Re: Can we develop a better definition of extropy?
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 15:56:58 -0500

Eric writes:

>I don't really think that anyone could call a proposed description
>of extropy as "the quality of creative order characteristic of
>living systems" a "redefinition".

While I welcome intelligent attempts to better undertand "Extropy", whether
through redescribing it or redefining it, let's not make any mistake that
Romana proposed to do solely the latter. Her original header re-appears
above. Note its use of "definition". Moreover, recall that she had written:

>Extropy *is* the quality of creative order characteristic of living systems.

(emphasis added)

As E-prime advocates note, using "is" implies equivalence. To so define a
term delimits its scope, and thus does a great deal more than a mere
description. A description, in contrast to a definition, merely lists some
of many possible attributes of a subject.

By way of example, consider the difference between "Mary is a crook," and
"Mary took some bread." The former defines Mary as one of a whole class of
people, ascribing to her all of their common vices. The latter merely
describes one of her acts, thus leaving room for Mary to embody a good many
attributes not common to thieves generally.

In brief, one ought to take definitions--and re-definitions--very, very
seriously. Descriptions matter much less.

T.0. Morrow