Testing for “Meta” Somethings – An ExampleThe definition I use for meta- is from Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (MWUD):
3b: of a higher logical type – in nouns formed from names of disciplines and designating new but related disciplines such as can deal critically with the nature, structure, or behavior of the original ones *metalanguage* *metatheory* *metasystem*In the definition of something that can also be meta- I recommend that there be an active verb that requires an object. The something must be able to be both subject and object of that verb. Example: model Definition (loosely): A model is something that represents another something. Active Verb Requiring an Object: represents Ability to Play Both Subject and Object of the Verb: In the definition above …
- Suppose the “another something” is other models.
- Then “other models” can be substituted for the object, which yields: “a model is something that represents other models”.
- So “model” can play both subject and object of the verb.
- That makes the subject a meta-model.
- Substituting “meta-model” for the subject yields: “a meta-model is something that represents other models”.