Trivium Pursuit

Define Your Terms

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If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.

“If you wish to converse with me,” said Voltaire, “define your terms.” How many a debate would have been deflated into a paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms! This is the alpha and omega of logic, the heart and soul of it, that every important term in serious discourse shall be subjected to the strictest scrutiny and definition. It is difficult, and ruthlessly tests the mind; but once done it is half of any task. –Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers

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