A Reading’s Surprise

Staring at the small, basic kitchen table that doubled as his computer stand, he just sat.  It wasn’t ideas that he wanted, but help. Was this everything?  Could this really be how life was supposed to play out?

Only moments earlier he had such hope, such expectation.  Now, he only felt resignation and frustration.  “Curse you, World!”

Believe it or not, he was upset because he couldn’t believe what he had just read…about definitions.  That’s right, he had just read that there are apparently at least two different types of definitions from where the defense of an argument can be mounted.  The first being, stipulative definitions or what really should be called creative or inventive definitions.  The second, categorical definitions.

The book stated that categorical definitions differ from stipulative in that they focus on classifying ideas in categories (hence, “categorical”).  For clarity, here is a categorical definition of motorcycling:  one of the many types of transportation available to modern man.  On the other hand, this is a stipulative definition of motorcycling:  the greatest way to travel from one place to another.

No, this just won’t do.  By his thinking, there should just be one type of definition.  There should be only one clean, nice, simple way of making sense of the world.  That’s what this is all about, isn’t it?  That’s the point of defining a concept, right?  The point of a definition is to organize what an individual sees or believes to be into a set of data that can help fulfill life’s potentialities, right?

As if life wasn’t difficult enough, he now had to deal with this new information that even the very tool he had been using to define his reality couldn’t be simplified down to one type of meaning.  How was anyone supposed to get any work done in this madness?!  He must change this.  Life cannot require this level of complexity.

His first task, then, was to get everyone to agree on everything.

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