Meaningless Arguments #2: What is the Difference between a Room and a Hallway? Part 3

Hello and welcome back to Meaningless Arguments, where the rules of philosophical debate go out the window and vacation in Florida for the winter.

This character ⍚ is used when one of us needs to interrupt the other.

Adam: I believe that the hallway itself refers not to the the roomoid structure – that is, a structure connecting two or more rooms – but rather to the space through which people walk. The sole use of that space is transit.

Thomas: First off, without entering into part four, please explain “roomoid.”

A: In part two, I defined a “roomoid” as a structure which serves to connect two rooms in which a hallway resides.

T: So essentially a “roomoid” is merely a transient space which could serve a room-like function or a hallway-like function?

A: I would argue that such a structure exists.

T:  Very well, but while I have no qualms with roomoids, I find your definition of “hallway” disturbing. You claim its sole purpose is walking, but as you countered in part one, “What of the lockers? The hallways are a place to store lockers and therefore goods.

A: I propose that the portion of the “roomoid” in which the lockers reside cannot be considered “hallway.”

T:  So what you claim is that a hallway is not so much a structure than a space.

A: Yes. If one walks through a hallway, but the structure through which one walks need not be used for walking, then it would follow that the structure itself is not a hallway.

T: An interesting idea to be sure, yet it makes little architectural sense. A hallway should be its own structure, or at least a hall. In assuming that a hallway is a space everything becomes a hallway. “Rooms” would have hallways in them, courtyards would have hallways in them, would a sidewalk be a hallway? It is technically a roomoid with ⍚

A: The sidewalk cannot be a roomoid, as it is not a structure, but a variety of road. Furthermore, why should a hallway be its own structure? What precedent exists dictating such?

T: Without entering into part four, a sidewalk is a technical structure, and the front room of the house connects to it, thus connecting several rooms with the sole purpose of walking. That aside, to answer your other point, we have to call on actual sense and history. First, with logic, one sees that, if it is not its own structure, everything quickly has hallways, which then destroys the purpose of hallways. Hallways cease to be hallways, and everything becomes a roomoid, which is very bad when you are trying to lay out a building. Secondly, for over 3,000 years, a grand hall has certainly been different than a room, and hallways are a descendant of great halls, and indeed have always been around for almost as long.

A: I will let the readers decide whether or not a sidewalk constitutes an indoor structure and continue to the next point. (I assumed that I had implied, through the word “structure,” that it must be contained indoors.) However, your more compelling point is your second one. I claim that the hallway is a practical feature and not a physical structure. You claim that that causes it to be a meaningless term. Contrarily, I believe that the applicability of the term “hallway” makes it useful in itself. Could you elaborate further?

T: Like I have said, when a hallway loses its right to be a structure and becomes mere space, almost every INTERIOR (thank you professor) structure contains hallways. As you mentioned: “The kitchen at my house is connected to our family room.” Almost every house has rooms that connect to other rooms. Thus, you tear a hallway away from its time-honored place among the interior structures of the world, where ancient architecture placed it and modern architectural sciences have confirmed it.

A: You seem to have forgotten my definition of hallway: “The hallway is a space used solely for walking that resides in a roomoid, a structure which serves to connect two or more rooms.”

T: Let me draw you a picture. Say you have a kitchen. This kitchen is connected to a sunroom on one side and a dining room on the other. This kitchen has an island counter in the middle and stove by the the area with the sunroom door. The dining room connects to a small room of some sort; connected to this is a bathroom. NOW. If you wanted to get to the sunroom, you would have to walk through the kitchen “roomoid” and from the sunroom to the bathroom, you will have to walk through three roomoids because of the paths formed surrounding the island counter, the dining room table, and through the small room.⍚

A: Your argument centers around the point that the kitchen is a roomoid, but that simply is not true. Need I sta⍚

T: Do not lie to me. A roomoid is simply a structure that connects two rooms⍚

A: It is a structure which serves to connect two rooms. That is its function and purpose.

T: Very well, but now we come back to the lockers in a hallway. While your explanation does eliminate some of the ridiculousness, it does not solve the issue of historical tradition. Some definitions cannot be revised upon a certain point. Your idea of a hallway as space but not structure is intriguing, but I cannot think of a single thing historically thought of as a hallway, over the millennia, not serving a secondary purpose, which would mean that there is no set structure of a hallway, there never was, and that several cultures, societies, countries, languages, and ideas are wrong and that you are right. If that were true, it undermines the value of language and history, because if the application of the words in the past cease to have meaning, then nothing has a basis to be defined as, but still there has been an idea over thousands of years about the fact that certain areas are reserved for transport, structures built into a building for that purpose, and that idea has been translated into English as “hallway.”

A: We must consider the kitchen which resides between two rooms. Is the purpose of the kitchen that of cooking or that of connecting two rooms?

T: The purpose of a kitchen is to cook; that is why the idea of it containing hallways is farcical. I hope that this point of the kitchen not being a hallway in either of our definitions has been established by now.

A: Then that would mean that the kitchen is not a roomoid. Thus, the definition of hallway regains its lost meaning.

T:  My main point is not that a kitchen is a roomoid, but rather that a hallway, as space within a structure, is counter to the the common human perception of what a hallway is. We should be defending the idea of a hallway, and defining what that idea is, not changing it. That all said, with this new definition of hallway of yours, what is a room? After all we should be telling each other not what a hallway is, but rather the difference between a room and a hallway.

A: The definition of room remains unchanged. It remains a dedicated, partitioned portion of a house or other building. It is a physical structure. As previously determined, the roomoid is a variety of hŷper-room and a separate entity from the room itself.

T: I believe we have reached a deadlock. We both agree with the concepts of room and hŷper-room, but we cannot find an agreement to resolve your roomoid and my hall, and your hallway and my hallway. My last question is this: do hallways have to still be elongated like you first said, and I incorporated?

A: It is a common property in hallways, though not an essential one.

T: I propose a summary definition to try and combine both, by creating a sub-degree of hall below the specific type of hall, like a hallway, called a walkway. A walkway is the part of the hall-type structure which is dedicated to walking, while the rest of the hall structure contains another purpose. You cannot be considered a hall unless you contain a walkway, and the walkway is clearly the focus of the hall.

A: That seems reasonable.

T: Then I believe we have fully defined room and hallways, and compared and contrasted them beyond the patience or want of any architect, or dictionary.

Well, that’s it for this article! We’ll see you later.

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