Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Are Tomatoes Fruit? (Who Cares)
The link from the Stallman article to the article on the ambiguity of the phrase "intellectual property rights" brings up the inadequacies of all language, that language must group dissimilar things, making them seem completely identical in order to be effective and effecient. Every now and then these mistakes cause trouble logically and confusion amongst listeners and speakers, thought they ought to be examined and pointed out, all groups do this to a point and as long as everyone realizes the dissimilarities between the things being grouped there should be no problem with the phrase intellectual property rights, there only needs to be a clarification in the definition. Think of the group of animals known as bears for example or fruits, is a koala really a bear? A tomato really a fruit? Is the thumb a finger? Though not nearly as consequential, ambiguities in the naming of a group occur depending on the context in which they are used. In some cases it won't matter whether your thumb is a finger or your tomato is a fruit, and in the cases where it does, it doesn't mean we should stop using the word finger or fruit.