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LANGUAGE AND

DEFINITIONS

CHAPTER 3
Language

- a system for the expression of thoughts, feelings,


etc., by the use of spoken sounds or conventional
symbols.

- a body of words and systems for their use common


to people who are of the same community or
nation, the same geographical area, or the same
cultural tradition (Dictionary.com)
Words

- the most powerful drug used by mankind


(Rudyard Kipling)
Sentence

- the largest independent unit of grammar; it begins


with a capital letter and ends with a period,
question mark or exclamation point (Richard
Nordquist, a grammar and composition expert)

- it is the structural foundation of our ability to


express ourselves.
When people reason, they typically do so
using language, manipulating propositions
in a logical or informative spirit. But
language is used in a great variety of ways,
only some of which are informative.
Copi, Cohen an Macmahon
Subject and Predicate

Subject
- is who or what the sentence is about

Predicate
- tells about that subject
Example:

The accused escaped.

The accused is the subject of the sentence, because


the sentence is telling something about the accused.
And what is it telling? It says that the accused
escaped. So in this example the subject is accused
and the predicate is escaped.
3 Major Functions of Language (Copi and Cohen)

1. Informative
2. Directive
3. Expressive
3 Major Functions of Language (Copi and Cohen)

Informative
- Principal concern in reasoning
- We can distinguish between facts a sentence
formulates and facts about the speaker who
formulates them
Informative
a. The informative function affirms or denies
propositions, as in science or the statement of a fact.
(philosophy.lander.edu)

b. This function is used to describe the world or reason


about it.(philosophy.lander.edu)

c. These sentences have a truth value; that is, the


sentences are either true or false (recognizing, of course,
that we might not know what that truth value is). Hence,
they are important for logic.(philosophy.lander.edu)
Example:

"Logic is the study of correct


reasoning.

This kind of use presumes that the content of what is


being communicated is actually true
3 Major Functions of Language (Copi and Cohen)

Directive
- It seeks to guide or to command. (Copi and
Cohen)
- This language is used for the purpose of causing
(or preventing) overt action by a human agent. It
does not always relate logically to the truth of our
beliefs. (http://www.philosophypages.com/)
Directive
a. The directive function is most commonly found in
commands and requests. (philosophy.lander.edu)

b. Directive language is not normally considered true or


false (although various logics of commands have been
developed). (philosophy.lander.edu)
Example:

"Present your evidence.


3 Major Functions of Language (Copi and Cohen)

Expressive
- This language function intends only to vent some
feeling, or perhaps to evoke some feeling from
other people. (http://www.philosophypages.com/)
- It reports feelings or attitudes of the writer (or
speaker), or of the subject, or evokes feelings in the
reader (or listener).
Expressive
a. Poetry and literature are among the best examples, but
much of, perhaps most of, ordinary language discourse is
the expression of emotions, feelings or attitudes.

b. Two main aspects of this function are generally noted:


(1) evoking certain feelings and (2) expressing feelings
(philosophy.lander.edu)

c. Expressive discourse, qua expressive discourse, is best


regarded as neither true nor false.
Example:

I will kill you!


Other uses of Language

Ceremonial language
-This may combine expressive and other function. It
is also a ritual language use.

Example:
How do you do?
Other uses of Language

Performative Language
- These are words themselves serve, when spoken or
written to perform the function they announce.
- The language which performs the action it reports. For
example, "I do" in the marriage ceremony and the use of
performative verbs such as "accept," "apologize,"
"congratulate," and "promise." These words denote an
action which is performed by using the verb in the first
personnothing more need be done to accomplish the
action.

Example:
I apologize for my foolish remark.
Different forms of Language

1. Declarative
2. Exclamatory
3. Imperative
4. Interrogative
Different forms of Language

Declarative
- makes a statement and they are punctuated by a
period.

Examples:
I committed the felony out of an uncontrollable fear.
He is an excellent lawyer.
The Judge observed cold neutrality.
Different forms of Language

Exclamatory
- contains a strong emotion and end with an exclamation
mark.

Examples:
Its a great day!
I love you so much!
I hate you with all my heart and soul!
Different forms of Language

Imperative
- makes a command or request. They typically end with a
period, but sometimes end with an exclamation mark.

Examples:
Answer the question.
Proclaim your decision.
Shut up!
Different forms of Language

Interrogative
- asks a question and they end with a question mark.

Examples:
Why did you kill him?
What is your intention for concealing the evidence
from the crime scene?
Usual Function /

Sentence Type Informative Expressive Directive

assertion / The room is cool. I had a nice time. I would like some coffee.

declarative

question / But isn't this room 222A? Isn't that great? Don't you want to help me?

interrogative

command / Read pages 1-10 for the test. Have a nice day. Shut the windows.

imperative /

exclamation / The universe is bounded! I'm really glad! It's late!

exclamatory
Emotive Language, Neutral Language and Disputes

Because a given sentence, or passage, can serve


several functionsthat is, for example, it can
express feelings while reporting factsthe clever
use of language can be deceptive or manipulative,
and the careless use of language can lead to
needless misunderstanding and dispute.(Copi and
Cohen)
Emotive Words

- are words that carry emotional overtones.


- it is said to have emotive significance or emotive
meaning or emotional impact (philosophy.
lander.edu).
Two different words or phrases can have literal
meanings which are similar, but differ significantly in
their emotive significance.

Our recognition and acceptance of the possible


connotation of the words and phrases is influenced by
our beliefs and attitudes.

The words we use to convey beliefs may be neutral and


exact, but they may also have (by accident or by
design) an impact on the attitudes of our listeners.
Emotively neutral language is preferable when we are
trying to get to the facts or follow an argument; our
emotions often cloud our reasoning.

1. When our purpose in language use is to communicate (i.e., the


Informative use), then, if we wish to avoid being
misunderstood, language having the least emotive impact is
the most useful.
2. When resolving disputes or disagreements between persons,
it is usually best to try to reformulate the disagreement in
neutral language. In essence, we are distinguishing between
the belief (i.e., factual reference) and the attitude (the
emotional reference) expressed by a given speaker or writer.
The negative attitudes that are commonly evoked
by some words lead to the creation of euphemisms.

Euphemisms
-harsh realities are replaced by gentle words
- almost any state of affairs, no matter how
unfortunate, can be put in a positive or negative
light without changing the factual significance of
what is said.
The medical vocabulary dealing with human
reproduction and elimination is neutral and not
offensive, but the four-letter words that are vulgar
synonyms of those medical terms are shocking to many
because of the attitudes they evoke.

There are seven dirty words that may not be used on


the broadcast media in the United Statesbecause they
have unacceptable emotive meanings that are
sharply distinguishable from their literal meanings.
Seven Dirty Words (George Carlin)
1. Fu*k
2. Cu*t
3. Ti*s
4. Motherfu*ker
5. Sh*t
6. Pi*s
7. Cocks*cker
Emotionally colored language is appropriate in
some contextsin poetry for examplebut it is
highly inappropriate in other contexts, for
example, in survey research
When one seeks to resolve disputes that have both
factual and emotional aspects, it is important to
determine what really is at issue between the disputing
parties.
1. Find the fact at issue: Establish the fact at issue as a
question in emotively neutral language without using the
exact language of either disputant.

2. Determine each persons emotive significance


toward the fact at issue: The emotive significance
toward subsidiary issues is not directly relevant to
establishing a disagreement in attitude.
3. Determine the agreement or disagreement in
belief: Compare what each person said with the fact-at-
issue (stated as a question) in order to determine whether
the parties agree or disagree in belief

4. Determine the agreement or disagreement in


attitude: Compare the emotive significance of the
disputants in order to establish any disagreement in
attitude.
5. Attempt to resolve the dispute in accordance
with the kind of dispute.

a. If there is a disagreement in belief, then use the


methods of finding the facts in a mutually
agreeable manner: authority, science, or observation.

b. If there is a disagreement in attitude, then the


methods of rhetoric and persuasion might be
helpful. This variety of disagreement is the most
difficult to resolve.
c. If there is a disagreement in both attitude and
belief, then resolve the disagreement in belief first.

(1) Finding the facts might help shape a change in attitude,


since one or both of the parties might have been basing the
attitude on what they believed.

(2) If the discovery of the facts does not bring the parties to
agreement in attitude, then various methods of rhetoric and
persuasion can be tried.
Disputes and Ambiguity

Many disputes, whether about beliefs or about


attitudes, are genuine. However, some disputes are
merely verbal, arising only as a result of linguistic
misunderstanding (Copi and Cohen). The
terminologies by the opposing parties may have
more than one meaning or ambiguity but they may
not recognize it at once. As such, to resolve the
dispute and disagreements, ambiguities must be
identified.
Copi and Cohen categorized
disputes into three:

1. Obviously genuine dispute


2. Merely verbal disputes
3. Apparently verbal but really genuine
Obviously genuine dispute
- They are in genuine disagreement, although they disagree
mainly in attitude.

Illustrations:
If Allan favors Paquiao, and Antonio for Algeiri, they are in
genuine disagreement, although they disagree mainly in
attitude.

If Alai believes that Wangal is south of La Trinidad, and Carla


denies this, they too are in genuine disagreement, but in
this dispute about geographic facts a good map can settle
the matter.
Merely verbal disputes
- Disputes in which the apparent conflict is not
genuine and can be resolved by coming to
agreement about how some word or phrase is to be
understood.

Illustrations:
Mutuc vs. Comelec (and the like)
Caltex vs. Palomar (Lottery)
People vs. Mapa (Peace officer)
Apparently verbal but really genuine
- A misunderstanding about the use of terms may
be involved in such cases, but when that
misunderstanding has been cleared up there
remains a disagreement that goes beyond the
meanings of the words.
Illustration

Should a film in which explicit sexual activity is


depicted be considered pornography? Nix holds that
its explicitness makes it pornographic and offensive;
Fido holds that its beauty and sensitivity make it art
and not pornography. Plainly they disagree about what
pornography meansbut after that ambiguity has
been exposed, it is likely that the parties will still
disagree in their judgment of that film. Whether the
film is pornographic may be settled by a definition of
that term, but a deeper disagreement is then likely to
be exposed.
The word pornographic plainly carries pejorative
associations. Nix, who finds the film objectionable,
understands the word pornographic in one way,
while Fido, who approves of the film, uses the word
pornographic differently. Does the sexually explicit
content of the film make it objectionable and thus
pornographic? Nix and Fido differ in their uses of the
word, but for both of them the emotional meaning of
the word is very negative; and they also differ about
the criteria for the application of that negative word,
pornography.
In summary, when confronting a dispute that arises
in discourse, we must first ask whether there is some
ambiguity that can be eliminated by clarifying the
alternative meanings in play. If there is, then we
must ask whether clearing up that linguistic issue
will resolve the matter. If it does, the dispute was
indeed merely verbal. If it does not, the dispute was
genuine, although it may have appeared to be merely
verbal
Definitions and their uses

... message sent is not always the message received


and for every message sent, there may be at least as
many different messages received as there are people
in the speakers audience. - Van Dun (2009: 3)
Defining Definition

definitions of symbols Copi, Cohen, & McMahon (2014: 83)

It must be understood that what we define are not


objects but symbols. The reason for this is that
symbols are the ones which have meanings and not
objects. Copi, Cohen, & McMahon, 2014 and Ogden & Richards, 1923

We define a symbol by substituting


symbols which refer to it.
Copi, Cohen, & McMahon, 2014 and Ogden & Richards, 1923
Example:

In law, the typical representation for it is the balance


scales. It has meaning but when the actual scale is
presented to us, we do not define it because there is no
need to define it.
Definiendum and Definiens

...the definiendum is the term to be defined and the


definiens is the definition of it
Copi, Cohen, & McMahon, 2014: 83
5 Functions of Definition

Stipulative Definition
Lexical Definition
Precising Definition
Theoretical Definition
Persuasive Definition
Stipulative Definition

A stipulative definition is a definition proposing that the


definiendum to be attached to a certain definiens. In some
cases, an old term may be a given a new meaning (Copi,
Cohen, & McMahon, 2014 and Moore, 2009). It directs the
definition to be used. This makes a stipulative definition
neither true nor false and neither accurate nor inaccurate as
stated by Copi, Cohen, and McMahon (2014).
In Law

An example of a stipulative definition may be found


in a statute. The legislative definitions in a statute, in
providing a definition, intend for the statutory word
to be defined the way the legislative had defined it.
Example:

The case of Chang Yung Fa v. Gianzon, G.R. No.


L-7785 may be used as an illustration. In this
case, they were defining immigrant. The
Immigration Act stipulated the definition and
therefore, must be used instead of the ordinary
definition. In the ordinary definition the alien
must reside in the Philippines permanently. In
contrast, the definition provided in the
Immigration Act does not distinguish whether the
alien must reside in the Philippines temporarily
or permanently.
Lexical Definitions

A lexical definition is a definition reporting a


meaning that the term or definiendum already has
(Copi, Cohen, & McMahon, 2014 and Moore, 2009).
There are times that a definiendum is defined from
the dictionary. In law, it may be the principle of
Verba Legis (Plane Language Rule) wherein the
literal meaning of a statutory term is to be applied
(Agpalo, 2009).
Precising Definitions

A precising definition attributes definiens which


eliminates ambiguity as stated by Copi, Cohen, and
McMahon (2014). They distinguished it from
stipulative definition. In stipulative definition, a new
definition is provided whereas in precising definition,
a new definition cannot be assigned.
Example:

An example given by Copi, Cohen, and McMahon


(2014) is the word seizure in the U.S. Constitution.
A precising definition was given in order to resolve
whether the packet of drugs that was confiscated was
seized from the suspect who, while running, threw said
packet away. The court concluded that a seizure must
involve either the use of some physical force that
restrains movement, or the assertion of authority
(such as an order to stop) to which the subject yields.
Theoretical Definitions

Theoretical definition is a definition that is used for


an essential term in a theory in order to understand
the theory better (Copi, Cohen, and McMahon,
2014).
Example:

This may include the concept of free will in the


classical theory, one of the theories in Criminal law
(Reyes, 2012). The classical theory states that a human
acts based on his own free will. In this case, free will
is an essential term which needs to be defined.
Persuasive Definitions

A persuasive definition gives rise to emotions through


emotive language in order to influence the conduct
of others as stated by Copi, Cohen, & McMahon
(2014: 89). They warn us of the danger of persuasive
definition when we are distinguishing good reasoning
from bad reasoning. These are commonly used in
political arguments.
Example: Democracy

In socialism, Democracy is defined as democracy


extended from to the economic sphere.
In capitalism, Democracy is defined as freedom in
the economic sphere.
The Structure of Definitions
2 Kinds of Structures

Extension
Intension
Extension

A general term is a term which can be applied to more


than one object. These objects are extensions of a
term. Extension or the denotation of a term refers to
the objects having similar attributes and belonging to
the collection to which a term may be applied (Copi,
Cohen, & McMahon, 2014 and Moore, 2009).
Example:

To illustrate, a presidential issuance is a general term


and the extension of this term are executive order,
administrative order, proclamations, municipal
ordinance, memorandum circulars and general or
specific order of the president (Agpalo, 2009).
Intension

Intension or the connotation of a term refers to the


attributes which these objects share and the reason
why they belong to that class (Copi, Cohen, &
McMahon, 2014).
Example:

The intension of the term, presidential issuance, is that


these objects are issued by the president in the exercise
of his or her ordinance power (Agpalo, 2009).
Furthermore, by adding attributes, the intension is
said to increase (Copi, Cohen, & McMahon, 2014).
Example:

The general term, Supreme Court Justices has the attribute


that a justice must be a natural-born citizen as stated in
Article 8, Section 7 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
However, this is not the only attribute. A justice of the
Supreme Court must also be at least 40 years old, must have
become a judge or had been practicing law in the Philippines
for more than fifteen years.
Extensional Techniques Intensional Techniques

Definitions by Synonymous
example definitions
Ostensive definitions Operational
Quasi-definitions Definitions
Definitions by genus
and difference
Extensional Techniques

Extensional technique is a way of enumerating the


extension of the definiendum .
Limitations:
(1) Although terms may have different intensions, it
can also have the same extensions. However, terms
which have different extensions do not indicate
that they have the same intensions.
(2) There are cases where we would not be able to
enumerate all of the extensions. In such case, we
can only do a partial enumeration which
sometimes makes a general term uncertain.
Extensional Technique

Definitions by example
Ostensive definition
Quasi-ostensive definition
1. Definitions by Example

Definition by example is simply defining a term by way


of giving example to it.
Example:

Defining fruits

Apple, Orange, Grapes...


2. Ostensive Definition

Ostensive definition is defining a term by making a


gesture at the object which can define it. In other
words, you point at an actual object that you are
referring to.
Example:
3. Quasi-ostensive Definition

Quasi-ostensive definition, like ostensive definition


also uses gestures to define an object. However, a
description is also provided to make the definition of
the term clearer than just pointing at the object.
Example:
Intensional Techniques

There are three senses of intension to understand


Intensional Techniques.

(1) Subjective
(2) Objective
(3) Conventional
1. Subjective Intension

Refers to the speakers belief of the definition of a


term. It differs to other individuals own definition of
a term and the individual may change their
definition of a thing as time passes.
2. Objective Intension

The total attributes that all the objects in the


extension possess.
3. Conventional Intension

An intension which uses terms that already has a


stable meaning and which is commonly understood.
Intensional Techniques

Synonymous Definitions
Operational Definitions
Definitions by genus and difference
1. Synonymous Definition

Synonymous definition is a way of defining a term by


giving other terms with the same meaning as the
definiendum. In other words, a definiendum is
defined by words synonymous to it. It is useful but has
a limitation. Not all words have an exact synonym
which makes some of synonymous definition
inaccurate.
Example: Legal

Allowable
Permissible
2. Operational Definitions

Operational definition defines the definiendum by


tying it to particular set of actions. A useful example
may be how the 1987 Philippine Constitution defined a
natural born citizen in section 2 of Article 4. It defines
natural born citizens as ...those who are citizens of
the Philippines from birth without having to perform
any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine
citizenship and ...those who elect Philippine
citizenship...
3. Definitions by Genus and Differences

Analytical Definition
In Latin, definition per genus et differentia
It is a technique which defines a word by finding out
the genus or the broader term of the word and then
pointing out the specific attribute that is different
from the other words belonging to the same genus.
Copi, Cohen, & McMahon, 2014 and Moore, 2009
2 Steps

(1) Find out its genus.


(2) Find out the specific attribute that is different
from the other words belonging to the same
genus.
Example:

Defining preamble (in law)


Step 1

Find out its Genus.


Genus

Preamble is a part of statute.


Step 2

Find out the specific attribute that is different from


the other words belonging to the same genus.
Difference

According to Agpalo (2009), a preamble is a


prefatory statement or explanation or a finding of
facts, reciting the purpose, reason, or occasion for
making the law to which it is prefixed.
Definition

A preamble is part of the law which is a prefatory


statement or explanation or a finding of facts,
reciting the purpose, reason, or occasion for ma1ing
the law to which it is prefixed.
5 Rules in Defining a Term

Rule 1: A definition should state the essential attributes of the


species.

Rule 2: A definition must not be circular.

Rule 3: A definition must be neither too broad nor too narrow.

Rule 4: Ambiguous, obscure, or figurative language must not be


used in a definition.

Rule 5: A definition should not be negative when it can be


affirmative.
END.