Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Philosophical Units of Measurement

As the physical sciences have their various units of weight and measurement with which they carry out their inquiries, so philosophy and theology ought to have such units by which we might measure the depth of thought in a given work. My thanks to Rodrigo Berrios, Alexander Ferrant, Michael Onofre, and the other person who was standing there whose face now escapes me, for contributing to this system.

Hegelgraph: A unit for measuring the density of writing. The writing of the 19th-century philosopher G.W.F. Hegel is known for its impenetrability; one could easily pour over a page of Hegel for a day (or a lifetime) and still be confused. The conversion rate of normal, everyday writing to the writing of Hegel is approximately ten pages of regular writing for every paragraph of Hegel's writing, or one Hegelgraph. Example: "How long is your reading assignment for class?" "About 20 pages, but that's only like 2 Hegelgraphs."

Hume-idity: This unit is named for the 18th-century philosopher David Hume, who once wrote: 
“When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.” So, Hume-idity refers to the level to which a piece of writing is confident in itself in inverse proportion to the degree to which that piece of writing reflects something to true--in other words, when someone is really sure but really wrong, that person is exhibiting Hume-idity. Example: "Check out this post by the atheist who thinks he's disproved God with the old 'If everything needs a creator, who created God?' line. Man, the Hume-idity is through the roof!"
Thomogram: A unit for measuring the weight or gravity of writing. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote beautifully and concisely on the highest of matters: the existence of God, the nature of virtue, and so forth. One article in the Summa contains more intellectual weight than most authors can put into several books, or dozens of blog posts, or thousands of blog post comments. Thus, it would take about 3,000 comments to equal one Thomogram. Example: "This guy's been running his blog for ten years, and I think he's got about half a Thomogram to show for it."

Folks: help me think of more!

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