As my followers on Twitter will know, I occasionally make up humorous definitions, especially of terms relating to philosophy and academia, and I’ve gathered them here in the hope they may provide some amusement for readers.
Academia and philosophy
academia (n.) Occupational therapy for people with people with OCD (q.v.).
argumentation (n.) The process of finding and presenting reasons for things one wants to believe.
blind (as in ‘blind refereeing’) (adj.) Identified through Google.
colleague (n.) A rival. See also peer.
conclusion (n.) The starting point for a process of argumentation (q.v.).
CV (n.) A list of things the list-maker has done primarily in order to be able to include them on the list.
enthymeme (n.) A harmless omission in one’s own reasoning. Contrast fallacy.
external examiner (n.) A friend who has lunch with you at work once a year.
fallacy (n.) A fatal flaw in an opponent’s reasoning. Contrast enthymeme.
impact (n.) (of a piece of research) Impressiveness to people who don’t understand it.
journal (n.) A business providing vanity publishing for academics.
monograph (n.) A book purchased only by libraries.
OCD (n.) (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) An obsession with detail and the repetitive performance of meaningless tasks. See also academia.
output (n.) The end product of scholarly digestion.
peer (n.) A rival.
peer review (n.) A lottery in which randomly chosen academics approve or reject the work of their peers (q.v.) without reading it.
PhD (n.) A certificate issued to persons with OCD (q.v.) confirming that they are unfit for work.
philosopher (n.) An expert in everything and nothing.
philosophical method (n.) Intuition, rhetoric, and special pleading masquerading as analysis, clarity, and rational argument.
philosophy (n.) The science of misguided questions.
proposal (n.) Reckless speculation about one could achieve if one had more time, money, and willpower.
reasoning (n.) The process of convincing oneself that one is right.
research (n.) Scholarly work done in order to maintain access to funding for research (q.v.).
review (n.) A short self-promotional piece in the form of an assessment of someone else’s work.
synergy (n.) A miraculous collective epiphany frequently anticipated in a proposal (q.v.).
university (n.) A place where young adults go to avoid learning something.
The real world
evolution (n.) The takeover of the world by mutants.
expat (n.) An immigrant who hates immigrants.
freedom (n.) The absence of all restraints except those necessary for the protection of freedom (q.v.).
hypocrisy (n.) A moral double standard adopted by other people.
pension (n.) The means to enjoy life, usually obtained only when the ability to enjoy life is rapidly waning.
politician (n.) One who promotes the interests of a small group while feigning to promote those of a large group.
public relations (n.) The art of preventing the truth from getting out.
republican (n.) (UK) a right-thinking person; (US) a wrong-thinking person.
SATs (n.pl.) Tests given to children to ensure that their teachers have learned their lessons.
school (n.) A place where children are kept until they are old enough to learn something.
success (n.) The deferral of failure.
teacher (n.) (1) A person who inspires children with a love of learning and life. (2) A person employed in a school (q.v.).
therapist (n.) A person who addresses their own psychological problems by talking to other people about theirs.
The Moral Dunning–Kruger effect A cognitive bias in which nasty people overestimate their own virtue.
The Meta Dunning–Kruger effect The assumption that, since one has heard of the Dunning–Kruger effect, one does not exhibit it.
dumbing up (n.) The process of replacing crude but sane views with ones that are sophisticated but crazy.
give a tweet (v.) To care enough to write up to 280 characters in reply.
schadenfreudianism (n.) A form of psychotherapy which involves listing the personal and professional failures of the patient’s school friends.
terrination (n.) A sense of creeping dread experienced in a seemingly tranquil domestic setting.