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Choosing Names

One Entity One Name

To pursue scientific work internationally, everyone, irrespective of their language, must use just one name for each entity. Discussion and development of knowledge is exceedingly difficult without a 1:1 correspondence between a name & an entity (or thing).

Naming can take two forms:

TOP has adopted a formula system using symbols as names; and has proposed formal names to ease discussion. A Glossary and Formulary are currently under development.

ClosedCf. chemistry …

The formula is constructed so as to specify the precise location of an entity within the taxonomic structure.

If we do not know what psychosocial phenomenon a particular cell or hierarchy in THEE refers to, we cannot refer to it with a natural language name. However, we can still specify the formula for that cell. You can see some formulae and names here.

Every part of the formula is meaningful and gives inquirers guidance as to the likely properties and relationships of an actual psychosocial entity. So THEE is similar to the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. A set of rules for constructing THEE formulae has been developed: see current version.

Reality is Messy

A name captures a useful category or class containing examples (or instances), so:

A category is necessarily clear and pure, while any thing in the social world is multidimensional and messy. As a result, there is never a full correspondence between the name-category-properties and the particular instance.

If we go in the reverse direction i.e. Examples Categories,Closed there is always a danger of including properties that are temporary or contingent. As a result, observations, however detailed, careful and objective, cannot distinguish the eternal category from the temporal mix.

Originally posted: August 2009; last updated 16 January 2011.

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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