31 May 2018

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Question about English (UK)


noun [an-oh-ee-sis]
1. a state of mind consisting of pure sensation or emotion without cognitive content.
Normally, on my long-distance walks, anoesis descends within a few miles: the mental tape loop of infuriating resentments, or inane pop lyrics, or nonce phrases gives way to the greeny-beige noise of the outdoors.
-- Will Self, Psychogeography, 2007
Anoesis is an uncommon noun, used mostly in psychology for a state of consciousness in which there is only sensation but no thought. The word is purely and obviously Greek: the first letter, a-, is called “alpha privative” (i.e., it expresses negation or deprivation) and is familiar in such words as atheist or agnostic. The alpha privative is related to Latin in-, as in insensible or indefensible, and to Germanic un-, as in English unhealthy or unusual. The main element is the Greek noun nóēsis “thought, intelligence” (and the opposite of aísthēsis “sense perception, sensation,” from which we have the word aesthetic). Nóēsis ultimately derives from the Greek noun nóos (noûs) “mind, wit.” Nous, rhyming with house, is a colloquialism in British English meaning “good sense, common sense, gumption.” Anoesis entered English in the early 20th century.

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