Not to mention you have asserted that "nothing about a free market need make pollution problems any worse". Which would also require definitions of those terms. Perhaps you've been caught lying here?
No, not at all. This is not a refutation of any one particular claim. Let me clarify, I am not saying this:
There is a very specific definition of "pollution" and a very specific definition of "worse", and for those definitions, a free market will not make pollution worse.
That would be an incredibly weak claim
Depends on what you mean. If you mean that in the sense that it makes fewer predictions (ala "Weak Anthropic Principle") it's irrelevant and possibly incorrect. "weakness" in terms of induction usually means an argument needs much larger assumption to cover the gap. So by that standard more well-defined arguments tend to be considered strong.
It's worth noting that your usage of "specific" only applies to anything we're talking about if the sense is "lacking ambiguity".
, that would not respond to the very point I was trying to respond to when I made that claim. In fact, I am making a much stronger claim. More specifically, it goes something like this:
For any sensible definition of "pollution" and for any sensible definition of "worse", a free market does not make pollution worse.
Isn't this just shifting your argument to defining what constitutes a "sensible definition of pollution"? Doesn't it still leave you requiring a definition of "worse" (or "optimal" if that's still in the game somewhere or are you trying to sweep that one under the rug
). In which case I'd say that doesn't advance your argument any further as practically the same issues apply. Oh and just so you know this isn't some kind of infinite regression of definitions I'm asking for here but rather pointing out that just sticking the word "sensible" in front doesn't add much in the way of informing me as what your point is. In fact I'd wonder if you haven't made things harder on yourself here.
You also seem to be implying that "very specific" and "sensible" are non-trivially mutually exclusive here. What keeps a specific definition of "pollution" from being "sensible"?
Normally people do not make claims that rely on ultra-specific definitions of words.
Strawman and possibly a fallacy of prejudicial language. Nobody has asked you for an "ultra-specific" definition. So far just a definition which is more than the term itself. One could argue easily that is normally expected of people. Try again.
By "pollution", I mean the entire cluster of concepts pointed to by that word. By "worse", I too mean the entire cluster of concepts pointed to by that word.
You really think this line of reasoning is going to be helpful? Oh well. Well on one level you're probably wrong. Unless you can list the entire cluster of concepts (which would qualify as a definition) then you can't really *mean* that. As I'd take the word "mean" to require intent - how do you "intend" to do something that you didn't know? Secondly how could you verify that your conclusion is forced for something that you didn't intend to include? Not to mention it's hard to figure out how this fits with your seeming exclusion of "specific" definitions. Aren't specific definitions part of the "cluster of concepts"?
What might be a better way of looking at things is that while the complete definition of a word might contain a large and possibly indistinct set of ideas. It is silly and incorrect to pretend that you are arguing them all at once. Instead try to pick a definition that covers some important cases i.e. most common cases, cases that contribute most significantly to the event, etc... From there make your argument. Sometimes you have to use several definitions to cover enough cases to give your argument significant weight. Mine you even an outside case can be useful if there is good data to back it up.
Otherwise it seems like you are intending for your point to be unfalsifiable.