[FOM] "Literal"

Charles Silver silver_1 at mindspring.com
Tue Sep 12 10:34:18 EDT 2006

	Again, I wish to thank everyone for responding to my picayune  
question about Quine's use of "literal".

	Most respondents have written that, whatever the merits of  
"literal", it's been enshrined so long and so widely used that it's  
probably best to stick with it.

	(On the other hand, I confess to liking both Bill Taylor's "ionic"  
and Bill Tait's "prime".   "Prime" has the added benefit of appearing  
in at least one article by Tait and also in his lectures on proof  
theory.   Alas, they do not precede Quine.   The motivation for  
"primes" is that they denote the foundational building blocks for all  
sentences built up using "and" and "or" as in dnf.   This is similar  
to the use of "prime" in "prime numbers", which are the foundational  
building blocks of all the integers.  "Ionic" has the benefit of  
being in accord with the chemical analogies of "atomic" and  
"molecular".   My only concern with "ion" is that it denotes an atom  
{or group of them} with an unbalanced electrostatic charge, and thus  
wouldn't include an atom itself.)

	Anyway, thanks again.

Charlie Silver
Logical/mathematical terminology often seems mysterious and sometimes  
funny.   Is an "ineffable cardinal" so called because it cannot even  
be spoken of?

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