by. Is that a crime? i do not believe that it is precisely because no moral obligation to intercede on the victim's behalf can be demonstrated. But are you obliged to call 911? To shout for help? I don't think so, ugly as it may be.

    Opinions?
    Last edited by osan; 10-22-2019 at 11:15 PM.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    "It’s just interesting to note how constant government oppression can kill people’s fighting spirit." - Withur We




    Pray for reset.




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  3. #2
    "Stop quoting laws, we carry swords." Having said that I direct you to Ambrose Bierce's Devils Dictionary for inspiration. If you wish to tie down tyrants of the current engorged variety, humor will likely make the strongest binds; maybe the only fetters of sufficient breadth. Few better than you to write such a thing, in any case. However, who reads dictionaries? Google establishes semantics now.

    Perhaps a nominal/actual dictionary.
    Nominal Crime : (n) an act where-in one person injures another person.
    Actual Crime : (n) An act by a person without friends in office, unable to afford the services of one such friend, and not an office holder himself.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by osan View Post
    What do you all think?
    I always find "communication" more important than "words" and as such I'm more interested in the "context" than seperate words.
    That's besides that as English is not my first language I regularly make childish mistakes...

    On Lawfulpath, Notmartha has an interesting “Terms of art” section with definitions of many “words” (including but not limited to “legal” words).
    It uses legal dictionaries and also the Bible (KJV) for reference.

    This looks like a good place to start your “project”: https://www.lawfulpath.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23
    Do NOT ever read my posts.
    Google and Yahoo wouldn’t block them without a very good reason: http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthr...he-world/page3

  5. #4
    If you're hoping to come up with a dictionary whose definitions don't end up being circular, you're doomed to fail. I think this is probably a corollary to Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    If you're hoping to come up with a dictionary whose definitions don't end up being circular, you're doomed to fail. I think this is probably a corollary to Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

    There's circularity and then there's circularity. Having designed and implemented programming languages like ORGASM, I have spent considerable time down the semantics rabbit hole and am well familiar with the problems of definition.

    That said, there are brands of circularity that matter to a given definition, and those that do not. I might call them "direct" and "indirect" circularities. And example of a directly circular definition might be something like:

    Redundancy, n. s. When redundancy exists in a thought, concept, or thing.

    This type of circularity is of the first order and wholly torpedoes the definition into the semantic void.

    Indirect, or n-th order circularity is where words used in a definition have some circularity about them. In some cases this cannot be helped. Consider the definition of the indirect article, 'a'. I'm not diggin it up, but I'd bet that the definitions employ the self-same indirect article, rendering it somewhat circular. That's OK because it does not perforce reduce the semantic quality of other definitions that employ it.

    It is in fact and indeed possible to provide SUFFICIENT rigor to definitions in order that they become semantically clear, complete, and correct. I do believe that this is a worthy pursuit. Without the property of C^3 (clear, correct, complete), we run the risk of deep troubles in all transactions. Communication is not the only casualty of poor semantic rigor, but thought itself suffers, often unawares... which is really ironic.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    "It’s just interesting to note how constant government oppression can kill people’s fighting spirit." - Withur We




    Pray for reset.


  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by osan View Post
    There's circularity and then there's circularity. Having designed and implemented programming languages like ORGASM, I have spent considerable time down the semantics rabbit hole and am well familiar with the problems of definition.

    That said, there are brands of circularity that matter to a given definition, and those that do not. I might call them "direct" and "indirect" circularities. And example of a directly circular definition might be something like:

    Redundancy, n. s. When redundancy exists in a thought, concept, or thing.

    This type of circularity is of the first order and wholly torpedoes the definition into the semantic void.

    Indirect, or n-th order circularity is where words used in a definition have some circularity about them. In some cases this cannot be helped. Consider the definition of the indirect article, 'a'. I'm not diggin it up, but I'd bet that the definitions employ the self-same indirect article, rendering it somewhat circular. That's OK because it does not perforce reduce the semantic quality of other definitions that employ it.

    It is in fact and indeed possible to provide SUFFICIENT rigor to definitions in order that they become semantically clear, complete, and correct. I do believe that this is a worthy pursuit. Without the property of C^3 (clear, correct, complete), we run the risk of deep troubles in all transactions. Communication is not the only casualty of poor semantic rigor, but thought itself suffers, often unawares... which is really ironic.
    Could you quote one or two of the definitions of "crime" that you saw and point out what the problem was?

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    Could you quote one or two of the definitions of "crime" that you saw and point out what the problem was?
    Too much on the plate at the moment, but the common gist, the error, was that a crime was any violation of statute.

    I trust the problem is obvious.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    "It’s just interesting to note how constant government oppression can kill people’s fighting spirit." - Withur We




    Pray for reset.


  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by osan View Post
    Too much on the plate at the moment, but the common gist, the error, was that a crime was any violation of statute.

    I trust the problem is obvious.
    I think it is. Ultimately, whether intentionally or not, the line of reasoning you're taking here provides good evidence for the existence of God.



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Superfluous Man View Post
    I think it is. Ultimately, whether intentionally or not, the line of reasoning you're taking here provides good evidence for the existence of God.

    Would you elaborate?
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    "It’s just interesting to note how constant government oppression can kill people’s fighting spirit." - Withur We




    Pray for reset.


  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Firestarter View Post
    I always find "communication" more important than "words" and as such I'm more interested in the "context" than seperate words.
    That's besides that as English is not my first language I regularly make childish mistakes...

    On Lawfulpath, Notmartha has an interesting “Terms of art” section with definitions of many “words” (including but not limited to “legal” words).
    It uses legal dictionaries and also the Bible (KJV) for reference.

    This looks like a good place to start your “project”: https://www.lawfulpath.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23
    I like the site. I will point out that the dictionaries subdirectory has several broken links including the first three editions of Black's, which is a damned shame because I would love to wrap my eyeballs around their definitions of "law" and "crime" to see whether they are any different from my fourth edition, whose entries are shockingly insufficient. It is almost as if they don't want clarity on those concepts. Gee, I wonder why that might be... </sarcasm>

    Thanks.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    "It’s just interesting to note how constant government oppression can kill people’s fighting spirit." - Withur We




    Pray for reset.




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