On Sat, 13 Oct 2012 00:12:21 -0700 (PDT), Mitchell Coffey
>On Friday, October 12, 2012 10:04:12 PM UTC-4, Friar Broccoli wrote:
>> On Fri, 12 Oct 2012 16:31:02 -0700 (PDT), air <airbo...@gmail.com
>> >I would suggest amending the phrase
>> >"The above examples highlight the fact that some statements which may
>> >be formally defined as tautologies, accurately describe real world
>> >events, consequently not all tautologies are bad."
>> >perhaps" ....not all tautologies are free of explanatory power."
>> The word "bad" here - is sloppy and makes no point on its own. It was
>> intended to refer back to and encapsulate "accurately describe real
>> world events".
>> I will think about it for a day or two - and watch for other comments,
>> but it seems to me that your "free of explanatory power" is a fancy way
>> of saying "empty" so I may just replace "bad" with "empty".
>> I think "empty" is better because it obviously refers back to the main
>> idea, while having a simple independent meaning.
I got up this morning fully intending to make all the changes you
suggested, but when I started trying I found that I could see no
additions that helped the reader understand the issue without creating
other problems, although I did delete some words that added nothing.
> I think "free of explanatory power" is better because, fancy or not, it
> actually tells people what the heck you mean.
Looking at the phrase, I couldn't convince myself that "free of
explanatory power" (or any of the other variants) adds anything that
isn't already in "accurately describe real world events", so I just
chopped off the end of the sentence since the current "bad" adds nothing
> I note, that the FAQ refers to "empty" as a property of both tautologies and
> "wording," which is itself confusing without further explanation, while never
> directly defining what "empty" in context means. It certainly gives one
> opportunity of guess, and possibly enough information, but this is not a ideal
> solution in a FAQ. I propose the FAQ define "empty" as "free of explanatory
> power," if that is indeed correct, in it's first paragraph.
The main reason I made frequent use of "empty tautology" in the opening
is because I wanted to oppose it to "substantive ... predictions" and
since almost no one knows what "tautology" means it wasn't obvious that
most people would understand that "tautology" naked was the opposite of
"substantive". Thus without the addition of "empty" the meaning/point
of the opening summary would be lost to most readers.
In addition as is made clear in the section on mathematics, that type of
tautology is substantive, so I needed to make an implicit distinction
between substantive and empty tautologies.
Also I don't want to lose my reader in definitional digressions. I want
him to focus on the fact that SoF makes reference to something
substantive. Further I find "without explanatory power" to be somewhat
nebulous and therefore likely to result in loss of focus.
> I also suggest that the usage "empty wording" in the second paragraph be
> firmly booted, and replaced by "empty tautology" or perhaps just "empty," if
> that suffices.
The use of "empty wording" here is intended as a second reference to the
final argument titled: "The tautology argument is an attack against
*wording*, not substance". I think that section makes clear that the
tautology argument is all about words and not at all about substance and
as already noted I am using "empty" in opposition to "substantive".
> I further warn against "meaningless empty tautology" in the
> first paragraph, as it is an abomination.
Speaking of abominations, I wonder how "it" is defined.
> Look, I suspect that nothing more than "empty tautology" is truly meant there,
> and though my inexpert suspicion is that empty tautologies as a class do tend
> to the meaningless, even more inexpert readers are liable to spy that
> "meaningless" there and nervously worry that it is there not to decorate, but
> to add some additional spot of meaning, if only for irony's sake.
Personally, I like "meaningless" but can see no objective reason for
keeping it, so I deleted it.