Inverted Definitions and Their Uses

  • George N. Schlesinger
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 216)


Consider the attempt to define ‘music’ briefly as ‘an artistic arrangement of sounds in varying melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre designed to give aesthetic pleasure’. I believe that, though it might be improved upon, it is a fair definition, genuinely conveying the gist of the definiendum’s meaning and capable of facilitating an understanding of the concept of music. On the other hand, the reverse proposition, consisting in an attempt to define’ sounds’ as ‘the elements of an artistic arrangement that varies in melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre, so designed as to give aesthetic pleasure’ would almost be futile.


Moral Obligation Justify Belief Moral Consideration Deontic Logic Substantial Majority 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • George N. Schlesinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of North CarolinaUSA

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