Word of the Day

Word of the day

Friday, February 02, 2018

oblivescence

[ ob-luh-ves-uh ns ]

noun

the process of forgetting.

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What is the origin of oblivescence?

Oblivescence dates from the late 19th century and is a later spelling of obliviscence, which dates from the late 18th century. The spelling oblivescence arose by influence of the far more common suffix -escence. The English noun is a derivative of the Latin verb oblīviscī “to forget,” literally “to wipe away, smooth over.” The Latin verb is composed of the prefix ob- “away, against” and the same root as the adjective lēvis “smooth.”

how is oblivescence used?

Would that our sins had built-in qualities of oblivescence such as our dreams have.

Iris Murdoch, A Word Child, 1975

Even in reasoning, the gratifying confirmatory instance sticks in the mind, while the negative cases all go glimmering into oblivescence.

H. L. Hollingworth, "The Oblivescence of the Disagreeable," The Journal of Philosophy Psychology and Scientific Methods, Volume VII, January–December 1910
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Word of the day

Thursday, February 01, 2018

epistemic

[ ep-uh-stee-mik, -stem-ik ]

adjective

of or relating to knowledge or the conditions for acquiring it.

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What is the origin of epistemic?

The Greek noun epistḗmē “skill, knowledge, scientific knowledge, science” is a derivative of the verb epistánai “to know how (to do), believe (that), be acquainted with, know, know as a fact.” The verb is composed of the prefix epi- “on, over” and stánai “to stand.” Various languages use different prefixes plus the verb to stand to express intellectual comprehension: in Greek one “stands over”; in German verstehen means literally “stand before’”; and in English one “stands under.”

how is epistemic used?

Debates over epistemic principles sound abstract, but they have enormous practical repercussions. For instance, in order to decide policy matters (like what to put in our textbooks and what to teach in science classrooms) we need to decide on the facts.

Michael Lynch, "Defending Science: An Exchange," New York Times, March 11, 2012

The US is experiencing a deep epistemic breach, a split not just in what we value or want, but in who we trust, how we come to know things, and what we believe we know — what we believe exists, is true, has happened and is happening.

David Roberts, "America is facing an epistemic crisis," Vox, November 2, 2017

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