On Vocabulary and Style
“All language consists of measurement.”
Throughout our journey, we’ll use an often rigorous and unfamiliar vocabulary. The most challenging hurdle for the reader is learning and adapting to that vocabulary.
Any discipline must create a vocabulary that serves as an unambiguous system of measurement within that discipline. Few disciplines – as in this one – must produce a vocabulary that serves as an unambiguous system of measurement across all disciplines.
To produce that unambiguous vocabulary that functions as a system of measurement across all disciplines, we selected the best terms from every discipline that most fit the concept we were defining – including vocabulary from genetics, biology, economics, finance, computer science, mathematics, logic, linguistics, and cognitive science.
We selected those that were the ‘least loaded’, ‘least wrong’, and ‘least conflated’, and converted them to operational language. And then disambiguated those that overlapped or could be used as synonyms (rightly or wrongly). And as a consequence, many definitions in our vocabulary reflect what they must mean if stated operationally, and unambiguously – rather than what they may mean conventionally or colloquially.
This process of “inventory, enumeration, and disambiguation, by operationalization and serialization”, so that we produce a vocabulary that can serve as an unambiguous system of measurement will appear consistently throughout our journey together.
Our experience suggests that terms from economics are the least familiar to readers. And that the logic of economics is all but alien to readers. Which given the importance of economics in modernity is a catastrophic failure of our education system.
And to begin with, English is already notable for its preference to appropriate as many terms as possible from as many languages as possible, rather than, as under its German origins, compounding terms. To some degree, we take this property of English to its natural conclusion.
The is definitions in of series, like this:
|Definitions| operational > narrower > corrected > redefined > Neologisms
Operational definitions: to reduce conflation and increase deflation – to remove the tendency to misinterpret the term.
Narrower definitions: once we organize related terms in a series, we will narrow the definition of those terms.
Corrected definitions: many terms – particularly those with platonic or ideal (rather than operational or empirical) definitions must be corrected. An extreme example is that a “number” consists of a positional name, and that is all.
Redefinition: (reframing) in some cases terms are defined a framing that is either false, pseudoscientific, archaic, or deceptive. So i’ve redefined them with operational framing. For example the choice of capitalism versus socialism is a choice between rule of law independent of discretion, and arbitrary rule consisting of discretion. Framing the choice as economic ideals obscures the operational differences.
New terms (neologisms): some new terms where older terms would be conflationary or confusing.
Many “-isms”: Definition: -ism: “a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy (method of decision making), that provides categories, values, epistemological methods, and means of decidability in a domain.” to understand the meaning of “-isms”: requires one know the categories, values, method of epistemology, and means of decidability that they refer to. so -ism’s are identical to any other taxonomic categorization in any other specific domain, such as that of family, kingdom, genus, and species. In many cases, we will define the term in the glossary. If not then Wikipedia often provides a simple version and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy provides a thorough if often more confusing version.
We often use complete sentences using Promissory (“I promise that…”), Testimonial (“I can testify to…”, Operational (sequence of actions), Transactional (include all changes in state), and Warrantable (“and I warranty that…”) prose.
This technique creates testable transactions out of statements. It’s usually the last skill people develop because (a) it demonstrates whether we’re capable of making the claim we are, (b) rapidly exposes how little we know, (c) points us to what it is we don’t understand, (d) and. unfortunately is cognitively burdensome.
You’ll be surprised how often asking yourself or others to say something in a complete sentence answers the question they thought they needed to ask (or exposes the fallacy of fraud they sought to get away with.)
That said, it’s work. You’ll notice how children speak in short phrases and eventually, we are all able to speak in sentences and paragraphs. It’s cognitively costly to do that. Likewise, it’s cognitively costly to testify in operational prose.
Terms, Series, Lists, Tables, Diagrams
You’ll notice right away, that in testimony, we use a lot of lists of various kinds. That’s for a number of reasons: Creating measurements from words, simplifying complexity, helping you Scan for ideas, quickly jogging your memory when you can’t quite recall a concept.
1. Turning ordinary language into a system of measurement
For example, in mathematics, we take a series of words, put them in order – meaning in a position – on in a line, and call that a Number line. and when we do that, we can use the number line as a system of measurement. And it’s very hard to confuse by accident or pretend so that we deceive ourselves of others, that two positions on that line are the same.
So in testimony do the same thing. We take an idea. We collect a number of words that are synonyms and antonyms for that idea, then put them in some kind of order on a line, then define each on differently from the others, and we have created a system of measurement that’s very precise. And so it is very hard to confuse (or conflate) by accident or to confuse (or conflate) for the purpose of deception of ourselves or of others
So let’s use ‘Moral‘ because that’s a word that we all use but conflate (confuse) often.
Good, moral, ethical, right amoral, wrong, unethical, immoral, evil
Which we usually write with arrows so that we can help the reader understand the direction of the idea, and we put bars around the starting point.
Good < moral < ethical < right < |amoral| > wrong > unethical > immoral, > evil
And then define them as actions:
Good: when you do something that benefits others, at neutral or some cost to you.
Moral: when you do something where you could cheat others indirectly and anonymously but you don’t.
Ethical: when you do something where you could cheat the other person directly but you don’t.
Right: when you do something that could affect others but you ensure it doesn’t.
Amoral: when you do something that doesn’t affect others because it can’t.
Wrong: when you do something that affects others but don’t you ensure and it does.
Unethical: when you do something where you can cheat the other person directly and you do.
Immoral: when you do something where you could cheat others indirectly and anonymously and you don’t.
Evil: when you do something that harms others, just to harm them even if it costs you.
Where the “Constant-relation” between the terms is the spectrum of means of imposing – or avoiding imposing – the consequences of your actions upon others.
So now we have a unit of measurement of the morality of human actions. So whether we want to speak truthfully, or determine whether someone else is speaking truthfully, we have a simple means of testing their speech.
When we use these terms we won’t confuse them, and everyone else writing in testimony can use them the same way. And, you might think that this would be a lot of work and be confusing, but it turns out that there aren’t very many of them, after a while, you’ll memorize all of them, and this is one of the most common series we use.
We call this technique “Disambiguation, serialization, and operationalization” because we de-conflate terms, by writing them in operational language, meaning definitions that start with ‘when you do something that causes something that you experience as.’ and then we sort them by trial and error into order, and adjust their definitions until they don’t overlap (conflate), so that they are disambiguated.
Writing in actions – operational language – causes us to write from the same point of view, so that no matter what we are discussing, no matter what subject we discuss by reducing all of our terms to actions in operational language, they will all be measurable by the same standard: actions. This technique creates “Commensurability” Regardless of the subject matter.
Not so that we must speak in that system of measurement – it would be burdensome, but so like mathematics in the determinism (constant relations) of the physical science, we would have a language of measurement for all sciences, including the human sciences.
Testimonial prose allows us to determine whether a person who is claiming something is Reciprocal (truthful and right, ethical, moral, or good) can make the claim by demonstrating sufficient knowledge to make the claim, and has made the claim.
And that is the purpose of testimony: to create a System of measurement: A value-neutral Language For the discussion of reality (what we call metaphysics), physical sciences and the human sciences of psychology, sociology, economics, ethics, law politics, and group strategy.
A value-neutral language for use as a fully commensurable, system of measurement, for the non-physical sciences.
2. Charts simplify complexity and create visual and spatial memories
3. Ease of finding content by scanning
( … )
4. Jogging your memory
( … )
Most of the time, whenever necessary or possible we’ve included a chart and an explanation, and a selection of readings that apply it.
Disambiguation > Definitions > Dimensions (causality) > Diagrams > Explanations > Readings (essays)
So whatever your reading style, you should find a comfortable way of understanding the topic, and then you can return for more information later if you want to, or find a need to.
We use repetition. It’s through repetition that we most easily learn to habituate terms, sequences, and the ‘tempo’ of operational prose.
Bold To allow for those of us who read quickly to scan by Keywords.
Capitals I’ve adopted the German language tradition Noun Capitalization for names of ideas, like “Rationalism”, “Sovereignty” or movements to indicate that you might want to look up in our Glossary, or in Wikipedia (despite its bias), or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. This technique lets us use bold, italic, and capitalization to cue the reader.
Parentheticals To bridge operational(technical) and meaningful(familiar) terms (like I’m doing here), or to limit interpretation (or misinterpretation). This technique allows us to mix ordinary language and sentence structure with specific terminology, and to limit ambiguity.
Series and lists: a sequence of definitions representing a spectrum of terms. The use of series deflates the individual terms, increases precision, and defeats the conflation of terms. Our first exposure to the use of the methodology’s repetition of series tends to both be the most obvious and most helpful of the techniques.
Constructions: tracing the path of the development of ideas from primitive to current constructions.
Algorithms: general processes for the construction of deflations.
- Analytic philosophy is, of necessity, wordy.
- Operational language is, of necessity, wordy.
- Programming algorithms is, of necessity, wordy.
- Law, whether contractual, legislative, or constitutional, is wordy.
- Algorithmic natural law is of necessity, wordy.
Technical languages evolve to speak precisely. A precise language contains technical terms and is wordy. Why, if all the other sciences require technical language, would we think that speaking technically in the science of cooperation is not going to be wordy? Well, it’s going to be wordy.