On Oct 17, 2009, at 4◊00 PM, Sai Emrys wrote:

> This'd be unacceptable from, say, a car mechanic; if I come in saying
> it's hard for me to change gears, and he says "oh, you have gear-shift
> sticky-itis", he's not going to get paid. I expect something more like
> "the grease cap of your shift box fell off, the grease dried out, and
> your shifter's got holes worn into it now which make it stick". (Or a
> more concise name for a non-bullshit explanation, at least. :-P) In
> any case, that's an *explanation* and not merely a regurgitated
> description put in higher register.

Hate to respond to the OT bit and not the conlang bit, but it seems
to me that the point of the label is this: They've identified similar
symptoms in other individuals over years and years, and finally,
someone did a study to conclude that all these symptoms are
indicative of a particular condition.  Given that condition, there is
a cure of some kind.  Others, then, might take the condition
name as a cure (e.g. this reminds me when conlangers post to the
list saying, "What's the name for this case?!", and after twenty or
so messages, when they finally settle on one...what's been accomplished?
It's still just a name), but that's not the intention of descriptive  
(like OCD).

I think what you may be objecting to is the framework, not the
label.  The framework goes like this:


In other words, the framework obscures the fact that all individuals
differ, and what works for one may not work for others.  The
wrong way to solve this would be to come up with more specialized
labels for conditions ("My doctor says I don't have OCD, I have a
special version called OCD-X47!"), but that seems to be what happens
more often than not.

Naturally, the framework is useful (how awful would it be if any
time you went to a doctor for ANYTHING they treated it like a
brand new phenomenon that had never been seen before?), but,
like any framework, it will produce negative results.  You either
have to accept the negative results, or abandon the framework--or
"fix" it*, as described above.

* John Moore, a syntactician at UCSD, had a wonderful explanation
for this regarding syntactic frameworks.  He compared it to the
Cat in the Hat.  In the story, the Cat in the Hat asks to come in and
play on a rainy day, and the kids let him in.  Of course, when he
comes in, he tracks in mud all over the house.  They tell him he has
to wash up, so he goes and gets in the bath.  Then the bathtub
gets all dirty, and they tell him he needs to clean the bathtub.  To
do so, he gets one of their mother's clean dresses hanging in a closet
to clean the bathtub.  Now the bathtub's clean, but the dress is
filthy.  And so on down the line...

"A male love inevivi i'ala'i oku i ue pokulu'ume o heki a."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison

LCS Member Since 2007