Misty Vision and the Fall Splitting of a Nindefinite Article


I got curious about “nickname” and figured it was going to be a simple, boring answer related either to the status of “Nick” as itself a name and indeed a nickname, or at best to “nick” as a thing you can do with a knife, so, “cut the long name to a nickname” or whatever, but PEOPLE: this is rad.


This shit is Middle English! Misunderstood Middle English. What 1934 Webster’s Int’l doesn’t name here is the phenomenon that gives rise to such misunderstandings: a version of rebracketing called (lots of things including) false splitting or misdivision. False splitting often happens around indefinite articles, and can result in either new word-initial [n] as above and as in “newt” (an ewte–> a newte–>let’s lose that “e,” who has time?) or in the loss of word-initial [n], as in “uncle” (my nuncle–> mine uncle) or “apron” (a napron–>an apron). This is also why the word for “orange” in so many other language starts with “n”; it started as Sanskit naranga and other languages held onto that n…English added a nindefinite article and here we are.

Some mother examples unrelated to articles: Stark-raving -> Star-craving, Pains(-)taking -> Pain-staking (I just realized last month that I had been thinking of this in the misty-vision way!), Prima donna -> Pre-Madonna.*

Ok, so part (soap art!) of the fun of starting in a foot-tall old dictionary (old icktionary, gross!) instead of on the internet when I want to figure things out is that I never open to the right page right away, and I stumble (ice tumble!) on random crap that blows my mind. Like:


The guide-word got me, and it was right there at the top, so I looked, and I about fell on the floor. WHAT ARE THE LAWS OF THE MIND?

The internet isn’t a ton of help, but I think the following four pieces give a picture:

nomology (plural nomologies)

  1. The study of laws
  2. The study of general physical and logical laws
  3. The science of the laws of the mind; rational psychology.

Rational psychology: Metaphysical discipline that attempted to determine the nature of the human soul by a priori reasoning. In Christian Wolff’s division of metaphysics, rational psychology was one of three disciplines included under the heading of “special metaphysics” (the others being rational cosmology and rational theology). Immanuel Kant, in his Critique of Pure Reason, criticized the pretensions of rational psychology.

nomological: adj. 
1Relating to or denoting certain principles, such as laws of nature, that are neither logically necessary nor theoretically explicable, but are simply taken as true.

Sample use in “The Journal of Philosophy” Volume CXI, No. 4, April 2014. “it’s often thought of as closely linked to the rise of externalist theories of knowledge–theories that de-emphasize the role of the knower’s reasons for justification for her beliefs (at least when reasons and justification are understood along traditional lines) , and stress the importance of causal and/or nomological connections between the knower and the fact known.”. P 169 (full text)

Ok! So it’s a concept used in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, and Kant was not having it. That’s all I need to know (“know” in the most synthetic, a posteriori, non-necessary sense)!



Prima Donna - Sadler's Wells - Rufus Wainwright - 10 April 2010 Regine Saint Laurent - Janis Kelly Marie - Rebecca Bottone Andre Letourneur - Colin Ainsworth Philippe - Jonathan Summers Francois - Jamie Griffith-Jones Sohpie - Siobhan McMillan Director
Prima Donna
Prima Madonna

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