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Sunday: April 8, 2007

Plurisapience?

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:13 PM UTC

Colby Cosh wants to be able to express ‘the wisdom of crowds’ in a single word, or rather two words, a noun and an adjective. He proposes ‘plurisapience’ and ‘plurisapient’. Not bad, but that would also mean ‘the wisdom of more than one person’, which is not the same thing. For example, it would include novelists and professors who become so famous that they dispense with editors and publish ever longer and worse works. The usefulness of (competent) editors is an example of ‘the wisdom of more than one; the value of a second opinion’, but doesn’t seem to have much to do with ‘the wisdom of crowds’.

Why not go straight to the Greek and Roman words for ‘crowd, mob’? They are pejorative, but that’s no objection. I’ve never read The Wisdom of Crowds, but I gather that it argues that crowds of non-experts can in some cases combine to outthink even the cleverest of experts. Anyway, ‘the wisdom of the mob’ would be ‘vulgisapience’ (adjective ‘vulgisapient’) if derived from Latin, ‘ochlosophy’ (adjective ‘ochlosophic’) if derived from Greek.

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