Overview

ostensive definition


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A definition that proceeds by ostension, or in other words by simply showing what is intended, as one might ostensively define a shade such as magenta, or the taste of a pineapple, by actually exhibiting an example. It relies on the hearer's uptake in understanding which feature is intended, and how broadly the example may be taken. A direct ostension is a showing of the object or feature intended, whilst in deferred ostension one shows one thing in order to direct attention to another, e.g. when showing a photograph to indicate a person, or a thermometer to indicate the temperature.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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