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23 Nov 2013

Word of the Day: Deontic

de·on·tic

dēˈäntik

adjective PHILOSOPHY

  1. of or relating to duty and obligation as ethical concepts.

Deontic logic is the field of logic that is concerned with obligation, permission, and related concepts. Alternatively, a deontic logic is a formal system that attempts to capture the essential logical features of these concepts. Typically, a deontic logic uses OA to mean it is obligatory that A, (or it ought to be (the case) that A), and PA to mean it is permitted (or permissible) that A. The term deontic is derived from the ancient Greek déon - δέον (gen.: δέοντος), meaning, roughly, that which is binding or proper.


Stonking nice word from quite serious post about terrible management here: http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2013/11/healthcare-gov-and-the-gulf-between-planning-and-reality/.

Here is the context:

... the waterfall method amounts to a pledge by all parties not to learn anything while doing the actual work. Instead, waterfall insists that the participants will understand best how things should work before accumulating any real-world experience, and that planners will always know more than workers.

This is a perfect fit for a culture that communicates in the deontic language of legislation. It is also a dreadful way to make new technology. If there is no room for learning by doing, early mistakes will resist correction. If the people with real technical knowledge can’t deliver bad news up the chain, potential failures get embedded rather than uprooted ...




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