Philosophical Jargonology

Steve Lehar

In my readings on the philosophy of consciousness I have discovered that philosophers play a game of one-upmanship to show that they are "more-philosophical-than-thou" by trying to out-do one another in the use of arcane and archaeic terms. This serves to keep the riff-raff out, preserving philosophy exclusively for professional philosophers. The following Philosophical Jargonology is designed to let amateur philosophers into the esoteric world of philosophical literature.

abient (v.s. adient) behavior avoiding pain (v.s. going towards pleasure)

abjure repudiate, retract, recant.

abrogate abolish or anull (as a treaty).

abstruse difficult to comprehend, recondite.

adduce bring forward, as in evidence.

ad hoc for a specific purpose (e.g. ad hoc committee).

ad hominem appealing to prejudices, emotions, or special interests instead of reason.

adient (v.s. abient) behavior going towards pleasure (v.s. avoiding pain).

adverted to turned their attention to.

adumbrate outline, sketch.

a fortiori then it must also follow [even more so].

aphorism brief statement of principle- adage.

apodictic, apodeictic necessarily true.

apprehensa that which is apprehended.

approbation approval.

atavism reversion to ancenstral characteristics, throwback.

axiology branch of philosophy dealing with values, ethics, or religion.

cadit quaestio

cathect [psychoanalysis] to invest emotion or feeling into an idea.

cetris paribus all else being equal.

chiaroscuro distribution of light & shade in a picture.

coeval of the same age or duration.

cognate related by birth, of common descent.

conative of impulse, desire, volition, striving.

conflate bring together, fuse, confuse.

confute to prove to be wrong.

conservanda that which is conserved?

contradistinction distinction by opposition.

defeasable capable of being annulled or terminated.

definentia the words that define [like these here].

definiendum that which is defined?

denotatum that which is denoted?

desiderata those which are desired.

designata those which are designated.

determandum thing that is judged, determined.

de re of the thing; "a de re mode of representation" = the object of which it is a representation.

deus ex machina 1. a god introduced into a play to resolve entanglements of the plot. 2. any artificial or improbable device for resolving difficulties in an explanation.

diachronic relating to changes over time.

diachronic v.s. synchronic; across time v.s. synchronous.

diad dual.

dialectic art of logical argument.

diaphanous sheer, insubstantial.

dispositive having an effect on disposition or settlement, esp. legal case or will.

disquisition thesis, investigation.

doppelgänger double, replica.

dormitivity soporific, inducing sleep.

entelechy vital agent or life force (Vitalism).

enthymeme syllogism in which a premise or the conclusion is unexpressed.

epiphenomenalist suspicion verbal reports of conscious experience seem epiphenomenal to decision process itself. (like presidential press secretary).

epoché Withholding of assent and dissent, i.e. suspense of judgement.

erstwhile former, one-time.

esoteric to be understood only by small group.

esse essence, "in existence".

etiology the study of causes (of disease).

evanescent vanishing, fleeting.

excogitate think out, study intently.

excrescence abnormal, excessive, useless outgrowth.

ex hypothesi according to the hypothesis proposed.

expatiate elaborate on, move beyond one's normal course.

explanandum that which is to be explained.

explanans the explanation.

explanantia plural of explanans.

explicate explain.

ex post facto after the fact.

facon de parler manner of speaking.

factive clause factive = real, factual.

forsooth "in truth", but chiefly used in derision to express disbelief.

functionalist the causal role of brain states supplies the link to consciousness.

gnosis intuitive apprehension of spiritual truths.

gnoseological relating to knowledge.

grosso modo popular usage, as opposed to sensu stricto.

hermenutics the study of meaning.

heterodoxical of many theories or viewpoints.

homonymous same sounding (like here & hear).

ignoratio elenchi fallacy in logic of offering proof irrelevant to the proposition. (ignorance of the refutation).

illata inferences.

illation inferring.

immanent (philosophical meaning) taking place within the mind and having no effect outside of it. (compare Transeunt)

immured enclosed, imprisoned, embedded into a wall.

inchoate not yet completely developed.

ineffable not expressible in words.

intentionality (in perception) meaning- reference to meaningful object.

inter alia among other things.

intimate v. to make known, hint, imply, suggest.

ipseity personal identity and individuality.

Jemeinigkeit je meines, each his own mine.

ipso facto by that fact, by virtue of that very fact.

irrefrangible irrefutable.

ipseity personal identity and individuality.

Lacuna hiatus, gap or missing part of an explanation.

latitudinarian allowing lattitude in opinion.

limn describe, or depict by drawing or painting.

mereological pertaining to part-whole relations (molecules, atoms...).

mnemic having memory.

modus ponens (Latin: method of affirming) the form of reasoning by which, if q follows from p, and p is true, then q is also true.

Modus tollens (Latin: method of denying) the form by which, if q follows from p, and q is false, then p is also false.

monad indivisible metaphysical entity.

mutatis mutandis with suitable or necessary alterations.

neo new.

nexus bond, tie.

nociceptive nocible = harmful, hurtful.

noema the appearance of an object as subject apprehends it

noesis how beliefs are acquired.

noetic harboring meaning of some sort.

nomic, nomical as in the laws of nature (as opposed to logically or metaphysically possible.

nomological lawful.

non sequitur does not follow.

normative establishing a rule or standard.

objectivism procedures of natural science, of establishing objectivity.

obscurantist one that likes to obscure or confuse.

ostensive clearly demonstrative.

otiose useless, idle, futile.

pace (pron. pa-ché, Latin: peace) With all due respect to ....

percipi percept.

perforce of necessity; by force of circumstances.

perspicacious having keen mental perception & understanding.

perspicuous transparent, clear.

petitio, petitio principii fallacy in reasoning by assuming from the outset that which is to be proved.

physicalist beleives everything is physical.

polemic argument, debate.

post factum after the fact.

predilection tendency to think favorably of.

prefatory like a preface.

prestidigitation sleight-of-hand, legerdemain. (presti: nimble, digitus: finger)

prima facie at first sight, on the face of it.

prolegomenon preliminary or introductary commentary.

propaedeutic pertaining to introductory or preliminary instruction.

provenance provene = arise, originate.

pusilanimous [dim. of pusus, young child] very small.

qua as. Philosophical jargon, qua jargon, is incomprehensible to the uninitiated.

quasi sort-of, supposed.

ratiocination reasoning logically. (ratio: reason, cinare: to act)

recondite profound, difficult, abstruse.

recrudescence break out afresh of a disease (or erroneous line of thought).

retrodictive "predicting" past events.

salva necessitate

salva veritate

secundum quid according to which (secundum = according to).

semiotics the study of signs & symbols.

sensorium sensory brain.

sensu stricto strict technical meaning as opposed to grosso modo.

sentiri sensation.

sequellae consequences?

simpliciter simply, unconditionally.

sine qua non (without which not) indispensible.

sorite form of argument resolvable into a chain of syllogisms, the conclusion of each being the premise of the next.

species chauvenism consciousness only for us humans.

synoptic synopsis-like.

suasion persuasion.

supervene occur as additional or unexpected element, or immediately follow. Like intervene but after, not between. asymmetrical relation.

superordinate superior, opposite of subordinate.

surd absurd, lacking sense, irrational.

synchronic v.s. diachronic; simultaneous v.s. successive.

tendentious written or spoken to promote a cause marked by strong implicit point of view.

token particular instance of.

tour de force exceptional achievement, stroke of genius.

tout court briefly, simply.

transeunt (they go over) producing effects outside of the mind (compare immanent).

trope figure of speech.

unding (German 'un-thing') nothing.

verbigerative verbose.

vitiate corrupt, weaken, invalidate.

Weltanschauung world view.

whithersoever wherever.

zombie hypothetical unconscious human.

Cute Phrases

eschew obsfucation don't use big words that nobody understands.

horribile dictu! oh what a horrible thing to happen!

ignoratio elenchi fallacy in logic of offering proof irrelevant to the proposition. (ignorance of the refutation)

nomological net the web of physical laws.

one man's modus ponens is another man's modus tollens (Dretske 1995)

oratorical eloquence

perceive a cube pinkly turns the pink percept into an action rather than an object, allowing it to be more easily ignored as if it did not exist.

perspicuous nexus clear connection.


the existentially poignant uniqueness of the NOW, the HERE, and the I. (Feigl 1958)

transeunt causation