Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kinds of Terms in Logic

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According to Bachhuber in his book Introduction to Logic, the term can be classified as univocal, equivocal, and analogous by basing on the term’s relation to more than one inferior.

Univocal Terms

When a term is being applied to their inferiors in the same exact essence, such term is univocal.

For instance,

  • a drum and a piano are both occurrences or inferiors of the term instrument, making it univocal or having only one meaning, which is an object that produces music.
  • The term Filipino is univocal in relation to the Surigaonon, Kagay-anon, ManileƱo, Cebuano, Ilocano, and any other social division of people within the Philippines.
  • Boeing 777 and the stealth bomber B-2 Spirit are instances of the univocal plane, an engine-driven flying vehicle.
Equivocal Terms

When instances are under the same term but of entirely different meaning, the term is equivocal. The term is referred by instances of different meanings.

For example,

  • the term rat applies not only to a long-tailed rodent that is larger than a mouse but also to a person who is deceitful and betrays confidences.
  • A faggot becomes equivocal when applied to the bundle of sticks for firewood and the slang for a gay man. Similarly, the term gay has over the years evolved to adapt a new meaning, that of being homosexual, entirely different from gay as in being merry.
  • Equivocally, a fan can signify the tool for moving air and an enthusiastic admirer of a celebrity or public performer.
Analogous Terms

Terms become analogous when their inferiors are partly the same but also partly different in their use or essence. The emphasis on the analogy of inferiors, in this case called analogues, depends on the degree of their relation with each other and to the general term.

  • Magic is analogous to the sleight of hand or conjuring tricks and illusion and to the fictional magic such as a fireball invoked by a wizard and the dead raised by necromancers. While both are in a way fantasized and admired, the former is done with dexterity and speed to trick the minds of the audience and the latter is supernatural and impossible to perform.
  • The term Filipino can become analogous if it is not just applied to the races but also to the country’s language (Tagalog, Bisaya, etc), and culture (food delicacies, dances, lifestyle, etc). These inferiors in themselves are distinct but all point to identity of the Philippines.
  • The head as in the chief executive officer and the head in a person are both the topmost part of a company and the human body, respectively. They are in some way similar and vital but have no direct resemblance to each other.


Bachhuber, S.J., Andrew H. Introduction to Logic. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1966.

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Understanding Online Comments

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Every social person loves hearing feedback. An essential part of communication, its purpose lies in exchanging feelings and ideas. Writers, for instance, obtain assessment from experts and reviewers which they can use to better their style of writing, revise a published material to make it more accurate, and possibly discover a new angle for a topic (or an entirely new topic). Hence, even blogs, columns, or articles posted online usually provide an option to submit comments.

The value of comments found online, however, varies on a broader range when compared to their offline counterparts. The dynamic nature of the Internet and the anonymity it provides helps users partake more confidently on activities such as commenting without major consequences. In other words, people who do not frequently speak up in person may find it easy to express ideas and thoughts online. Sadly, freedom from identification also attracts the undesired trivial and insulting interaction between users known as flaming, especially when the comment thread runs too long.

Bear in mind though that one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. When many thinks of comments (be them flame messages or not) as useless, one with an analytical mind is able to dissect through the mess and salvage information that are useful to them.

To start with, a better understanding of online comments is needed.

Any form of feedback can influence the minds of people in a community. For example, comments that are cleverly written with underlying meaning can negate claims and arguments stated in an article, generating a negative attitude towards the article.

Static or Dynamic? The arrangement of comments online can be divided into two types: static and dynamic. In a static system, comments are posted on permanent spot; the first post remains at the top. This system encourages discussion, making comments into a thread (series of messages replying to previous posts) though it risks veering the conversation off course. On the other hand, dynamic comments are arranged based on their ratings or votes; posts with the highest ratings are displayed at the top. Hence, discussions among comments are minimal and most entries talk about the article instead.

What the comment itself is. The contents of a comment must also be scrutinized. Is the comment perfectly structured, constructive, and unbiased? Does it have verifiable references for claims mentioned? Is it only a mere praise/reproach comprised of a few words? Has the comment become a mere flame message? Does it not cover the article at hand but rather argues on extrapolated political or religion issues? When these questions are answered, comments can then be organized for further analysis.

Commenter's identity. Last not but not least, with the given freedom due to anonymity, comments may tend to be subjective, incomplete, irrelevant, discriminatory, and insulting without justification. Fortunately, there are certain ways to alleviate these types of comments to an extent albeit people will find ways to subvert them, even ignore them totally.

Comments is a wild form of business that, when tamed, can help complement another business. When the aspects of online comments mentioned above are understood, writers can then manage to work comments to their advantage.

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