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Aboutness

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March 29, 2014, 16:52
Caterwauller
Aboutness
Have any of you heard this word before? It is new to me, but apparently from my own profession, Librarianship. OED says:
quote:
The quality or fact of relating to or being about something; Philos. (of a mental state, symbol, representation, etc.) the property of being about something (existent or non-existent); cf. intentionality n. Additions b.

Your thoughts?


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
March 29, 2014, 17:13
Proofreader
I'd say it appears nonsensical and unnecessary on its face except for this.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
March 30, 2014, 16:02
Geoff
Welcome back, Cat! Are you somewhat settled in?

I've not heard of "aboutness." I remember "isness" from the yogi days of the sixties, though. I think that Irish guru, Krishnamurphy, started that one.
March 30, 2014, 20:12
Kalleh
Yes, Cat. It's great to see you here!

I've not heard of aboutness, but you are right that it seems to be a librarianship (another word I've not heard) word. I also found some articles on aboutness in psychology - also here and here. There's a little philosophy threaded in as well.
April 01, 2014, 06:10
zmježd
I had not heard about aboutness, but the linguists and philosophers of language mentioned in the Wikipedia article are not unknown in their fields. It seems a term that has been used for a while, and I am sure its users do not find it problematic. For information sciences, it is probably as useful as findability. I, for one, never begrudge a field its terminology and/or jargon.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
April 01, 2014, 16:58
goofy
Knowledge, so far as that is judgement and inference, is primarily and explicitly thinking ‘about’ an Other. And even though discursive thought may find its concentrated fulfilment in immediate or intuitive knowledge, its character of ‘Aboutness’ is not thereby eliminated.

- 1906 H. H. Joachim Nature of Truth iv. 174
April 02, 2014, 05:38
zmježd
‘Aboutness’

Come to think of it, there's a long tradition of turning a part of speech into other part of speech with some degree of abstractness thrown in for good measure: quiddity 'whatness' (< Latin quidditas < quid 'what'). haecceity 'thisness' (< Latin haecceitas < haec 'this', this and the previous both terms in scholastic philosophy), being there (< German Dasein, cf. French calque être-là, term in existential philosophy), suchness (? Sanskrit tathatā 'thusness, suchness', Buddhist term).

We can borrow words from another language or translate them literally (calque) or invent new words by the process of derivational morphology (or by imparting new meaning to old terms, cf. the many different meanings of file over the years from a string to packaging of electronic data).


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
April 02, 2014, 20:39
Kalleh
I always thought file made perfect sense because it's the electronic equivalent to a file cabinet for paper documents.
April 03, 2014, 06:14
zmježd
it's the electronic equivalent to a file cabinet for paper documents.

Yeah, but before it was that, it was the red, silk thread that held together the pages in what later became the file.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
April 03, 2014, 10:42
arnie
I was reading the newspaper review of a modern art exhibition a little while ago. An especially tactile thing he describes as having "thinginess". I could quite understand the quiddity.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
April 03, 2014, 20:20
Kalleh
I didn't know that thinginess was a word, but apparently it is.
April 04, 2014, 06:23
zmježd
thinginess

There's also truthiness.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
April 04, 2014, 08:46
BobHale
English is a very productive language. We can add the "iness" or the "ness" suffixes to just about anything. That's the beautiful wordcraftiness of it. Smile


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.

My current blog.
Photographs to accompany Anyone Can DO It available from www.lulu.com
My photoblog The World Through A lens
April 04, 2014, 10:33
arnie
Wordiness isn't such a good idea, though.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
April 04, 2014, 17:06
Geoff
quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
English is a very productive language. We can add the "iness" or the "ness" suffixes to just about anything. That's the beautiful wordcraftiness of it. Smile
So any Scottish lake has lochness? Roll Eyes
April 04, 2014, 21:55
BobHale
I was thinking about it and it seems to me that

Xness is the essence of being X

but

Xiness is the quality of being like X without actually being X.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.

My current blog.
Photographs to accompany Anyone Can DO It available from www.lulu.com
My photoblog The World Through A lens
April 05, 2014, 11:07
Caterwauller
So do you think there could be any use for a term of "aboutiness", like being about something but not actually about it.


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
April 05, 2014, 11:26
haberdasher
It seems a term that has been used for a while

FWIW - Neal Stephenson invokes "aboutness" toward the end of his cosmic novel Anathem - which I suspect means the concept has been around for millennia (as have many others in that book, surprisingly enough for a book of fiction)
April 05, 2014, 19:21
goofy
At least since 1906, as I wrote earlier.
April 06, 2014, 19:47
Kalleh
Well, Hab. How nice to see you posting up above! Wink

Cat, here is a Google books link using "tumble-aboutiness"