Accession Number : ADA504542


Title :   The Logic of Definition


Descriptive Note : Technical note


Corporate Author : DEFENCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TORONTO (CANADA)


Personal Author(s) : Moore, James W


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a504542.pdf


Report Date : May 2009


Pagination or Media Count : 17


Abstract : Voltaire's admonition to define your terms has become a bedrock maxim of science, whether in the physical, social or military sciences. Why do we as Defence Scientists attach such importance to the process of definition? First and foremost, definitions (ideally) provide semantic clarity, clarifying ambiguous and vague terms and, hence, mitigating terminological confusion, a critical imperative particularly in combined or multinational (and multilingual) military operations. Moreover, standardized terminology can enhance situational awareness, to the extent that it assists in identifying and describing features of the strategic, operational and/or tactical environment in commonly understood language. Finally, univocal terms and concepts (that is, terms and concepts that have only one meaning or sense) are the building blocks of the defence scientific enterprise. Precise definition is necessary if these terms are to be applied to extant phenomena without question or doubt. Moreover, as Robinson points out, science requires universal agreement...on the inferences that can be drawn from those terms when they are combined into propositions. Safe and agreed inferences are possible only with precise and unambiguous terms (Robinson 1950: 70). What follows in this Technical Note is a discussion of the logic of definition, illustrating some of the basic terminology, types and methods used in this essential intellectual activity.


Descriptors :   *VOCABULARY , CANADA , STANDARDIZATION , SITUATIONAL AWARENESS , LOGIC , SOCIAL SCIENCES , MILITARY OPERATIONS


Subject Categories : Information Science


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE