Foundations of Science 3 (1):111-132 (1998)

James Robert Brown
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
According to the standard view of definition, all defined terms are mere stipulations, based on a small set of primitive terms. After a brief review of the Hilbert-Frege debate, this paper goes on to challenge the standard view in a number of ways. Examples from graph theory, for example, suggest that some key definitions stem from the way graphs are presented diagramatically and do not fit the standard view. Lakatos's account is also discussed, since he provides further examples that suggest many definitions are much more than mere convenient abbreviations.
Keywords definition  notation  proof  diagram  Hilbert-Frege debate  Lakatos
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Reprint years 1999, 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1009690306330
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