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universe of discourse Options
Posted: Saturday, April 15, 2017 12:20:46 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/2017
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Could you please explain the meaning of universe of discourse in a simple way accompanied by some examples?

And in what situations should I use it? It seems like an advanced phrase.

I am looking forward to your answers.
Posted: Sunday, April 16, 2017 2:45:38 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Not only 'advanced' but 'specialist'.

It is a term from the formal subjects of 'logic' and 'set theory'.

universe of discourse n.
Logic A class containing all the entities referred to in a discourse or argument. Also called universe.

American Heritage

universe of discourse n
(Logic) logic the complete range of objects, events, attributes, relations, ideas, etc, that are expressed, assumed, or implied in a discussion

Collins English Dictionary

In set theory it is similar to "the universal set', but limited to the things you are considering in the problem. Nothing outside the 'universe of discourse' has any effect on your discussion.

For example, if you are discussing a person's political career, the universe of discourse would contain all data about what he has done in the various political positions he has held in the past; whether he tells the truth and keeps promises; whether he is otherwise honest; his opinions on various political subjects; his attitude towards people (does he like them or does he feel that some people are below notice, or 'sub-human') and so on.

Mentioning that his mother bakes really good apple-pie is "outside the universe of discourse" - it is illogical - it is 'added inapplicable data'.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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