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Definition

Benjamin Fretwurst


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The meaning of a term is determined by a definition. Definitions are, therefore, conventions of a language. Terms are words that describe, for example, objects, processes, characteristics of objects or persons, or notional content of our imagination. The language that we learn forms the foundation for every definition. Terms are attributed to phenomena, which science investigates, if our day-to-day language is capable of describing them, however inadequately. Definitions enrich and concretize the basic vocabulary of our day-to-day language. This language consists of words the meaning of which we learn essentially during childhood and adolescence. Words that possess content are linked by recurrent attribution of words to phenomena (objects, processes, and ideas). In this manner, we learn the general usage of day-to-day vocabulary. We learn the meaning of scientific terms not by recurrent examples; we determine their meaning through known words from the day-to-day language by means of a definition. Because various disciplines of science are specialized and go deep into the core of every subject, a conceptual differentiation is necessary. For this purpose, new words are coined or borrowed from other (living or extinct) languages. Naturally, even words from the day-to-day language are attributed to scientific terms, but, in most cases, their meaning must be redefined in order to achieve ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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