Though language can be illogical and irrational, this question presupposes against randomness
(ie: the following also applies to terminology in philosophy):

Source: p 381, An Introduction to Language (10 ed, 2014) by Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman, Nina Hyams

As we have shown. linguistic changes do not happen suddenly. Speakers of English did not wake up one morning and decide to use the word beef for “ox meat," nor do all the children of one particular generation grow up to adopt a new word. Changes are more gradual, particularly changes in the phonological and syntactic system.

Conscious of the Etymological Fallacy, how can you self-learn and research possible etymologies behind terminology in philosophy (ie: reasons and histories that motivated the choice thereof)? It seems too inefficient to question every term here anew here on Philosophy SE. Etymonline and OED may list the philosophical definition for a common noun with other nonspecialist meanings, but do not reveal the semantic changes that generated the particular philosophy definition.

This question exemplifies the aforesaid terms.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.