on naming

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare’s question raises an interesting point about language and reference. There is a point to be made, of course, that the particular sounds made or the specific ordering of written symbols in a given language don’t bear any necessary relationship to any given real thing. The real thing doesn’t change based on what you name it, but unless there’s a common understanding about what sounds/symbols refer to, sharing information and ideas is impossible. So established names are necessary for meaningful communication.

So it is with some interest that I read how the organization I worked with for 17 years has changed its name. The stated reasons are sensible enough, but they aren’t particularly compelling. I’m a traditionalist, though, so perhaps it’s just my bias against change.

What stands out the most to me, however, is that the new moniker doesn’t communicate any information at all in English. That’s going to lead to some unexpected difficulties and discomfort, I’ll warrant. “Well, as time shall try.”

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One Response to on naming

  1. Pingback: on imaging | Thoughts of a citizen

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