Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ A Debate about Words

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

The first educational technology was language, and despite having used it for so long we still have much to learn about it. This survey article looks at three papers addressing the question of what words are and what they do, beginning with David Kaplan's Words and considering some objections. Kaplan is mostly interested in the role of words as names for things, but there's a lot more to words than that, even in the case of words that name - just ask Max Power. David Strohmaier argues that our study of words should be more empirical and less theoretical - "empirical complexities cannot just be ignored away by focusing on those areas least accessible to empirical investigation" - and while I don't disagree we would need to discuss at some length just what would count as empirically relevant in such a discussion.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 14, 2024 04:31 a.m.

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