"Transcendent" is Not a Word I'm Comfortable With

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"Transcendent" is Not a Word I'm Comfortable With

#1  Postby MattHunX » Jun 04, 2010 4:46 pm

"Transcendent" is Not a Word I'm Comfortable With

And the simple reason is that it unavoidably and unshakably has religious connotations, at least for me. I've just watched a debate between Hitchens and McGrath (11 Parts - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFgIK4bCwOs). McGrath was very insistent, naturally, on postulating the existence of something transcendental, that is beyond our understanding and perhaps can be identified as the very thing by which the universe came into existence.

People often talk about something above and beyond a certain feeling or phenomena they don't really know how to express, for example, a team-spirit or something that encompasses a whole group and the actions of individuals might bring shame or honor on that group as a whole, something affecting people's union, something that is above the physical. And just by these definitions, I am much more comfortable with using a simpler word "abstract", that is by definition synonymous with "transcendent(al)". I can only assume that for some people it would be a much more comfortable word to use, to give a name to what they otherwise couldn't express, or what we don't yet know, and strive to know, like scientific answer.

This is just something I was thinking about after seeing the debate.


And while on the topic of words, I am watching this right now http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfklEIkQfJk, where there is some mention of George Bush and his speeches and some book of his? with the word "entrepreneur" and it's relation to the French and "why they don't have a word for it?" :lol: Perhaps I have misunderstood that one... :ask:
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Re: "Transcendent" is Not a Word I'm Comfortable With

#2  Postby Kazaman » Aug 21, 2010 8:28 pm

I don't mind it; it's normally obvious whether someone implies supernatural forces in using it.

As for entrepeneur, it comes from the French verb entreprendre which translates to the English verb to undertake. The French vocabulary also has entrepeneur/entrepeneuse.
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Re: "Transcendent" is Not a Word I'm Comfortable With

#3  Postby MattHunX » Aug 21, 2010 8:40 pm

Kazaman wrote:I don't mind it; it's normally obvious whether someone implies supernatural forces in using it.

As for entrepeneur, it comes from the French verb entreprendre which translates to the English verb to undertake. The French vocabulary also has entrepeneur/entrepeneuse.


Yes, I know it's a French word. I just thought that I misunderstood the part where they said that Bush himself have written a book with the title mentioned.
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Re: "Transcendent" is Not a Word I'm Comfortable With

#4  Postby Kazaman » Aug 21, 2010 8:42 pm

Ah I see now. :lol: I should've skimmed your post twice ... or simply read it.
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Re: "Transcendent" is Not a Word I'm Comfortable With

#5  Postby Zwaarddijk » Sep 21, 2010 1:12 pm

MattHunX wrote:

People often talk about something above and beyond a certain feeling or phenomena they don't really know how to express, for example, a team-spirit or something that encompasses a whole group and the actions of individuals might bring shame or honor on that group as a whole, something affecting people's union, something that is above the physical. And just by these definitions, I am much more comfortable with using a simpler word "abstract", that is by definition synonymous with "transcendent(al)". I can only assume that for some people it would be a much more comfortable word to use, to give a name to what they otherwise couldn't express, or what we don't yet know, and strive to know, like scientific answer.

abstract and transcendent(al) are quite distinct words though, and I don't think most people that use transcendent when talking about gods or whatnot mean 'abstract' by it - such a substitution would misrepresent what they mean, even though what they mean generally is nonsensical! They generally have a surprisingly concrete idea of how and what God is, altho' they may leave some of it unspecified. Just because a word marks something we think is nonsensical doesn't mean it's a useless word, though - and there are specialist uses of transcendental that are rigidly defined, e.g. the transcendental numbers in maths (for which the adjective 'abstract' wouldn't work quite as well).
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