Talk:per se

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Should meaning 2 be deleted?[edit]

Meaning 2 is not recognized by the OED or Merriam-Webster. Is it recognized by any authoritative dictionary of the English language? If not, then that would strongly suggest that meaning 2 is not an accepted meaning but instead a (somewhat common) usage error. Should it then be deleted? Or perhaps should it remain in the entry, but with a note marking it as a usage error? In keeping with other dictionaries, I would favor the former over the latter. Any ideas? Thanks. Supplementfacts (talk) 21:36, 9 November 2012 (UTC)


Is there a way of noting prevalent errors?

'Per say' is an increasingly frequent error for 'per se'.

Although the pronunciation of 'per say' is much the same as 'per se', it appears that 'say' is usually emphasised more than 'se', perhaps allowing the hearer to discern the speaker's 'spelling mistake'! G-W 13:58, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Why is there an "anagrams" section? This is very nonstandard. —This comment was unsigned.

Why not? I've never bothered with the anagrams sections, but some people find them useful. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:54, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Request for verification[edit]

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Rfv-sense: necessarily, precisely, absolutely. We have two other senses, one legal. I cannot find the challenged sense in a reference at OneLook. DCDuring TALK 23:00, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Cited, I think, at citations:per se: see if you concur.​—msh210 16:53, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I concur, FWIW. —RuakhTALK 16:56, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Cited I have added a reworded sense that I think is an improvement, for which the words above are synonyms. It fits the citations (Thanks, Msh). The other senses of those words prevented me from recognizing the sense and the usage example didn't help because it was too ambiguous. If there is agreement that the reworded sense is better, then the above sense could be RfDed as redundant or it could be handled more expeditiously by moving the synonyms to a Synonyms header. DCDuring TALK 19:13, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
Your last solution sounds best, DCDuring: kill the RFVed sense and, to the extent applicable, move its contents to 'nyms sections.​—msh210 18:08, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes check.svg DoneRuakhTALK 01:30, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

RFV discussion: October–November 2019[edit]

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Current adverb senses (excluding specialist legal sense which is not relevant here) are:

  1. Necessarily.
  2. In and of itself; by itself; without consideration of extraneous factors.
    Some people say that a hangover is caused by impurities in the drink, not by the alcohol per se.
  3. (chiefly in negative polarity environments) In a true or literal sense; as one would expect from the name.
    It's not a museum per se, but they do have some interesting artefacts.

RFV sense #1. Request examples to show that this sense exists and is distinct. Previously discussed at Wiktionary:Tea_room/2019/October#per_se. Mihia (talk) 18:49, 24 October 2019 (UTC)

cited. Perhaps we should add a "philosophy" label. Kiwima (talk) 19:28, 25 October 2019 (UTC)
I think “Intrinsically” is a better definition for the Aristotelian/Aquinian sense than the current “Necessarily”.  --Lambiam 10:23, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm not knowledgeable about this sense. Would "intrinsically" definitely be different from "In and of itself; by itself; without consideration of extraneous factors"? Mihia (talk) 10:41, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
I think "in and of itself" would apply to those citations, perhaps in a more specialized sense. Having studied Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy, I can tell you that "necessarily" is definitely not the sense the term is being used in. Necessity would only be a property of beings that exist a se (i.e., God). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:26, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
However, these quotes don't seem (to me anyway) to fit the rest of the "in and of itself" definition ("without consideration of extraneous factors") - it seems they are saying that something is not an extraneous factor more than that it is not considering an extraneous factor. @Andrew Sheedy, with your background, can you find a way to characterize this difference? Kiwima (talk) 22:17, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
Having read the Critique of Pure Reason, the Ethica, the Treatise, the Enquiry and enough to look down upon philosophy, I have some sense what is meant here. One must be aware of the usage of the terms ens a se and ens per se, in Kant Ding an sich and Ding für sich. Here Kant explains the “Unterschied von einem ens per se und dem ens a se. amongst other loci using it. If quotes distinguish per se and per accidens then they apparently distinguish what often is substantia et accidens (so in Kant and Spinoza just for instance). The time has now come that this line “necessarily” is obliterated, which I already looked upon asquint when fixing the law sense, it’s definitely an unusable definition. Whatever I replace it with it cannot be worse than what is there, however these two words might be dependent on the words “thing” or “being” (both translating ens, and one can easily reckon that it is not even English or is private language employed with a different underdetermined meaning by each philosopher (hence all the papers on it, right), perhaps actual nonsense, which is particularly likely as everything coming from scholastics is under the suspicion of being “scholastic nonsense”. Fay Freak (talk) 22:19, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
LOL. Your definition looks pretty good, though I might modify or add to it a bit to make it clearer to the average user (or at least the average beginner philosophy student). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:08, 27 October 2019 (UTC)
Doesn't look like a different sense to me. Canonicalization (talk) 14:45, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
It is all one sense. While we have improved the page now, we have introduced dainty distinctions which is not totally bad but is all also connected to a single idea of one sense. If I define as “that posits itself and is a principle of its own determination”, which is what philosophers mean (see at least Kant whom I have shamelessly translated, since the sense does not depend on whether it is German or English or Latin here – a Translingual entry would make sense!), then this sole meaning is just applied once in metaphysics, once in daily life, once in linguistics, once in the realm of legal views (the forming of concepts in law, Rechtsansichten). Fay Freak (talk) 22:51, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
I have yet to see any cites/quotes/usages which are clearly necessarily which do not seem at least equally likely if not more likely to mean intrinsically/in and of itself. - TheDaveRoss 12:54, 28 October 2019 (UTC)
The definition has now been changed from "Necessarily" to "Being a thing that posits itself and is a principle of its own determination." Two quotations are supplied to support this. I don't fully understand the first one, but the second one reads "Thus, unless there exists some being that exists per se, the origination of esse in a chain of composites itself remains unexplained and quite mysterious. And the existence of a being that exists per se is affirmed through a denial of an infinite regress of essence-esse composites causing other such composites." I don't personally see any distinction between this use of "per se" and what is now the first definition, "In and of itself; by itself; without determination by or involvement of extraneous factors". Mihia (talk) 00:57, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
Wow that is an awful definition. It almost looks like someone took the phrase "in and of itself" and smashed it with a thesaurus until it was barely intelligible. - TheDaveRoss 12:23, 29 October 2019 (UTC)
That’s a word one can amass quotes for infinitely and still wouldn’t know what it means. As I said: private language employed with a different underdetermined meaning by each philosopher (hence all the papers reclycling the same vain topics, right, but don’t tell that your philosopher acquaintances), perhaps actual nonsense. What “necessarily” would be I don’t know either. In philosophy everything is necessary and nothing is necessary. Given this and that the definitions were all bad on the page I just removed it for being unclear and me having another definition that fits; if I hadn’t replaced, one could also place a {{rfclarify}}, but since what was written there is very indistinct it would possibly never be solved. There might still be more senses and all might be one. Entries for simple words for basic facts of life havy many ways to define. This metaphysics sense could have been meant, maybe what is per se is also necessary in some theories of metaphysics, I don’t know though what is necessary in metaphysics. If one adds ten other quotes maybe the meaning is different again – see semantic holism. Now what is “intrinsical” and “in and of itself” as distinguished from the concept of necessity? Define necessity! (Rhetorical question.) You see we could get on that dangerous train where we can write long and all somehow possible definitions that are actually whole essays, like you know, there were those people who have written very long definitions nobody would read.
I remind what was there as the “law” sense before I defined it correctly: It said this word means “as a matter of law”. What does that mean? I don’t know. A law sense is always “a matter of law”, so there must be more behind the usage. This is no “definition” one can try to verify because there is nothing there. One must have a hypothesis to provide proof, but that “definition” has failed long before any attempt to provide proof because one does not know what one attempts.
Remember guys WT:BOLD, it is at many places tenable to just replace a definition line after one already went through quotes or was inspired else, and that page per se should already have been on todo lists; with the help of the new quotes I could fix and arrange according to what we know: another way to end an RFV: The definitions were bad and indistinct and one has reworked at all. Soothfast this was a page for WT:Requests for cleanup or WT:Tea room, as the question is not ”can it be attested?” but “what is it?”. Fay Freak (talk) 20:11, 29 October 2019 (UTC)

RFV-resolved Kiwima (talk) 23:46, 6 November 2019 (UTC)