if not for semantics...

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catmistake's picture
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if not for semantics...

we wouldn't know we were talking about... no one would understand each other... to say something like "well that's just semantics" as an argument against a valid correction is a transparant argument.

IMAGE(http://www.gotpetsonline.com/pictures-gallery/farm-animal-pictures-breeders-babies/miniature-donkey-pictures-breeders-babies/pictures/miniature-donkey-0015.jpg)

Does anyone know what this is?

Here is a hint.

Please feel free to join me in a quiet smile.

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Did you have a point or do yo

Did you have a point or do you just like that picture?

I have used the "its just semantics" argument. Generally it is when people are focusing on the wrong details.

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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mixing syntax and semantics

People often resort to the "well that's just semantics" retort when someone speaking to them is trying to make a point but there is a problem with understanding their syntax. When you're listening to someone who uses words in a difficult to understand arrangement, and especially when the person sounds like he is otherwise very intelligent, someone might use the "well that's just semantics" to simply express his befuddlement in the face of a cascade of intelligent words which don't establish a clear meaning. You actually could take the retort as a compliment because the retorter is signifying that you know what semantics are, and that you know how to manipulate them.

For example, is it just semantics, or is it just bad syntax when we don't comprehend the phrase, "if not for semantics we wouldn't know we were talking about"? Throw enough phrases like that at a person and after awhile, instead of saying the truth, which is that they don't understand you--which in certain situations would be impolite--they instead might express their befuddlement by shortening that to "well that's just semantics" which is, if you think about it, strangely more polite. Sometimes it's saying, you're a smart guy, help me understand you.

I assume you are referring to some debate you engaged in recently?

catmistake's picture
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and joking about it.

there's a typo there... I meant "if not for semantics, we wouldn't know what we were talking about"... stupid fat fingers...

anyway... yeah, not really a debate so much as... well... not really much of anything at all. There's no mystery really... I got called a troll, had a knee jerk reaction, was edited and accused of "swearing"... the troll-caller apologized... I apologized... its all good... I just thought it was a little funny that I got censored while not actually using any, you know... references to human sexual anatomy... but I proudly admit I was a bit of a donkey, myself Wink

oh, yeah... and a generous admin here reminded me of a great descriptive word I hadn't heard in a while: "blockhead"... that's hilarious old school kind of jabbing

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ok.....then

ok.....then

BDub's picture
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I've definitely had the 'You'

I've definitely had the 'You're playing with semantics' argument, usually around 2 AM with some drunk psych major. I'm a big fan of the idea that if your ideas don't hold up when rephrased into simpler language, then all you're doing is playing around with the language instead of actually making a point.

(Obviously there are a lot of ideas that simply can't be expressed in simple words, but drunk psych majors at 2 AM generally aren't up to even /having/ those ideas.)

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If not for semantics II

If not for semantics...TV news "jounalisists" and
"analysts" wouldn't have a job! They are ALWAYS
telling us "what you have REALLY seen..." "what
he/she MEANT to say/MEANS is..." "what they IMPLIED
was..." and the list goes on. So it doesn't just
apply to those drunk at 2AM psych majors! Smile

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