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On Quasi-Specific Terms

Updated: Feb 14

After some thought on language, I came to the realization that there are some terms in any language that, when used, sound as if they describe something specific, while in reality, they describe very little if anything, simply because they are too general and not actually specific. When such terms are used, they can be utilized by the author to sound knowledgeable, which they are not necessarily.

An example of that is the term "video game music." You might think it is a genre of its own, but it really isn't. Any piece of music, from 8-bit to actual classical music, with or without lyrics, can be considered video game music.

The only condition for that to occur is for that music to appear in a video game. One such example is Tetris, whose first melody is in fact a Russian folklore song. It was later turned into another Soviet piece.

If you use that example, when, let's say, you write an article about video games and mention "video game music", you don't really say much, and yet, you could utilize that concept to make yourself sound more knowledgeable than you actually might be.

That is because when others hear of this term and are unfamiliar with it, they might think of it as something distinctive; as something that only niche people may truly understand.

Another such example, expanded by sci-fi, are spaceships. In the Star Wars parody Space Balls, one of the main spaceships is a literal minivan with wings.

Literally any object can become a spaceship, at least imaginatively, so when we think of spaceships, we might not even know even a square can be regarded as one, such as the Borg Cube from Star Trek.

The problem with quasi-specific terms is that they play with our confidence by having the author present these terms to us as being actually specific, thus making them appear as if they are more intelligent than they actually are in the field they write or speak about.

It is only a problem because of our own ignorance. After all, we seek to watch videos and read articles because we want to be more knowledgeable, and when someone portrays something as niche knowledge (also known as specific knowledge), then they either deceive us, themselves, or even both.

Thus, when approaching a piece of content, the reader or viewer should consider the reliability of the author as someone who does not make what they talk about into something they are not. When someone is to describe video game music as electronic bits and synthesizers.

They delude us, intentionally or not, by ignoring that anything can be used for game music. One such example is a game called Crash Twinsanity. It was composed entirely by an a cappella group.

So, if someone tells you that they like video game music, they don't provide much relevant information at all. Arguably, it could be the same in philosophy because philosophy is in fact an umbrella of subjects (ethics, epistemology, philosophy of the mind, and so on).

When someone tells you they like philosophy, a subject that is already quite niche, they don't specify what exactly they like. Likewise, being a scientist doesn't really give much because there are many fields of science out there, arguably even more than in philosophy.

For further demonstration, a family member of mine is a big fan of 80s music. However, 80s music isn't just the classics of the time. I once let him hear a piece from that decade, and he was tormented, ironically.

In the quest for truth, the language we use to reach it could often be the very thing that puts us farther from it, even if there was no intention for that to happen at all. When anti-Zionists say that they want to nuke Israel, they fail to realize that Israel is also composed of Arabs and other minorities who have nothing to do with either the Jews or the Zionist idea.

Thus, nuking Israel would mean killing those who are also neutral in the situation -- and/or even your very own supporters!

That's why countries shouldn't be seen as a singular entity with one voice, as if it were a person, because every country is an accumulation of different people with varying opinions, just like 80's music shouldn't be seen as a genre of its own.

Thus, to advance forward into realization, the specifics need to be distinguished from the quasi-specifics. True knowledge needs to be revealed in lieu of knowledge appearing as an ordinary, general description or term.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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