Word of The Day for Friday, April 1, 2011


no•et•ic (noh-ET-ik)  adj

of or relating to the mind, esp to its rational and intellectual faculties
1653; from Gk. noetikos, from noesis, from noein “to have mental perception,” from noos “mind, thought”

Related Words: paranoia

Sentence Examples:
• By these words he suggests symbolically the incorporeal Idea. The phrase, 'before it was upon the earth,' marks the original perfection of every plant and herb. The eternal types were first created in the noetic world, and the physical objects on earth, perceptible by the senses, were made in their likeness. -Philo-Judaeus of Alexandria, Norman Bentwich

• It is true, indeed, that the transition brought about by Kant's noetical and ethical revolution was of great significance,--more significant even than the Socratic period, with which we are fond of comparing it; much that was new was woven on, much of the old, weakened, broken, destroyed. -Modern Philosophy, Richard Falckenberg

• In his first section, Viazovski notes that Calvin defines faith as assurance and identifies faith as a kind of knowledge. Assurance can be lacking when one doubts God’s veracity and when one misunderstands God’s mercy. While Viazovski categorizes the problem as primarily noetic, its solution is pneumatological. -Karl Barth’s Doubts about John Calvin’s Assurance

Why This Word:
Noetic holds additional meanings in the worlds of theory. In the realm of noetic science:

As defined by the philosopher William James in 1902, noetic refers to "states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority..."
In other words, there are several ways we can know the world around us. Science focuses on external observation and is grounded in objective evaluation, measurement, and experimentation. This is useful in increasing objectivity and reducing bias and inaccuracy as we interpret what we observe.
But another way of knowing is subjective -- or internal -- including gut feelings, intuition, hunches -- the way you know you love your children, for example, or experiences you have that cannot be explained or proven, but feel absolutely real nonetheless. This way of knowing is what we call noetic.

Note how noetic here switches from being primarily about reason and becomes primarily in reference to intuition.

And again similarly in the realm of noetic theory:
Noetic theory or noëtics ... is an alternative metaphysical "philosophy" concerned with the study of mind and intuition, and its relationship with a proposed divine intellect. Among its principal purposes are the study of the effects of perceptions, beliefs, and intentions on human consciousness.
The theory of noetics centers around the idea that the human mind is capable of affecting work or events or even doing work in the physical world. It is suggested that thought and spirit are not, in fact, imaginary, but are Bose or photon based, meaning essentially that the mind can be quantified by formulae which describe quantum materials such as light. This is a radical conclusion, as many people consider thoughts to be weightless. Noetic theory claims that just as gravity affects all matter, thoughts do as well, although to a lesser degree.

Sources: Free Dictionary, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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