Re: Just semantics (was: Re: Aging isn't a disease)

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Mon Oct 15 2001 - 10:27:35 MDT

> >but its all semantics
> This is one of those cant phrases that genuinely infuriate me, and should
> upset anyone with an educated brain in their head.
> *Semantics* is the discipline centrally concerned with *the meaning of
> statements*, with *how communication works effectively to convey or mask
> meanings*.
> So `Pah, it's just semantics,' with its implied rider `Please ditch *that*
> pettifogging triviality', is equivalent to saying, `That's just trying to
> agree on what we're talking about, and the ways we'll do it--let's ignore
> such dismal irrelevancies and instead just babble about whatever comes into
> our heads.'

Most of the time I see the phrase used it's entirely appropriate--it
points out that someone is wasting a lot of time and energy on definitions
rather than arguments of substance, the way this list periodically gets
all worked up about the transporter-copy issue, where there isn't a single
interesting question of fact invovled. Sure, one must have some
definitions to begin an argument of substance, but many people continue
to _argue_ the definitions as if they were facts of substance
themselves. Knowing the difference should be a basic skill of
rational thought learned in elementary school, but people still continue
to debate definitions as if they were facts, and get truly worked up
about such nonsense. If they are dismissed curty, it's because they
deserve to be.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:13 MDT