In actuality we define or name things by convention

In actuality we define or name things by convention -...

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In actuality we define or name things by convention. Chair is defined by  our community as "this example" and "this example" and "this kind of  thing" and "not these kinds of things," etc. There is no giver of meaning - a  dictionary writer in the sky, so to speak. There is no a priori meaning of  words or boundaries of concepts. There is no platonic ideal chair. This  distinction of world views (conceptualizations for language) was labeled  nominalism (meaning from the convention of a group) versus essentialism  (meaning from intrinsic essence) by Popper.  For example, while it is relatively easy to talk about the mountains and the plains  or valleys, or night and day, it is difficult to point to the exact spot in the ground or  point in time where one becomes the other to everyone's satisfaction under every  circumstance. This is not to say, however, that we give permission to the sophists 
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PSY PSY2012 taught by Professor Scheff during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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