Floating Definitions & Concepts

work in progress

Labels, Definitions, and Concepts


Label: A label is word, symbol, or similar mechanism. Labels are primarily used for either communication, or classification (i.e. grouping) of concepts.
Definition: A definition is the attachment of a label (i.e. a word, symbol, or category) to a concept.
Concept: Concepts are abstractions or ideas that refer to a "concept target."
Concept Target The "stuff" referred to by the concept.This "stuff" may be a tangible object, collection or category of objects, feature/characteristic, intangible entity/concept, subject, collection of concepts, or … in short … whatever the concept refers to.
Concept Instance A singular specific instance of the "stuff" - or singular instance of a concept target.1


Meaningless Label A label by itself is without meaning (meaningless). To acquire meaning it must be attached (i.e. through definition) to concept, which attempts to describe the final "concept target" or "stuff" that the label is intended to refer to.
Multi-Definition Labels A label which with several definitions, pointing to several concepts2.
Category Labels/Definitions/Concepts A definition, label, or concept which refers to an collection, area, category, or array. Essentially any definition/label/concept which refers to several distinct instances.
Fuzzy / Vague Boundaries Categories, with the additional feature of "fuzzy" or non-binary boundary.
Label Abuse Any abuse of labels. Label abuse may include using labels for equivocation, conflation, narrow/broad switching, ill-defined labels, or definition-switching.
Nuanced Label / Definition Nuanced labels are definitions with a large number of conditional statements.

Common Label Abuse Tactics

Multi-Definition Abuse Multi-Definition Label are susceptible becoming problematic in both communication and thought-processes. Manipulation, propaganda, and neuro-linguistic-programming are notorious for exploiting this. Several examples include: (1) Persons are often unable to distinguish which concept a label intends to refer. (2) Persons often fail to recognize when definitions are being "switched." (3) Persons may mistakenly think several concepts referred to by a label are equivalent (see: Equivocation).
Nuanced Label / Definition Tactic Nuanced labels typically indicate a large number of blatant flaws/holes that both critics and supporters recognize in a categorical assertion. Rather than abandon a faulty concept/label/definition, the supporter evades criticism by attaching additional features, characteristics, conditionals, and disclaimers to the label and/or definition. While not a formal fallacy, this indicates cognitive dissonance, and supporters will tend to think they "won" due to endurance over their critics, while in actuality they merely played label/definitional games rather than addressing a critique as presented. This is typically followed up with a narrow/broad switch.
Narrow/Broad Label Switch Typically following use of "nuanced label tactic," a supporter will attempt to apply the assertion categorically, including to areas well outside the scope of the nuanced-label. Astute critics may challenge this, which typically results in the supporter reverting back to "nuanced label tactic."


Binary & Non-Binary Condition Binary referring to an on/off, or true/false condition. Non-Binary conditions may refer to a "gray area" (a quantity between on and off) or a collection of more than two alternatives.
False Binary / Dichotomy An attempt to narrow one's set of options to a limited set, when there exists (or may exist) the possibility of a continuum (gray area) or alternatives outside the presented options (see: false dichotomy).
Equivocation / Conflation Treatment of two concepts, instances, definitions, or categories as if they were equivalent. (wikipedia: Equivocation) May apply in cases of multi-definition labels, categories, and vague labels.
Continuum *(see: continuum fallacy)* One may attempt carify a continuum by quantifying.
Quantify To attach an amount, quantity, or relative attachment to a characteristic. Quantifying is useful for clarifying continuum and vague boundaries, or where an instance fits within a continuum or vague boundary.


Objective Logic Assertion (OA): An "always true" assertion. Implies "concept-X" is always true and never false.3
Inverse Objective Logic Assertion (IOA): An assertion that all instance of "not-X" are always false.
Conclusive Logic Assertion (COA): The combination of an OA and IOA. In essence asserting "all instance of X are true-condition, and all instance of not-X are false-condition"
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