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Blogs about General Semantics

Note that these entries are in date sequence – oldest first.

Jargon 2: All in the ear of the beholder Posted on 18 February 2017 by James Cowan in General Semantics; Jargon

I was recently reminded about an incident in my not-too-distant past when I was confused by what (here, at least) I am prepared to call "inadvertent jargon". This occurred when I found that in a relatively new job, my colleagues were using an acronym whose meaning I knew to mean something entirely different, and specialised. Much of my career was spent working with computers. In this moderately arcane world, there is a commonly-used acronym "TLA", meaning "Three-Letter Acronym". Except in my new ... Read more

Abstraction Posted on 10 July 2017 by James Cowan in General Semantics

In my previous blog about General Semantics (see "Jargon 2: All in the ear of the beholder", 18 February 2017), I touched briefly on the topic of abstraction. The idea that in most cases we are only talking about certain aspects of something, not the whole thing. Thus, depending on your topic, you may want to talk about a cow as a heavy animal which damages damp pasture by walking upon it. Or as an animal which can generate ... Read more

More on Abstraction Posted on 18 September 2017 by James Cowan in General Semantics

There is more to abstraction, and this time it is in the lap of the beholder. If you, in the role of listener or reader, become aware that an abstraction is (or even may be) being used and that its parameters (i.e. that the qualities of an item which are pertinent to the discussion) have not been made clear, then it is up to you either to analyse what you are hearing or reading to try and identify them, or ... Read more

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