“But Semantics”

What do words mean exactly?


Objections and Replies


(Agreement) Evidence is relevant only given an agreed-upon definition of—
Reply. It’s the other way around: we agree on chairs by looking at specifics.


(Contrarian) Audits aren’t contrarian, it’s science—
Reply. Contrarians can help improve science, in fact they often do.

(Dictionary) Here is the definition from my favorite on-line dictionary—
Reply. Dictionaries are useful to track common usages, not technical terms.

(Global Warming)



{Better} We don’t need a definition of contrarian, only better contrarians.

{Cases} Whoever plays definition games needs to find cases.

{Cf.} Every single square involve concepts over which one can quibble.

{Interaction} The point of these games should be to interact, not to distract.

{Machines} Machine learning disproves the idea that we need definitions first.


{Socrates} Asking for definitions is as old as Plato. It’s boring. Don’t fall for it.

{Wordology} See #ButWordChange for concerns about word choices.

Further Readings

2019-11. Contrarian Models.