Ordinary language is all right.
One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.
Compare how a philosopher, a judge, a chemist, a journalist, a lover, a friend, a parent, may react to having…
1. made a bad argument.
2. accepted a bad argument.
3. said something that wasn't true.
4. accepted something that wasn't true.
5. ignored what others were saying.
6. listened to what others were saying.
Yet if you're concerned with something like, 'what it means to do something', and SIGNIFICANCE has entered the scene, you might barely be able to get a word out while transfixed by the thought of someone… somehow… doing… something.
… 'theory of how do do things', 'theory of how doing things works'…
'A theory of what to keep in mind'. Can't you just keep it in mind without the theory?
We use simpler words and do simpler things, for simpler reasons, than moral philosophers are comfortable with. Imagine a theory of when one should, in general, say 'no'.
We shake hands after a fight, or hug. We turn our backs on one another. We look each other in the eye; we say things to our faces. We leave and never come back; we stop each other from leaving. We wait and see. We will not show our faces, hide our eyes, look down, look away. We will have had enough. We won't stand for things. We let others have it.
We doubt ourselves. We put up with things we shouldn't. We stick around for bad reasons. We dwell in unhealthy fantasies. We can be living in the past. We get over ourselves. We can never let go. We hold on for as long as we can.
It's hard now to imagine morality without the ideas of reform or progress, which seem out of place for animals.
You'd like to be able to say that the difference between a good dog and a bad dog matters to a dog. To other dogs.
Or that the difference between a good bird and a bad bird matters to other birds.
Harder to say would be whether it matters to a dog or a bird whether it is a good or bad dog or bird. Or whether that amounts to the same thing as its mattering to a dog or a bird whether its being a good or bad dog or bird matters to other dogs or birds.
Can animals ever be hiding something?