On Definition: A Lecture in Logic

DEFINITION IS A STATEMENT that gives the meaning of a term or explains what a term means. As it clarifies the limits by which a word or term should be used and understood, definition helps eliminate confusion and ambiguity in the use of terms, thereby minimizing, if not totally eradicating, misunderstanding and misconception in communication.
          Definition comprises two elements: the definiendum or the term to be defined; and the definiens or the defining term. In the definition, “Mathematics is the study of the relationships among numbers, shapes, and quantities,” Mathematics is the definiendum and the study of the relationships among numbers, shapes, and quantities is the definiens ...


The TERM in Logic


BASICALLY, THE SUBJECT MATTER in studying Logic is argument. Argument comprises statements or propositions and propositions necessarily contain terms. Hence, studying Logic formally starts with the study of term.

Concept, idea, word, and term
One of our basic mental operations is simple apprehension. Our intellect apprehends or abstracts the nature or essential qualities (essence) of the things we perceive. The product of this mental function is called concept. Hence, we have a concept of a dog, for instance, which refers to our intellectual image or grasp of an animal called dog.
            Though some logicians and epistemologists regard concept and idea as synonymous, the two have distinct meanings in the sense that concept is made up of ideas.
            A word is the simplest unit of written or spoken language. It is the fundamental medium of communication. Without words, sentences and statements cannot be constructed. When employed to express an idea or group of ideas (concept), a word or group of words (phrases) is called term. A term is the oral or written representation of an idea or group of ideas (concept). It is also the basic component of a statement ...


ETHICS: A Syllabus

          To state the significance of moral problem in philosophical thought; to review historical developments in Ethics as a philosophical discipline; to define some basic terms in Ethics

          The Significance of moral problem in philosophical thought; A ‘Review of Related Literature’; Definition of some terms in Ethics

          Internet article: “Ethics 101: A primer”
          site: (the article can be found by searching its title through the site’s own search engine)
          And (Optional): Professor’s introductory lecture

IV. ACTIVITIES: (Professor’s discretion)
V. EVALUATION: (Professor’s discretion) ...


The Mysterious ‘Nothing’

... Some philosophers of language dismiss each use of the nothing as nonsense, and here I beg to disagree with them. One proof that the use of the nothing is nothing less than sensible is the fact that it practically makes sense to verbally sketch some political crises by using the different usages of the term nothing. Here is my example:

          “There was nothing for it but for the government to admit its guilt, some critics say. The government officials accordingly are nothing if not culpable. Nevertheless, some are alarmed, for it’s positively not for nothing that the President, with all of these hubbubs, is apparently doing nothing ...


Emotivism Analyzed: Moral judgment is backed by reason

EMOTIVISM IS THE THEORY IN ETHICS that states that moral judgments do not state any fact at all but are mere expressions of one’s attitude used to influence people’s attitudes and conduct.
          Nonetheless, ethicist James Rachels in his bookThe Elements of Moral Philosophy (USA:McGraw-Hill College, 3rd ed., 1999) proved very well that a moral judgment or any kind of value judgment must be supported by good reasons ...



... 5. Emotivism differentiates reporting an attitude (e.g. “I like Hitler”) and expressing the same attitude (“Hurrah for Hitler!”).  The former is either true or false unlike the former which just expresses an attitude, but does not even report that someone has it.

6. According to Emotivism, moral language “is notfact-stating language; it is not typically used to convey information.”

7. “Moral language is used, first, as a means of influencing people’s behavior. “You ought not to do that” is treated like a command “Don’t do that!” ...

8. Second, moral language is used “to express (not report) one’s attitude.” Saying “Gautama was a good man” is not like saying “I approve of Gautama,” but it is like saying “Hurrah for Gautama!” ...


Simple Subjectivism: An Analysis

THE SIMPLEST VERSION of the theory in Ethics named Subjectivism states that when a person says that something is morally good, this means that he approves of that thing, and nothing more. Philosophy professor at University of Alabama at Birmingham James Rachels (1941-2003) simplified the theory this way:

            “X is morally acceptable”   
            “X is right”                                  
            “X is good”                                  
            “X ought to be done”
            These all mean: “I (the speaker)approve of X.” ...



... 6.  “There is no such thing as objective right or wrong.” (It is a fact that some people are homosexual and some are heterosexual; but it is not a fact that one is good and the other bad.)

7. “When someone says that a thing (e.g. homosexuality) is immoral, he is not stating a fact about it but merely saying something about his feelings toward it.”
8. “In expressing that an action is evil (e.g. Hitler’s extermination of millions of innocent people), we are not stating a fact about that action; rather we are saying that we have negative feelings toward it.” ...


On Excision

PHILOSOPHY PROFESSOR at University of Alabama at Birmingham James Rachels (1941-2003), in his book The Elements of Moral Philosophy (3rd Edition, USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1999) discusses the case of a 17-year old girl in relation to the practice called “excision” in her native country of Togo in West Africa.
          As reported by the New York Times in a series of articles (mainly by Celia W. Dugger), Fauziya Kassindja arrived at Newark International Airport in 1996 and asked for asylum. She escaped from her country to avoid the permanently disfiguring procedure that is sometimes called “female circumcision.”
          Bearing little resemblance to the Jewish ritual of circumcision, excision is more commonly referred to as “genital mutilation” in Western newspapers. According to the World Health Organization, the practice is widespread in 26 African nations, and two million girls each year are “excised.” In some instances, excision is part of an elaborate tribal ritual, performed in small traditional villages, and girls look forward to it because it signals their acceptance into the adult world. In other instances, the practice is carried out by families living in cities on young women who desperately resist.
            Fauziya Kassindja was the youngest of five daughters in a devout Muslim family. Her father, who owned a successful trucking business, was opposed to excision, and was able to defy the tradition because of his wealth. His first four daughters were married without being mutilated. But when Fauziya was 16, he suddenly died. When Fauziya’s marriage was arranged, preparations to have her excised were also done. Fauziya was terrified, and her mother and oldest sister helped her to escape. Her mother, left without resources, eventually had to formally apologize and submit to the authority of the patriarch she had offended.


Subscribing to Cultural Relativism: Pros and Cons

Subscribing to Cultural Relativism: Pros and Cons
© 2010 by Jensen DG. Mañebog



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