Defining Free

Defining Free

  • Submitted By: kathp
  • Date Submitted: 03/14/2009 8:37 AM
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Words: 762
  • Page: 4
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Free means nothing in return. Not free means something in return. An essay for an essay is a bartered essay and not a free essay.
Traditionally, a definition consists of the genus (the family) of thing to which the defined thing belongs, and the differentia (the distinguishing feature which marks it off from other members of the same family). Thus 'triangle' is defined as 'a plane figure (genus) bounded by three straight sides (differentia).[5]

Rules for definition by genus and differentia
Main article: Fallacies of definition

Certain rules have traditionally been given for this particular type of definition.[6][7][8]

1. A definition must set out the essential attributes of the thing defined.
2. Definitions should avoid circularity. To define a horse as 'a member of the species equus' would convey no information whatsoever. For this reason, Locke adds that a definition of a term must not consist of terms which are synonymous with it. This would be a circular definition, a circulus in definiendo. Note, however, that it is acceptable to define two relative terms in respect of each other. Clearly, we cannot define 'antecedent' without using the term 'consequent', nor conversely.
3. The definition must not be too wide or too narrow. It must be applicable to everything to which the defined term applies (i.e. not miss anything out), and to nothing else (i.e. not include any things to which the defined term would not truly apply).
4. The definition must not be obscure. The purpose of a definition is to explain the meaning of a term which may be obscure or difficult, by the use of terms that are commonly understood and whose meaning is clear. The violation of this rule is known by the Latin term obscurum per obscurius. However, sometimes scientific and philosophical terms are difficult to define without obscurity. (See the definition of Free will in Wikipedia, for instance).
5. A definition should not be negative where it can be positive. We...

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