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Steven Skaggs :
Re: towards a unified terminology;
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 17:02:13 -0400

Katya's suggestion for searching via Semios-L is receiving the predictable
negative responses. Katya's basic desire has merit, we all long for a
tidier terminology. But Esa and Terry both make the point, and I think it
is right on the mark, that the terminological problems are indicative of
deeper conceptual divisions. These divisions are likely irreconcilable.

If I may make a friendly amendment to Katya's suggestion, it would be that
we begin by doing the opposite of a reconciliation. We would begin by
drawing distinctions between terms that seem on the surface to be synonyms.
We may find three situations:
        1- Terms that really are synonyms
        2- Terms that seem like synonyms but carry imnplications that are
disimilar.
        3- Groups of terms that are in family resemblance to each other as
categories, despite triggering varietal denotations and connotations.

This work is not something that would be wrapped up by the Guadelajara
congress: it would be an ongoing discussion. Perhaps it could never reach a
conclusion. But I think the discussion may prove fruitful.

There must be those among us who have done research into this area already.
Are there suggested readings to initiate things?

Last summer Gary Shank and I wrote a paper in which we looked past the
terminological and conceptual ill-fit of semei- otic/ology. We looked at
the notion of _specificity_ and discovered certain similarities by looking
from that angle. We made no attempt to translate one view into the other
but simply noted how specificity made room for both -otic and -ology
families. Perhaps I can put this paper up on the web, for what it's worth.
I'll contact Gary for his permission.

In the meantime, since Katya has been so bold as to propose this hydra of a
discussion: Katya, how about assembling clusters of terms that seem
similar. Instead of just throwing them up here, perhaps you could begin by
finding in researched sources, definitions of these terms. Let's see what
that looks like.

S
Steven Skaggs

>> McCarthy: "Even machines as simple as thermostats can be said to have
>>beliefs."
<< Searle: "What beliefs does your thermostat have?"
>> McCarthy: "My thermostat has three beliefs - it is too hot in here, it
>>is too cold in here, and it is just right in here."

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