Is crafting precise definitions the beginning of wisdom or a folly?

I found Bob Sutton’s note on “Crafting Precise Definitions” very instructive.  Bob particularly features Richard Feynman’s perspective:

“We can’t define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: “you don’t know what you are talking about!”. The second one says: “what do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you? What do you mean by know?””

I agree with Richard Feynman to a certain extent.  However I find Socrates’ perspective very attractive too: “The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms”

Is crafting precise definitions the beginning of wisdom or a folly?  Is it better to give examples of certain new concepts than to define them?

About Arie Goldshlager

Customer Insight, Customer Strategy, and Innovation Consultant
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