Sunday, March 3, 2013

[PL 211] The definition of insanity...

It is often said that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Even though this really isn't the definition of insanity (and Einstein probably didn't say it, either), would it be a good definition of insanity?


  1. I cannot agree with the statement, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I don't think this is meant in an insulting way but I do believe that we tend to do things that we are used to. This statement would mean that we are all insane. We can learn from what we have done in the past and tweak them for a different outcome. We don't tend to completely change our thoughts and plans drastically as we don't like to know the unknown. Insanity means unusual behavior, so for one to drastically change their plans would constitute them as insane not continuing the same routine they are used to. Obama isn't going to change what he has learned and knows what to do. That doesn't clarify that he is insane. This statement is saying that you aren't using the best strategy and to use a different if you are continuously trying something and it is not working. It's a fallacy to believe that this is right. It takes a lot of courage to take a different path. Success is built on failure, if we failure multiple times before succeeded how could we learn. If we don't fail we won't learn. Learning is a process that we strive from and need in order to succeed.

  2. Would this be a good definition of insanity? I can’t agree with this definition in a global scope. I find that his intention is to use the word “insanity” as a stipulative definition for his current argument. Nevertheless, insanity already has an established meaning. This strategy can be problematic in some cases. He’s approach contradicts the assigned reading this week regarding the use of stipulative definitions that have meaning. Furthermore, this isn't simply a suggestion by this book. I find that this approach is used even in other fields–in particular computer science.

    For anyone that has ever studied some computer science. Assigning a variable that already has meaning within the programming language is not allowed; it raises an error. The reason why is because this action confuses the interpreter when it’s attempting to read the script. I was constantly relating to this when I was reading the textbook. We as humans are easier to deal with than computers, however, it comes to a fault. We don’t raise question/”errors” when unclear terms are used. We should seek more clarification in these type of scenarios.

  3. I don't think the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". In my opinion, that definition is little bit too vague because it doesn't specify any circumstances or reasons for repeating the same action/phrases. According to the article, insanity is defined as "mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior". The article also makes a point that many people do daily activities that require repetition and you can expect different results. An example would be learning how to ride a bike. You can expect to continuous try to get on a bike and pedal and stay balanced. However, you can expect the results to come out to be different because the first few times, you will probably fall.


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