The Appeal to Definition Fallacy: When People Misuse the Dictionary - Deepstash

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The Appeal to Definition Fallacy: When People Misuse the Dictionary

The Appeal to Definition Fallacy: When People Misuse the Dictionary


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The argument from dictionary

The argument from a dictionary is a logical fallacy and happens when someone's argument is based, in a problematic way, on the definition of a particular term as it appears in a dictionary. The problem with these arguments:

  • Dictionaries are descriptive

"We should ignore the theory of evolution because the dictionary says that a theory is just an opinion that you have about something you can't prove."

The person using this fallacy is basing their statement on a specific definition of the word "theory" while

Not every use of a definition is necessarily fallacious. If the definition is properly justified and is selected in a properly justified way, it is generally not fallacious. However, it is fallacious when at least one of the following conditions are true:

  • There is no valid reason fo...

When responding to appeals to definition, it is useful to know the terms denotation, which is the literal meaning of a word, and connotation, which is a feeling the word evokes beyond its denotation.

  • Explain why the use of the definition is inappropr...

The structure and use of dictionaries have changed as new technologies developed.

  • Easily available online dictionaries make it easier for people to use and cherry-pick preferred definitions in their arguments.
  • Dictionaries can be quickly updated with new words or new meaning...

  • Reportive definitions aim to accurately capture the meaning of a term as it's ordinarily used.
  • Precising definitions add relevant criteria to a reportive definition to make it more precise for a specific purpose.
  • Stipulative defini...

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created 19 ideas

These fallacies are techniques of avoidance factors that people will use when they think they have leverage over you, and that they are better or hold power over you. The narcissistic form of dissonance here is a way of belittling your interpersonal attempts. The saddest part is that people don't do this to others, because they would lose the respect in the regular world. They will only express these types of actions towards those who are in a position of vulnerability and handicap. It projects weakness's inside their character, and shows you where by what they choose to act upon.



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