Friday, January 19, 2024

justification for neologism

Conceptual prospecting is common in philosophical work, but may seem hermetic.

Wanting new concepts follows from working beyond confounding uses of standard ones. Experimental thinking is good! It's fun.

One can propose and explicate new senses of standard concepts (which I usually do), but new concepts can be an easier way to avoid confusion or misleading ambiguity—and avoid concealment of the better sense of a standard term (when staying with the standard term in a new way) because a reader is habituated to standard senses—seldom clear anyway, which dictionaries easily display.

Working with several new concepts might seem eccentric or idiosyncratic (or vain), but if coining a new term (a neologism) is specific and useful, then new complexes of inquiry may more easily work well later—better for me, at least.

But to share the results sensibly (usefully) can require extended explication. For example, my Work/work distinction is probably not useful to someone who isn’t immersive about creative inquiry (which isn’t meant to be basically aesthetical, by the way). I don’t expect a reader to surmise a general character of a reference to Work, though it’s clear to me.

Sometimes, pleasure I get from the Work makes me not want to take time for explication. So, I have a narrative routine of saying I’ve stopped my travels in order to send a postcard home, but want to get on with the trek, “Sorry. Catch up with me, then we’ll go on together.” Otherwise, I promise to tell the full story, eventually.

And eventually, a deliberate focus on fundamentally new sense of a standard term can be methodic and a reference point for later. (I agree with Heidegger that thinking calls for “a new care brought to language, and not the invention of new terms…”[@ :50 seconds into the video here]. But the path to homecoming can be a long course.)