In my mind I tend to sort propositional claims into a few major bins, two of which are:
- Things that are true (or not) by virtue of how the world works
- Things that are true (or not) by virtue of general social consensus
For example, “The Earth is flat and rides on a space turtle” is type 1, whereas “Yudkowsky is a Jedi master of the fanfic genre” is type 2.
The weird thing about type 2 sorts of questions is that (unlike scientific questions) you can jump on a largest bandwagon and call that a decent argument. This is perhaps most obvious when dealing with questions of what words should be taken to mean. Language is usage, and so we can simply appeal to what most (well-informed) people mean. Which is precisely what I’m going to do now, in order to finally settle a long-running argument about which of my family members can claim to be from the American Midwest.
As a native Chicagoan, I’m quintessentially Midwestern. As for my Okie relatives, well, you guys are close enough. Now, where can we find a decent Chicago-style pizza around here?