Hi Yanniru and Dr. Dick and folks,
A mathematician agreed that the Stafford paper can map on to "how words are defined" (intersecting categories; broadening and narrowing the categories as needed).
Take sample of category "communication": the bit which overlaps the category "long distance":
will this define "telephone"? No, "communication" is too broad; "long distance" is too narrow.
There are other forms of communication than telephones; and telephones can be used short distance.
Try further sampling, introducing categories like "contains electronic gadget"; "contains loud-speaker", contains "microphone".
A "sum of delta functions" made up of the jump-zones between categories; made up of these samples; gives your final definition region.
Of course a partial definition is like a rule for the remainder of the definition? So rules obey this system too?
But just because you can project imaginary "parent categories" ("unknown data" back from categories like "contains microphone", does not mean you can not tell the difference.
If you make the parent category for "contains microphone" the category "electronic gadgets here and at the planet of the Zorbons"; thus far "electronic gadgets" will be real in so far as it connects with other categories.
If it doesn't, it will be defined solely by its complementary relationship to "contains microphone". What Dr. Dick overlooked apparently is that his "unknown data" is defined by complementarity.
Including "and at the planet Zorb" doesn't change things much; as this statement thus far is solely defined by its relationship to sub-category "contains microphone".
Full consciousness of the whole network of intersections shows up any guesses and their extent; makes the level of each connection apparent. Know the relevant error margin; know the sample sizes, to avoid error.
You don't sample planet of the Zorbons, "planet of the Zorbons" samples the mutually defining category that projected it. It is known by your act of imagining it as a part of a parent category for "microphone"; that act is all that defined it. Moral: be conscious.
Something like that.