COGS2300 Cognitive Simulations
Operational definitions provide the criteria by
which a determination can be made in an experimental setting whether a
particular condition is true or not. Thus the operational definition of
"foo" would describe the properties of foo and specify which of them must
be present and to what degree in order for something to properly be called
Has or had life
While living is composed of
root(s) anchored in soil
a single woody stem called a trunk which extends
approximately vertically from the soil
trunk extends from soil without branching for a
minimum of 10% of above-ground total height of tree
during early stages of life cycle (seedling and
sapling) the trunk is not woody and the plant is not said to be a tree
multiple woody branches extending laterally from
leaves appended to branches or trunk (may seasonally
may also include
flowers appended to branches
fruit appended to branches
When no longer living will probably not have leaves,
flowers, or fruit
May be submarine?
Size of mature plant may range from less than one
foot to more than 300 feet in height, a few inches to more than 100 feet
in diameter of crown (maximum reach of spread branches) and less than one
inch to more than eight feet in trunk diameter at ground level.
For most trees, the color of leaves is usually
green, color may change to various shades of yellow, orange, red, crimson,
or brown prior to seasonal shedding of leaves. Some varieties of trees
have leaves which are usually reddish in color regardless of season.
The subterranean portion of a tree is similar in
size to the portion which is above ground.
This is a mythical theoretical construction which
is supposed to be a basic electrically-charged particle which is a part
of all atoms of all known physical elements. It is claimed be "an elementary
particle consisting of a charge of negative electricity equal to about
1.602 x 10-19 coulomb and having a mass when at rest of about
9.109534 x 10-28 gram".
I have no idea how I would go about identifying
one if ever I did happen to encounter it. Perhaps I could take the police
officer's approach and command it to stop and identify itself. If it then
says "I am an electron", and that statement is supported by examinations
under sodium pentathol, hypnosis, and a polygraph exam we would have a
valid self-identification and be able to say confidently that this entity
believes itself to be an electron. If that were also supported by the non-conflicting
corroborating testimony of three unbiased expert witnesses who are trained
observers and certified as capable of identifying electrons we might then
say that there is sufficient evidence to say (with a 95% confidence level)
that this is an electron. And if we also measure the little critter while
he or she is stopped and find that his or her mass is about 9.109534 x
10-28 gram and he or she has a negative electic charge of about
1.602 x 10-19 coulomb then we can declare with absolute certainty
that this is probably an electron.
Actually, this is so far out of my field of
experience that I could not begin to write a real operational definition.
I would suppose that measures of electric charge and mass would be the
primary criteria, but I have no idea how to make those measurements.
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