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Subject: Two things, one name rss

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Kelsey Rinella
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It occurred to me recently that one of the less well-recognized flaws my reasoning often has when I fail to reason correctly about something is when I call two things by one name. This has lots of varieties and is described in many ways, but I just thought I'd try and increase its visibility. If you find yourself thinking that someone you respect is saying something fabulously stupid, this is a good thing to check on--is there anything you're calling by one name which they're splitting into two or more kinds?
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Did you consider checking that for grammatical cohesion before posting it?
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Kelsey Rinella
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MisterCranky wrote:
Did you consider checking that for grammatical cohesion before posting it?


No. That is another common flaw in my reasoning, though less poorly recognized.
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MisterCranky wrote:
Did you consider checking that for grammatical cohesion before posting it?


But you must post quickly... there's no time!
 
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rinelk wrote:
It occurred to me recently that one of the less well-recognized flaws my reasoning often has when I fail to reason correctly about something is when I call two things by one name. This has lots of varieties and is described in many ways, but I just thought I'd try and increase its visibility. If you find yourself thinking that someone you respect is saying something fabulously stupid, this is a good thing to check on--is there anything you're calling by one name which they're splitting into two or more kinds?


Drunk post?
 
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ejmowrer wrote:
rinelk wrote:
It occurred to me recently that one of the less well-recognized flaws my reasoning often has when I fail to reason correctly about something is when I call two things by one name. This has lots of varieties and is described in many ways, but I just thought I'd try and increase its visibility. If you find yourself thinking that someone you respect is saying something fabulously stupid, this is a good thing to check on--is there anything you're calling by one name which they're splitting into two or more kinds?


Drunk post?


Quick... check the timestamp for his last post over in the "what are you drinking right now" thread.
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rinelk wrote:
It occurred to me recently that one of the less well-recognized flaws my reasoning often has when I fail to reason correctly about something is when I call two things by one name. This has lots of varieties and is described in many ways, but I just thought I'd try and increase its visibility. If you find yourself thinking that someone you respect is saying something fabulously stupid, this is a good thing to check on--is there anything you're calling by one name which they're splitting into two or more kinds?
Not sure what you mean.
I think that you mean they are creating subdivisions of (say) a concept or action (such as lawful killing meaning one thing Unlawful killing meaning another) but I cannot see how (unless they are being dicks) context would not make it clear what they mean.

"so do you agree with murder"
"well yes I think killing is acceptable in some instances"

Seems to me (in this scenario) they are being deliberately stupid.


 
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Kelsey Rinella
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One area I. Which I suspect this may be at work is "transgender". Merely because the outward indications share similarities is but a poor reason to conclude that everyone who is transgender shares an underlying cause. Lots of these discussions bring up the existence of biological sexual dimorphism. That might well be a primary factor in some but not all cases, and this difference might well make a big difference to how well some reasoning applies to one group but not the other.

Arguments about whether homosexual or heterosexual attraction is innate may well be suffering from the same confusion. Maybe some are and some aren't. Maybe it's even worse than that, and there's a continuum, or some even more complicated story.
 
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rinelk wrote:
One area I. Which I suspect this may be at work is "transgender". Merely because the outward indications share similarities is but a poor reason to conclude that everyone who is transgender shares an underlying cause. Lots of these discussions bring up the existence of biological sexual dimorphism. That might well be a primary factor in some but not all cases, and this difference might well make a big difference to how well some reasoning applies to one group but not the other.

Arguments about whether homosexual or heterosexual attraction is innate may well be suffering from the same confusion. Maybe some are and some aren't. Maybe it's even worse than that, and there's a continuum, or some even more complicated story.
Then the problem is talking about A when you mean B. Words have meanings.

transgender
transˈdʒɛndə,trɑːns-,-nz-/
adjective
adjective: transgender; adjective: transgendered

denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.

If someone chooses to use their own definition the problem lies with them. So if you are the one using transgender to mean "someone who has a sexual attraction to goats" you are at fault. If they are claiming it does not mean the above definition (from a dictionary), they are at fault.
 
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I went into this thread thinking it would be about "2 girls, 1 cup".

not sure if disappointed
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its called a homonym you dumbass
 
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It really does depend on what your definition of "is" is.
 
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Based on the responses, it appears this isn't a serious question, but isn't the term you're looking for in logical fallacies called "equivocation"?
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What I see are cognitive black holes (anyone know a real word for this?) where many things end up because people just refuse to actually think about them. (Not pointing fingers.)

For example, anything that isn't fee-for-service medicine is Socialized Medicine. Except, of course, for the VA, which actually is socialized medicine, because it's in the cognitive black hole GI Benefits.
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'Concept drift' happens a lot when people try and make more formal arguments with informal concepts. Few words only have one fixed means, and it's not hard to find examples of arguments in which the meaning of some word in the first paragraph of an argument is completely different than the meaning in the last, yet the writer has presented the argument (usually unknowingly) as if the concept is the same throughout.
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Desiderata wrote:
Based on the responses, it appears this isn't a serious question, but isn't the term you're looking for in logical fallacies called "equivocation"?
Agree.

When I read the OP I thought immediately of the "two versions of "faith" presented as one" assertion sometimes used here between people who believe in "big-G god" and atheists.

It can certainly happen by accident rather than by design, potentially causing a significant misunderstanding.
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rinelk wrote:
One area I. Which I suspect this may be at work is "transgender". Merely because the outward indications share similarities is but a poor reason to conclude that everyone who is transgender shares an underlying cause. Lots of these discussions bring up the existence of biological sexual dimorphism. That might well be a primary factor in some but not all cases, and this difference might well make a big difference to how well some reasoning applies to one group but not the other.

Arguments about whether homosexual or heterosexual attraction is innate may well be suffering from the same confusion. Maybe some are and some aren't. Maybe it's even worse than that, and there's a continuum, or some even more complicated story.


I think a lot of arguments against transgendered people stem from complete naivety about the prevalence of intersexed conditions.

People are completely fine dismissing the psychological basis for being transgendered, but this oddly involves completely disregarding the fact that sex is not a simple binary for many people, let alone gender.

And yes, the etiology of homosexuality almost certainly operates along a spectrum of hereditary and environmental causes -- assuming it is entirely genetic is fallacious on the grounds of how life would be easier (and a specious argument about unnaturalness completely shut down) if that were so.

I've run into this a bit on RSP -- I use the term "racist" and "discrimination" not in the colloquial sense without thinking, and that causes confusion.
 
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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation
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Kelsey Rinella
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Dolphinandrew wrote:
'Concept drift' happens a lot when people try and make more formal arguments with informal concepts. Few words only have one fixed means, and it's not hard to find examples of arguments in which the meaning of some word in the first paragraph of an argument is completely different than the meaning in the last, yet the writer has presented the argument (usually unknowingly) as if the concept is the same throughout.


That's a classic equivocation, and it would certainly count. but there are lots of circumstances in which it seems unfair to accuse someone of equivocating when the distinction may not even exist yet. For example, a crucial question in lots of scientific pursuits is whether one is looking at a single phenomenon or not.

If you have ten cases of people with dizziness, dry mouth, and detachable ears, you're probably going to assume they all have the same cause and treat them similarly. But if there are actually two causes which have those effects, the treatment which works best most often might do jack for one set of patients. If you see that your treatment is highly effective in 6/10 patients but does little in 4/10, maybe it's just imperfect, or maybe there are really two things going on and it's a superb treatment for one of them. A case like this doesn't seem to me like an equivocation, exactly.
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rinelk wrote:
That's a classic equivocation, and it would certainly count. but there are lots of circumstances in which it seems unfair to accuse someone of equivocating when the distinction may not even exist yet. For example, a crucial question in lots of scientific pursuits is whether one is looking at a single phenomenon or not.

If you have ten cases of people with dizziness, dry mouth, and detachable ears, you're probably going to assume they all have the same cause and treat them similarly. But if there are actually two causes which have those effects, the treatment which works best most often might do jack for one set of patients. If you see that your treatment is highly effective in 6/10 patients but does little in 4/10, maybe it's just imperfect, or maybe there are really two things going on and it's a superb treatment for one of them. A case like this doesn't seem to me like an equivocation, exactly.

Ah, that situation is known as confounding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confounding
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sbszine wrote:
rinelk wrote:
That's a classic equivocation, and it would certainly count. but there are lots of circumstances in which it seems unfair to accuse someone of equivocating when the distinction may not even exist yet. For example, a crucial question in lots of scientific pursuits is whether one is looking at a single phenomenon or not.

If you have ten cases of people with dizziness, dry mouth, and detachable ears, you're probably going to assume they all have the same cause and treat them similarly. But if there are actually two causes which have those effects, the treatment which works best most often might do jack for one set of patients. If you see that your treatment is highly effective in 6/10 patients but does little in 4/10, maybe it's just imperfect, or maybe there are really two things going on and it's a superb treatment for one of them. A case like this doesn't seem to me like an equivocation, exactly.

Ah, that situation is known as confounding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confounding


Yup. But I don't know of a single word or phrase commonly used for both confounding and equivocation (intentional or otherwise). I find it useful to bundle them under a single concept.
 
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rinelk wrote:
sbszine wrote:
rinelk wrote:
That's a classic equivocation, and it would certainly count. but there are lots of circumstances in which it seems unfair to accuse someone of equivocating when the distinction may not even exist yet. For example, a crucial question in lots of scientific pursuits is whether one is looking at a single phenomenon or not.

If you have ten cases of people with dizziness, dry mouth, and detachable ears, you're probably going to assume they all have the same cause and treat them similarly. But if there are actually two causes which have those effects, the treatment which works best most often might do jack for one set of patients. If you see that your treatment is highly effective in 6/10 patients but does little in 4/10, maybe it's just imperfect, or maybe there are really two things going on and it's a superb treatment for one of them. A case like this doesn't seem to me like an equivocation, exactly.

Ah, that situation is known as confounding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confounding

Yup. But I don't know of a single word or phrase commonly used for both confounding and equivocation (intentional or otherwise). I find it useful to bundle them under a single concept.

In medicine, a similar set of symptoms from multiple etiologies (causes) is called a "syndrome".
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rinelk wrote:
sbszine wrote:
rinelk wrote:
That's a classic equivocation, and it would certainly count. but there are lots of circumstances in which it seems unfair to accuse someone of equivocating when the distinction may not even exist yet. For example, a crucial question in lots of scientific pursuits is whether one is looking at a single phenomenon or not.

If you have ten cases of people with dizziness, dry mouth, and detachable ears, you're probably going to assume they all have the same cause and treat them similarly. But if there are actually two causes which have those effects, the treatment which works best most often might do jack for one set of patients. If you see that your treatment is highly effective in 6/10 patients but does little in 4/10, maybe it's just imperfect, or maybe there are really two things going on and it's a superb treatment for one of them. A case like this doesn't seem to me like an equivocation, exactly.

Ah, that situation is known as confounding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confounding


Yup. But I don't know of a single word or phrase commonly used for both confounding and equivocation (intentional or otherwise). I find it useful to bundle them under a single concept.

I think it's ok to group these together, but they are qualitatively different, and shouldn't have a single term.

Confounding is the result of e.g. missing the common cause of two distinct things, and because of that, seeing a false cause and effect relationship between them. It will show up as a false correlation which can't in isolation, be explained.

This will permanently confuse people who don't understand "correlation does not imply causation". If someone else explains or suggests the real cause (independent variable) most people will be open to the new information, and the discussion will move on.

OTOH equivocation is in the semantics/semiotics space. The only interesting cause and effect with equivocation is whether it's deliberately used as a substitute for a rational argument, or an accident due to a lack of information on the part of the user.

This leaves me thinking you're looking for something slightly different to both. Your OP seems to be looking for a word to describe an analysis error due to the analyst lacking a necessary concept, using an inappropriate alternative/proxy, and coming to an incorrect conclusion. I don't think this is well captured by either "equivocation" or "confounding", but I don't have a better suggestion.

Maybe look here?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_semantics
 
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rinelk wrote:
sbszine wrote:
rinelk wrote:
That's a classic equivocation, and it would certainly count. but there are lots of circumstances in which it seems unfair to accuse someone of equivocating when the distinction may not even exist yet. For example, a crucial question in lots of scientific pursuits is whether one is looking at a single phenomenon or not.

If you have ten cases of people with dizziness, dry mouth, and detachable ears, you're probably going to assume they all have the same cause and treat them similarly. But if there are actually two causes which have those effects, the treatment which works best most often might do jack for one set of patients. If you see that your treatment is highly effective in 6/10 patients but does little in 4/10, maybe it's just imperfect, or maybe there are really two things going on and it's a superb treatment for one of them. A case like this doesn't seem to me like an equivocation, exactly.

Ah, that situation is known as confounding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confounding


Yup. But I don't know of a single word or phrase commonly used for both confounding and equivocation (intentional or otherwise). I find it useful to bundle them under a single concept.


But then you'd have two things with one name.
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rinelk wrote:
Dolphinandrew wrote:
'Concept drift' happens a lot when people try and make more formal arguments with informal concepts. Few words only have one fixed means, and it's not hard to find examples of arguments in which the meaning of some word in the first paragraph of an argument is completely different than the meaning in the last, yet the writer has presented the argument (usually unknowingly) as if the concept is the same throughout.


That's a classic equivocation, and it would certainly count. but there are lots of circumstances in which it seems unfair to accuse someone of equivocating when the distinction may not even exist yet. For example, a crucial question in lots of scientific pursuits is whether one is looking at a single phenomenon or not.

If you have ten cases of people with dizziness, dry mouth, and detachable ears, you're probably going to assume they all have the same cause and treat them similarly. But if there are actually two causes which have those effects, the treatment which works best most often might do jack for one set of patients. If you see that your treatment is highly effective in 6/10 patients but does little in 4/10, maybe it's just imperfect, or maybe there are really two things going on and it's a superb treatment for one of them. A case like this doesn't seem to me like an equivocation, exactly.
Yes, and all transgender is is a word that refers to a symptom (and though in this case also the "condition"}, like shivering. It only has one meaning, it is why someone is transgender that may be different from someone else (though it is hard to see how).

It like turning round and saying there is more than one meaning to broken leg.
 
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