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Single Idea 21551

[catalogued under 2. Reason / D. Definition / 11. Ostensive Definition]

Full Idea

The meanings of all empirical words depend ultimately upon ostensive definitions, ostensive definitions depend upon experience, and that experience is egocentric.

Gist of Idea

Empirical words need ostensive definition, which makes them egocentric


Bertrand Russell (Mr Strawson on Referring [1957], p.122)

A Reaction

He seems to imply that this makes them partly subjective, but I don't see why an objective consensus can't be reached when making an ostensive definition. We just need to clearly agree what 'that' refers to.

Book Reference

Russell,Bertrand: 'Essays in Analysis', ed/tr. Lackey,Douglas [George Braziller 1973], p.122

Related Idea

Idea 21550 Science reduces indexicals to a minimum, but they can never be eliminated from empirical matters [Russell]