A defining post about definitions proposed on this blog; with these 16, a total of 153

I think about terms used on this blog and how to define them; I periodically collect those definitions; and I even consider at times their purposes. In what follows I expand on each of those three points.

As to the terms themselves, here are 16 more definitions collected since the most recent compilation (See my post of Oct. 3, 2010: baseline legal spend; Sept. 22, 2009: commodity and complexity; July 26, 2009 #4: competencies; Nov. 19, 2010: core competencies; Dec. 3, 2009: R&D costs; Aug. 17, 2010: culture; April 16, 2010: loyalty as defined by Tom Sager; Nov. 24, 2010: Pareto optimality; Aug. 6, 2010: processes; April 25, 2009: processes, policies, practices, and procedures; Aug. 19, 2010: processes once again; Nov. 26, 2010: Compliance, Audit, Risk Management; and Law Aug. 2, 2010: value for money.). Additionally, 18 months ago I did some curating (See my post of April 18, 2009: three definitions and five metaposts with 91 other terms.).

With pack-rat instincts I have collected five metaposts (See my post of May 3, 2006: 32 word explanations; Aug. 26, 2006: 10 definitions; Nov. 26, 2006: 13 definitions; Dec. 5, 2007: 11 words and terms; Jan. 15, 2009: 26 definitions; July 19, 2009: 11 more definitions; and Aug. 5, 2010: 31 definitions.).

Despite all this toil, we confront the futility of arriving at unarguable, comprehensive and practical definitions (See my post of Oct. 29, 2009: no platonic meanings in a socially-constructed language.). We do our best to be clear, sometimes by examples rather than by abstract dictionary statements; sometimes with boundaries as to what is not encompassed by a term; or sometimes by multiple-choice questions (See my post of Aug. 2, 2010: value for money in a survey.).

From three perspectives, conscientious efforts to define important terms and concepts have a purpose. As philosophers, we should strive for clarity in our terms and appreciate conceptual fault lines. As writers we want to find, understand and use the best word. As managers we need to communicate effectively and be clear what we and others mean in an operational setting.

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