I Think This Should Be A Word: Ignoranthropite

I like this word ignoranthropite, which appears to mean something like “a person who dwells in ignorance”. Of course, that’s pretty much all of us, and I don’t really see it as a synonym for being human, so what else might it mean?

As a rule I’m opposed to gratuitous ignorance-shaming. I strive to accept the fact that we are each of us more ignorant than knowledgeable, and I really think that of all the nasty ways to luck-shame someone, I think one of the nastiest is to shame someone for having failed to learn something yet. Examples of this sort of interpersonal cruelty abound:

  • You should know how to manage your own finances!
  • What? You mean you can’t even cook a souffle?
  • Don’t you know better than to give your credit card number to someone who just calls you up and asks for it?
  • You idiot!
  • You moron!
  • You dolt!
  • You’ve never read The Great Gatsby! Did you even finish high school?
  • Holy cow! When are you going to learn to drive?
  • This is America, dammit — speak Navaho!

So I wouldn’t want this neologism to become a term of insult or disparagement, which suggests it should refer to some sort of temporary status. It is simply a word meant to convey a particular way of being human under particular sorts of circumstances. More specifically, it should probably describe a particular way of being ignorant, until such ignorance has been replaced with a particular kind of  knowledge.

Perhaps this:

An ignoranthropite is a person who dwells for the time being in the specific and hopefully temporary ignorance of his or her own more general and utterly Human state of Ignorance.

In this sense, it appears to have an antonymous relationship to some kind of enlightenment. To the extent that enlightenment is an awareness of one’s own ignorance, then an ignoranthropite is one who has yet to achieve that type of enlightenment.

What do you think?

 

 

 

A Disgusting, Horrifying Thought-Experiment for Ethics Students and Chainsaw Aficionados

Trigger Warning

The following is a disgusting, horrifying thought experiment with great potential value for the advancement of ethical philosophy, in my opinion (at least for now, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that could change my mind) that far outweighs the discomfort of the fear and nausea it may well induce. Be that as it may, read the following at your own risk.

Seriously, This Is About Gang-Rape.

Look, this is about gang-rape. The scary clown picture above and the reference in the title to chainsaw owners was merely meant to be suggestive. Still, gang-rape is nasty business. If you continue reading beyond this point, please don’t say I didn’t warn you. This will get gross.

Still with me? OK, here goes:

A Kinder, Gentler Gang-Rape

The basic idea here is that gang-rape needn’t be violent. It might indeed be gentle — very, very gentle. As a thought-experiment, suppose a high school football team ODs on testosterone, loses its collective mind, and decides to teach a little lesson in “manliness” to the only male cheerleader on the cheer leading squad. Suppose they get all chummy with him after Friday night’s game, invite him to join them for a just-the-guys party out by the lake, get him drunk till he passes out and then take turns raping him in the anus, one by one.

Only suppose they do it very, very gently and politely, so as not to cause any injury, or to give the guy any diseases, and of course because he’s a guy, pregnancy is impossible. Maybe they all wear sterile, heavily lubricated gloves — the non-latex kind in case the guy is allergic (hey, these rapists have manners) — and suppose they each use only a well-lubricated pinky finger, inserted ever so smoothly and gently into the guy’s anus, over and over, one after the other, till everybody’s had the opportunity to get his hands dirty (so to speak), all of them grinning and snickering the whole time because, well, boys will be boys and all that.

Also, suppose they make a video of the whole thing, and after they have carefully cleaned up the cheerleader, and he wakens, they show him the video so that he knows that he just got gang-raped by an entire football team, and then they delete the video, so that there is no publicly verifiable physical evidence that any of it happened.

Now, of course it goes without asking, but for the sake of completion I’m going to ask it any way: even though such a gang-rape is physically harmless, is there any doubt in your mind that it wasn’t really a gang-rape?

I’ll assume you are human and that you gave the correct answer, which is “no, I have no doubt whatsoever, gentle or not, such an event is every bit as much a gang-rape as it would be if they put him in the hospital, gave him HIV, and somehow managed to get him pregnant with baby ducks.”

Rape is Rape, Gentle or Not

The point I’m trying to establish here is that gang-rape is still gang-rape, even if it causes no physical injury, disease, or pregnancy. And of course, the same goes for any kind of rape. Rape is rape, gentle or not.

I Think This Should Be A Word: Infosphere

Actually, the word infosphere already is a word, at least according to the Wikipedia, but here I wish to clarify what I will mean when I use the term, unless otherwise specified.

In my opinion, we need a single word that means, roughly, informational environment (context, situation, habitat, milieu, etc.) and I think infosphere is an excellent candidate for that job. To elaborate:

One’s infosphere is simply the sum of all of the information to which one has access in any given period of time.

This includes, of course, but is not limited to textual information, or even information conveyed by pictures, per se, or even that conveyed by speech. As I will be using this term, one’s infosphere is really all of the information to which one has access in some given period of time — literally any and every sort of data that can be detected by the senses and evaluated by one’s brain, and this includes even that brain’s own memories.

Now, to my view, this really seems synonymous with one of the meanings given by the Wikipedia:

“The term has also been used by Luciano Floridi, on the basis of biosphere, to denote the whole informational environment constituted by all informational entities (thus including informational agents as well), their properties, interactions, processes and mutual relations.[1] It is an environment comparable to, but different from cyberspace (which is only one of its sub-regions, as it were), since it also includes off-line and analogue spaces of information.”

And really the only reason I don’t feel comfortable about endorsing that particular wording is because the Wikipedia then goes on to explain that,

“According to Floridi, it is possible to equate the Infosphere to the totality of Being. This equation leads him to an informational ontology.”

And I am not at all clear on what that’s supposed to mean, and until I have a chance to read Floridi’s explanation I think it best to assume for now that the two definitions are somehow (and quite inscrutably) distinct, and especially to emphasize that I will be using my own definition of the word, at least until I have come to understand Floridi’s well enough to be sure they are the same.


[1] The Wikipedia cites this as a reference: Luciano Floridi (1999), Philosophy and Computing: An introduction