Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 27 20:21:45 UTC 2022

```But we all know now, that the real difficulty in defining a bachelor, along the traditional lines of an unmarried man, is knowing what a man is in the first place - consult a biologist. Consult an attorney or clergy ir both for the unmarried part.
________________________________
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2022 8:00:54 PM
Subject: Re: qoty possible

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Subject:      Re: qoty possible
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The mention of category membership and "bachelor" reminded me of an
influential article by computer scientist Terry Winograd that I heard
ago.

Year: 1976
Journal: Revue Internationale de Philosophie
Volume 30, Number 117/118
Article: Towards a Procedural Understanding of Semantics
Start Page 260, Quote Page 276
Database: JSTOR

https://www.jstor.org/stable/23943134

[Begin excerpt =E2=80=93 check for typos]
Consider the following exchange:
Host: I=E2=80=99m having a big party next weekend. Do you know any nice
bachelors I could invite?
Friend: Yes, l know this fellow X . . .

The problem is to decide, given the facts below, for which values of X
the response would be a reasonable answer in light of the normal
meaning of the word =E2=80=9Cbachelor=E2=80=9D. A simple test is to ask for=
which ones
the host might fairly complain =E2=80=9CYou lied. You said X was a bachelor=
=E2=80=9D:

A: Arthur has been living happily with Alice for the last five years,
They have a two year old daughter, and have never officially married.

B: Bruce was going to be drafted, so he arranged with his friend
Barbara to have a justice of the peace marry them so he would be
exempt. They have never lived together. He dates a number of women,
and plans to have the marriage annulled as soon as he finds someone he
wants to marry.

C: Charlie is 17 years old. He lives at home with his parents and is
in high school.

D: David is 17 years old. He left home at 13, started a small
playboy=E2=80=99s life style in his penthouse apartment.

E: Eli and Edgar are homosexual lovers who have been living together
for many years.

F: Faisal is allowed by the law of his native Abu Dhabi to have three
wives. He currently has two and is interested in meeting another
potential fiance.

G: Father Gregory is the bishop of the Catholic cathedral at Groton upon Th=
ames.
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Sat, Mar 26, 2022 at 8:24 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrot=
e:
>
> Some time ago (in the 1970s, to be more or less precise) Hilary Putnam
> argued persuasively for what he calls the division of linguistic labor,
> which among other things makes the point that the extension of natural ki=
nd
> terms (like "tiger", "water", or "whale", or "gold") is determined by
> "experts" in the relevant field within the linguistic
> community--zoologists, chemists, botanists, whatever. And that the result
> is more like an encyclopedia entry than a true definition of the kind
> available for "one-criterion" words in which there are necessary and
> sufficient conditions for category membership like "bachelor" or
> "touchdown".  His idea is that we can have theories about what it takes f=
or
> something to be water or a whale, for example, and that these theories ca=
n
> change over time without the "definition" changing. We can discover we we=
re
> wrong about water being an element, or a whale being a large fish, but we
> can't discover that a touchdown really countis for 5 points or that
> bachelors were really secretly married all along.  For natural kind terms=
,
> as he puts it in the title of one of his papers, "meanings ain't in the
> head"--to know that something is or isn't an X, or an instance of X, is n=
ot
> to have the relevant concept. (Saul Kripke provides parallel arguments fo=
r
> proper names not having true meanings.) It's plausible that biological
> theories of "woman" (to the extent that this is a natural kind term) woul=
d
> be a case in point.
>
> LH
>
> On Sat, Mar 26, 2022 at 6:38 PM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote=
:
>
> > Do biologists get to define words, or linguists?
> > ________________________________
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Ma=
rk
> > Mandel <markamandel at GMAIL.COM>
> > Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2022 12:03:44 AM
> > Subject: Re: qoty possible
> >
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Mark Mandel <markamandel at GMAIL.COM>
> > Subject:      Re: qoty possible
> >
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------------=
--------
> >
> > Fair enough!
> >
> > MAM
> >
> > On Fri, Mar 25, 2022, 12:55 PM Bill Mullins <amcombill at hotmail.com> wro=
te:
> >
> > > Ketanji Brown Jackson Mar 22, 2022.
> > >
> > > When asked if she can provide a definition of the word "woman," she s=
ay's
> > > she can't, "I'm not a biologist."
> > >
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> >
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