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PHIL102: Exercise 1.1.3 Discussion of some definitions

  1. Discuss this definition of sexual abuse: To sexually abuse a person is to do something to that person that is related to sex and which the person finds to be unpleasant.

IMO, “unpleasant” is too vague a term. For example, sadomasochists engage in unpleasant activity which they find arousing and agree to experience with their partners. This example demonstrates the inadequacy of the definition. I’d suggest an amendment to the definition thus: To sexually abuse a person is to do something to that person that is related to sex and which the person has not consented to.

This still leaves the issue of what “related to sex” means. I think this is much harder to define. I won’t take the time here to attempt to clarify what “related to sex” means.

The above observations highlights the inadequacy of the definition.

  1. Discuss Mark Twain’s definition of love: Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.

Twain’s definition is clever and, in that sense, is rhetorically persuasive. However, it may be better to use the word lust, rather than love. The essential problem with defining love in any way is that multiple nuances it can have - especially in English when the one word covers so many aspects or types of “love”.

  1. Discuss this definition of cloud: A cloud is a large, semi-transparent mass with fleecy texture suspended in the atmosphere whose shape is subject to continual change.

Interpreting this definition literally could include a sheep hanging from a helicopter as it is transported from a loading dock onto a ship - as it wriggles around, giving the appearance of changing its shape from the perspective of someone on the ground. The definition sounds like an attempt at defining a cloud scientifically, so more characteristics would need to be included to delineate it from hanging sheep. :wink:


I saw that Mark Twain involved not only physical but also human thoughts and feelings. For Mark Twain love has no meaning other than realizing its own meaning. Love does not give anything to humans, except the whole self / sacrifice, and love does not take anything from humans, except from himself. Love does not have or is owned, because it is enough for love. But if humans love with passion, then humans must flow in it, and be involved.

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