August 4, 2010

A word apologists should know

I am a lover of words: a logophile if you will. And there is no greater joy that I have than coming across a new useful word. Now, not every new word is useful. For instance, I recently learned the world 'ululation' which means 'howl'. Well, we have another word for that: 'howl'. However, then there are words like 'obfuscation': to confuse people using unusual words or lofty sentence structure. That is a useful word (and ironic) since you would often have to use several words to describe that same concept.

This is also why I love English. We have a word for everything: 'everything'. OK, kidding aside, the real power of English is in its vocabulary. We do have an incredibly diverse and robust vocabulary with English, if only the population would use it.


OK, so I recently read an essay at William Laine Craig's site, and in it, it used the term parsimonious. It also defined it, kindly enough. Essentially, it means "being favored by way of Occam's Razor". Indeed, Craig's uses the term "principle of parsimony" as another name for Occam's Razor. For those of you that aren't apologists, Occam's Razor states that when considering two possible theories, and all other things being equal, one should prefer the simpler theory.

For those of you who are apologists, theologians, philosophers, or scientists, I am sure that you have run into the same situation as I, where you wished to discuss the attribution of Occam's Razor within a particular argument, and were forced to do great violence to your sentence in order to fit in the full phrase "in accordance to Occam's Razor". Now you don't have to!

Indeed, with the gift of the word "parsimonious" you now have a way to refer to Occam's Razor in any grammatical situation: noun (parsimony), adjective (parsimonious), adverb (parsimoniously), antinym (unparsimonious), or, if you are really crazy and enjoy making new words through derivation, verb (parsimonize).

So to all you apologists out there: enjoy the gift.


bethyada said...

I see I have only used the word once on my blog in the last 4 years.

Definitely too little.

By the way, did you know you can analyse your blog according to Myers-Briggs?

Jc_Freak: said...

I think I did see that once. There are going to be a lot of errors to it though, since it is going to factor in things that actually have little to do with your personality.