Archive for June 13th, 2013

June 13, 2013

Closure

gestalt closure

Closure or need for closure are psychological terms that describe the desire or need individuals have for information that will allow them to conclude an issue that had previously been clouded in ambiguity and uncertainty. Upon reaching this conclusion, they are now able to attain a state of ‘epistemic closure’.

The term ‘cognitive closure’ has been defined as ‘a desire for definite knowledge on some issue and the eschewal of confusion and ambiguity.’ Need for closure is a phrase used by psychologists to describe an individual’s desire for a firm solution as opposed to enduring ambiguity.

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June 13, 2013

Apophasis

Apophasis [uh-pof-uh-sis] (Latin: ‘to say no’) refers, in general, to ‘mention by not mentioning.’ Apophasis covers a wide variety of figures of speech.

The term was originally and more broadly a method of logical reasoning or argument by denial—a way of describing what something is by explaining what it is not, or a process-of-elimination way of talking about something by talking about what it is not. An example of this is the Wikipedia article: ‘What Wikipedia is not.’

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June 13, 2013

Scare Quotes

Scare quotes are quotation marks placed around a word or phrase to imply that it may not signify its apparent meaning or that it is not necessarily the way the quoting person would express its concept.

Use of the term appears to have arisen at some point during the first half of the 20th century. In books it appears as early as 1946 in ‘Southern California: An Island on the Land’ by Carey McWilliams and in the 1950s in academic literature.

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