Crowd Favorites of the Intellectual (or just philosopher?)

May this enhance your discourse, written, verbal, read…etc.


  1. concomitant—naturally accompanying or associated (concomitant implications)
  2. incisive—intelligently analytical and clear-thinking
  3. vacuousvacuous truth is a statement that asserts that all members of the empty set have a certain property. For example, the statement “all cell phones in the room are turned off” will be true whenever there are no cell phones in the room
  4. polysemous—having multiple meanings
  5. univocal—


  1. interrogate—pose a series of questions to (interrogates the issue)
  2. criticize—form and express a sophisticated judgment of (Marx criticizes the Young Hegelians)
  3. scrutinize—examine or inspect closely and thoroughly (Marx scrutinizes Hegel)
  4. proliferate—increase/advance, spread rapidly and often excessively
  5. supervene—(of a fact or property) be entailed by or consequent on the existence or establishment of another. (“the view that mental events supervene upon physical ones”)
  6. stipulate—


  1. indigence—a state of extreme poverty
  2. architecture—conceptual framework/boundaries & limitations (within the architecture of x idea)
  3. counterfactuals—
  4. mechanisms—
  5. lacuna—


  1. namely—that is to say

These are some words (that I think are) worth knowing, inspired by: 1) me not knowing stuff, and 2) my sister in a doctoral program. (Updates? Frenetic.)

some need to be more convinced of this than others, but I think that:

Words are resources. They’re tools we depend upon in order to do what we do. Throughout my still very early academic career, some have tended to appear more frequently than others. Here’s one of my efforts to make the unfamiliar a little less daunting. Hopefully it may be of some use to whoever stumbles upon this, however they got here.

For each one, I’m mostly just using the results of a quick Google search. (That’s usually all it takes to get a sufficient working definition, for my purposes anyway!)

But a disclaimer with this in mind, O Imaginary Audience, I would be surprised if there were zero controversy in accepting these understandings as universally applicable in all contexts.

In my ideal world, we’d all leverage our subjective experiences to curate lists of our own in order to better understand each other. This list includes ones that I hope I think are helpful in writing, useful in discourse, and ones that are often used in passing in such a way that complicates working out their context on the spot.


So just for my own fun: A duplicate of this list adding some of my own thoughts, wherever applicable.

Red—(I suspect) this may be a word that is used within philosophy more commonly/with a specific (set of) meaning(s), which means each use entails its own baggage and controversy.
(For those unaware: Philosophers squabble over intended meanings to the general confusion of their contemporaries, their readers, themselves and generally every involved party: real or imagined, actual or possible.) The most futile drinking game¹ inspired by the red ones: Take a shot every time you hear someone use these red ones unpretentiously.

1: or is it more of a thought experiment than a drinking game? Are the settings you’d hear these also places where it’s socially permissible for you consume alcohol?

1) concomitant—one of my favorite words in spanish is “conllevar” which, I think, does the same thing
2) incisive—a virtue. A trait I aspire to wield (and, much like being concise, will probably never achieve)
3) vacuous
4) polysemous—damn near everything is polysemous in a post-modern world
5) univocal

1) interrogate—usually you only hear this one in an interpersonal “suspect/legal authority” sense, but I think it’s particularly effective when applied to ideas.
2 & 3) criticize/scrutinize—instead of critiques, I seem to prefer criticizes (for some arbitrary reason, because both are effective)
4) proliferate—can’t help but think Cold War Era “nuclear arms race” whenever I hear this one
5) supervene—I still don’t have a solid handle on this one and it’s unlikely I ever will
6) stipulate—

1) indigence
2) architecture—I think it’s an especially good look to use this one in the “conceptual framework” sense


1) namely—once I became aware of this one, I started seeing it e v e r y w h e r e. I suspect it has equivalents or superior counterparts in other languages