more from Thomas Mautner

Single Idea 9958

[catalogued under 2. Reason / D. Definition / 9. Recursive Definition]

Full Idea

An example of a recursive definition is 'y is an ancestor of x' is defined as 'y is a parent of x, or y is a parent of an ancestor of x'.

Gist of Idea

Recursive definition defines each instance from a previous instance


Thomas Mautner (Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy [1996], 'definition')

Book Reference

Mautner,Thomas: 'Dictionary of Philosophy' [Penguin 1997], p.126

A Reaction

From this example I guess that 'ancestor' means 'friend'. Or have I misunderstood? I think we need to define 'grand-parent' as well, and then offer the definition of 'ancestor' with the words 'and so on...'. Essentially, it is mathematical induction.