of Scientific Progress
Edwin A. Locke
University of Maryland
Bad terminology is the enemy of good thinking.
—Warren Buffet (2001, p. 10)
Definitions are the guardians of rationality, the first line of defense against the chaos of mental disintegration.
—Ayn Rand (1975, p. 77)
The truth or falsehood of all of man's conclusions, inferences, thought and knowledge rests on the truth or falsehood of his definitions.
—Ayn Rand (1990, p. 49)
I begin this chapter with a discussion of definitions, which is the main theme of my comments, because I believe that a major factor retarding progress in our field—and almost every intellectual field today—has been the use of sloppy, careless, or subjective definitions. Every chapter in this book suffers, to a lesser or greater degree, from this problem. I am not denying that considerable progress has been made in the areas covered by these chapters—an issue I discuss later. Rather, I argue that poor defini