The -logy and -nomy Suffixes

I had mentioned before about how philosophy and mathematics used to be equivalent before math diverged by making solid, technical assumptions, and proving what followed.  Similarly is the case with regards to astrology and astronomy.  Both began by looking for correlation between the stars and X, where X was pretty much any Earthly phenomenon.  Then astronomy used counterexamples to the anthropic principle to establish more consistent theories, and astrology was properly buried.  Then for some reason in the 20th century horoscopes reincarnated astrology.1  While technically the position of the stars infinitesimally changes the net gravitational force on a human, the fact that cognitive activity is based on electric potentials that globally dominate any infinitesimal net gravitational change on the body renders their study on personality irrelevant.

This being the case, the suffix -logy on astrology seems insulting to the scientific community.  The suffix -log means “to speak”.2    Coupled with -y, it takes the meaning of “speaker” which appears to conventionally translate to “generic speaker”, or, “department/field”.  Xlogy thus becomes “study/department of X”.  In this case, X being astro–deriving from “stars”.  At the same time, -nomy derives from “law”.  How should we distinguish the two suffixes?  We could say Xlogy is the general inquiry into X, which builds upon the object Xnomy.  Xnomics could then be reserved for when Xlogy leads to multiple instances of an Xnomy.  Hence we should have the following conventional-to-literal semantic assignments:

Astrology \mapsto\varnothing

Astronomy (inquiry component) \mapsto Astrology

Astronomy (law component) \mapsto Astronomy.

What would academic departments call themselves then?  We could pick the Xlogy form.  In this case “economics” would be called “ecology”?  The prefix eco- derives from the study of environments of living organisms.  In this sense, conventional “economics” is far more abstract than it semantically pretends to be.  I would consider something along the lines of

Economics \mapsto Elogy

where E derives from something like “token”.  Although trade itself may prove to be more fundamental and inherently connected to physics (think conservation of energy).  We could then have

Physics \mapsto Cosmology,

which one could plausibly argue.  I’m not sure to what we could assign mathematics.  It may not even matter since math, physics, and economics may share a fundamental equivalence (all could be construed as structures of symbols=0 volume energy regions=tokens).

[1]  Campion, Nicholas, 2009. A History of Western Astrology, Vol. 2, The Medieval and Modern Worlds. London: Continuum. (via “Astrology” on Wikipedia).

[2]  http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=-logy

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: