Mostly silly alternatives to the word 'rationalist'

post by jsalvatier · 2011-06-22T04:53:00.539Z · score: 2 (9 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 37 comments

Like many others I don't care much for the word 'rationalist', since it comes with lots of preexisting negative connotations. I think we're most likely stuck with the term, but to amuse myself, I came up a list of alternative terms. The Seattle LW group enjoyed the word 'cognomancy'.

I don't claim any of these are original to me; I know I've lifted a couple of them.
I really like the suffix -mancy; it's really fun to think of yourself as doing any kind of -mancy. 
I'd love to hear other funny alternatives to 'rationalist' and other related terms.

 

37 comments

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comment by fubarobfusco · 2011-06-22T05:21:09.424Z · score: 12 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The -mancy suffix is from Greek manteia, meaning divination or prophecy. It is attached almost entirely to superstitious methods of divination, e.g. cartomancy (card reading); geomancy (reading of patterns of thrown rocks or sand); chiromancy (palmistry); and so forth. The exception is necromancy, which today largely does not mean divination by means of the dead, but rather any magickal practice purporting to deal with death or the dead.

If you need fancy Greek roots to play with, may I recommend logos (word, symbol), gnosis (knowledge), noos (mind), or the cluster of menthere (to care) / manthanein (to learn) / mathema (science) / mathematikos — ultimately related to ancient Proto-Indo-European roots meaning "awareness"? ¹

Do be aware that the Latin/Greek fusion "scientology" is already taken.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2011-06-22T07:16:41.928Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm reminded of the amusing sidebar in the RPG Unknown Armies, which uses the -mancy suffix for all of its magical schools.

Technically, the various schools of magick - Dipsomancy, Pornomancy, etc. - should actually be written out as Dipsomagy, Pornomagy, and so forth. The suffix "-mancy" refers to magickal divination, whereas "-magy" means more general forms of magick. Even more technically, a more etymologically correct suffic would be -"urgy", giving us Dipsourgy, Pornourgy, etc. Regardless, "-mancy" is what passed into common currency among the new wave of adepts, and the occult underground is stuck with it - the way normal folks are stuck with people who use "orientated" when they should use "oriented", or who use "literally" when they shouldn't use anything at all. Old-school occultists and scholars tend to make a point of using either "-magy" or "-urgy", which makes novice adepts look at them funny. Life goes on.

(And yes, Pornomancy is pretty much what it sounds like. For maximum weirdness, see also pages 14-15 of this preview PDF. Unknown Armies is awesome.)

comment by Douglas_Knight · 2011-06-22T15:11:14.175Z · score: 5 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm saddened by their use of "should," or maybe "technically."

Etymology is not meaning. In modern English, "mancy" means magic, Greek root be damned.

comment by atucker · 2011-06-22T06:10:26.172Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you need fancy Greek roots to play with, may I recommend logos (word, symbol), gnosis (knowledge), noos (mind), or the cluster of menthere (to care) / manthanein (to learn) / mathema (science) / mathematikos — ultimately related to ancient Proto-Indo-European roots meaning "awareness"?

Cool roots.

  • Monnike

  • Noomandros

Apparently, egeiro means awake in Greek, so:

  • Noogerio
comment by fubarobfusco · 2011-06-22T07:13:45.566Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am the king of noogies! I am Noogerio!

comment by CharlieSheen · 2011-06-23T13:25:10.256Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You've been reading Erfworld haven't you?

comment by DanielLC · 2011-06-22T06:05:07.505Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've seen Bayesjutsu. I don't know how you'd refer to a practitioner.

comment by Desrtopa · 2011-06-22T16:26:03.032Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bayesjutsuka.

comment by DanielLC · 2011-06-23T22:40:39.420Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

As of this post, I got five karma for referencing a name someone else thought of. Why do I get karma for that?

comment by DataPacRat · 2011-06-24T02:10:59.433Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm the one who wrote the article you linked to, and I don't mind you getting karma for the link (at least, as long as mine stays over 20). :)

comment by Unnamed · 2011-06-24T01:54:33.624Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because people like the name, and you introduced the name to this conversation. Why should the rest of us care whether you invented the name yourself or brought it in from somewhere else?

comment by Laoch · 2011-06-22T11:54:18.100Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bay-es-jutsu? Or Bayes-jutsu? The key is in the pronunciation methinks.

comment by DanielLC · 2011-06-22T18:28:18.077Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Bayes is one syllable, so I'd assume bayes-jutsu.

comment by Laoch · 2011-06-23T09:08:57.007Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

So it is.

comment by Armok_GoB · 2011-06-23T16:44:55.046Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't really think there is ANY word that wouldn't suck, but these are fun so I'll make some anyway.

Cognitor
Bayesian Disciple
Seer of Mind
Timeless (grammar: "He is not only a timeless, but a master of the timeless")
Decider
Rational (As in, saying "I am a Rational." instead of saying "I am a Ratioanlist")
Lwer (pronounced "Elver")
Wielder of the Light Arts
Enlightened
Postsane

One solution might be to use titles that have high correlation to what we mean by a rationalist but isn't exactly the same:

Bayesian
Timeless Decision Theorist
Keeper of Secrets Man Was Never Meant To Know
Inter-universal Broker
Welder of Basilisks
Co-saviour of The Future Lighcone
Correct Contrarian Cluster Cardholder

:p

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2011-06-28T09:22:55.243Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Probability Wizard!

comment by nazgulnarsil · 2011-06-22T08:24:35.689Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I like metamancy a lot in that the word conjures an image of thinking about general methods to divine the future (predictions yay!)

comment by magfrump · 2011-06-22T19:24:35.399Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have actually seen "metamancer" used for things like metamagic.

comment by ata · 2011-06-22T06:05:41.072Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought of "awesomeology" a while ago, and someone else in the NY group independently proposed the same, so it must have some appeal...

(Someone else mentioned that "scientology" would actually be a decent possibility if it weren't already taken.)

I'd like "cognician", if not for the fact that it would sound identical to "cognition" when spoken aloud.

The general problem with coming up with a really cool word for something is that other people might notice that it sounds cool and will try to steal its connotations for unrelated concepts.

comment by atucker · 2011-06-22T05:56:32.977Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fun!

I like a lot of the -mancers too (and apparently the letter n), like cognomancer, and optimancer (mostly because it's so close to optimizer). I think my favorite on your list is cognician.

To throw in some more...

(From the Greek "Nike" for Victory (or, winning):

  • nikosopher

  • nikomancer

  • nikologist

From Aletheia (Greek for Truth):

  • aletheisopher

  • alethologer

From Veritas (Latin for Truth):

  • veritician

  • veritosopher

  • veritimancer

  • veritologer

From ingenium:

  • ingenian

  • wingeneer

And others:

  • noomancer

  • noocian

  • neostoic

I also apparently like the letter n.

comment by jsalvatier · 2011-06-22T13:01:29.512Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You made me think of: win-gineer.

comment by zntneo · 2011-06-28T18:35:55.784Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I must say that given that i choose to have my last name be aletheia i so prefer the aletheia based ones :)

comment by wedrifid · 2011-06-22T17:56:39.319Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I prefer every one of those to 'rationalist'.

comment by katydee · 2011-06-23T04:32:00.800Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Cartographer." Or, better yet, nothing at all.

comment by knb · 2011-06-22T12:22:33.040Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

What about psychonomer? Scientiatrist?

comment by lemonfreshman · 2011-06-24T07:35:40.923Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

existential watchdog Bayesian Metaman Metamaximizer Super Rationalist Perfectioneer Supersatisficer intelligence guardian

comment by Zetetic · 2011-06-22T20:57:36.677Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Mentat Trainee ;)

comment by steven0461 · 2011-06-22T20:06:48.160Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

My suggestions are here.

comment by rhollerith_dot_com · 2011-06-22T06:38:03.487Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)
comment by Dorikka · 2011-06-22T11:56:27.991Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I can't read this. Is it blank?

comment by rhollerith_dot_com · 2011-06-22T15:53:47.782Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes. Apparently, one can no longer delete one's owns comments -- even if no one has replied to it -- but one can edit it down to nothing.

comment by [deleted] · 2012-01-14T21:16:55.842Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I guessed it was an allusion to the twelfth of Eliezer's Twelve Virtues of Rationality.

comment by DanielLC · 2011-06-22T18:36:13.703Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just edit it to say "This comment has been deleted."

comment by SilasBarta · 2011-06-22T19:03:13.210Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

... which brings us back to the way it was originally done, but with more effort.

comment by Armok_GoB · 2011-06-23T16:25:56.339Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

No, difference is you can still see WHO said somehting bad. The largest part of a secret is that a secret exists and so on.

comment by satt · 2011-06-22T05:36:53.834Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Like many others I don't care much for the word 'rationalist', since it comes with lots of preexisting negative connotations.

I kind of like that. A term that starts out with some negative connotations is less likely to be co-opted or overloaded.

comment by Yasuo · 2011-06-22T06:05:05.108Z · score: -13 (21 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

twat