Sunday, 1 December 2013

Defining My Terms

The importance of definitions can hardly be overestimated. “Define your terms” should be the starting point of any discussion or debate that is important and complicated. In the absence of clearly stated and agreed definitions, all too often two parties or more discussing or arguing about something will in fact either:

·  be discussing or arguing about different things, or

·  be using arguments that are bound to be completely misunderstood, or

·  both.

That said, satisfactory definitions are sometimes difficult to come up with, other than at a length which would make them too unwieldy for those whose attention I seek - those with and without a basic knowledge of public rights of way. On the face of it, this is a serious matter given that public rights are at stake. Users, landholders and administrators enthuse over the wonders and benefits of public rights of way yet many shirk their moral and statutory duties and responsibilities to protect and care for them.
My aim is to broadcast what I ultimately see as threats to our public rights of way. Whenever I do some prescribing - which to me means “laying down authoritatively” - I by no means do so as an authority in my own right, which of course I am not. I do so as a layman, interested in, and therefore learning about, public rights of way. To that end, constructive criticism is welcome. As is agreement and indeed, encouragement.

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