Methods of Word-Thing Definition

Richard Robinson

in Definition

Published in print March 1963 | ISBN: 9780198241607
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680397 | DOI:
Methods of Word-Thing Definition

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  • Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic


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The most fundamental distinction that can be made with regard to definitions is the distinction between their purposes and the methods by which they achieve their purposes. One of the possible purposes of definition, indicated by the phrase ‘word-thing definition’, is to report that a certain word means a certain thing, or to secure that it shall mean that thing in future. This chapter considers the methods by which the word-thing purpose can be achieved. It describes six different methods of word-thing definition: the method of synonyms, the method of synthesis, the implicative method, the denotative method, the ostensive method, and the rule-giving method. It also discusses the use of equivalences in word-thing definition, the definition of the non-indicative functions of a word, and the traditional rules of definition.

Keywords: word-thing definition; synonyms; synthesis; implicative method; denotative method; ostensive method

Chapter.  21712 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic

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