Difference between revisions of "Nonapples"

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A nonapple is a proposed object, tool, technique, or theory which is defined only as being not like a specific example of said categories. It is a type of overly-general prescription which, while of little utility, can ''seem'' useful. It involves disguising a shallow criticism as a recommendation, often in such a way as to make it seem profound. For instance, suppose someone says, "We don't need war, what we need is non-violent conflict resolution." Such a person is selling nonapples because "non-violent conflict resolution" isn't a method or resolving conflict nonviolently.  Rather, it is a description of all possible methods of non-violent conflict resolution, the vast majority of which are incoherent or ineffective.
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A nonapple is a proposed object, tool, technique, or theory which is defined only as being not like a specific example of said categories. It is a type of overly-general prescription which, while of little utility, can ''seem'' useful. It involves disguising a shallow criticism as a recommendation, often in such a way as to make it seem profound. For instance, suppose someone says, "We don't need war, what we need is non-violent conflict resolution." Such a person can be said to be selling nonapples because "non-violent conflict resolution" isn't a method or resolving conflict nonviolently.  Rather, it is a description of all possible methods of non-violent conflict resolution, the vast majority of which are incoherent or ineffective.
  
 
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Revision as of 06:29, 24 June 2013

A nonapple is a proposed object, tool, technique, or theory which is defined only as being not like a specific example of said categories. It is a type of overly-general prescription which, while of little utility, can seem useful. It involves disguising a shallow criticism as a recommendation, often in such a way as to make it seem profound. For instance, suppose someone says, "We don't need war, what we need is non-violent conflict resolution." Such a person can be said to be selling nonapples because "non-violent conflict resolution" isn't a method or resolving conflict nonviolently. Rather, it is a description of all possible methods of non-violent conflict resolution, the vast majority of which are incoherent or ineffective.

The set "apples" is much narrower than the set "not apples". Apples form a compact cluster in thingspace, but nonapples vary much more widely in price, and size, and use. When you say to build a wagon using "wood", you're giving much more concrete advice than when you say "not wood". There are different kinds of wood, of course - but even so, when you say "wood", you've narrowed down the range of possible building materials a whole lot more than when you say "not wood".

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