Much reasoned and often heated debate goes into the correct meaning of words.  The meaning of feminism, gender, or socialism for example, but also the seemingly absurd, such as whether a biscuit might be a cake.  But are these disputes mistaken? Critics argue there are no correct meanings. Meaning is a function of social agreement and not a guide to the nature of reality or a pure form of description.

Should we stop arguing over meaning and recognise that while the way we use words is critical to our understanding and our politics, there is no right answer?  Should we see words and language as about achieving an outcome or seeking to communicate a way of seeing rather than being a description that might be true or false?  Or is the close attention to the precise and correct use of language essential to social well-being, technological success and effective decision-making?

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