Catching up with old issues of London Review of Books.
In the 25 March edition, the philosopher Galen Strawson reviewed a new
book by Rebecca Goldstein. In the course of the review, Strawson manages
to insert the words vatic, lemniscate, prosopagnosic, exophthalmic and
enthymeme. The review is titled ‘syzygy’ so I begin to think he is
engaged in a private joke, like the 1998 England World Cup Squad who
agreed with each other infiltrate song titles into their press
interviews. (Gareth Southgate famously responded to Bob Wilson’s
question about the England camp with the words ‘Well, it’s hardly Club
I knew syzygy and enthymeme, and exophthalmic is his sort-of witty way of saying ‘eye-popping’. But for the record:
Conjunction and opposition of two heavenly bodies, or either of the
points at which these take place, esp. in the case of the moon with the
sun (new and full moon).
Vatic (adj.) Of or pertaining to, characteristic of, a prophet or seer; prophetic, inspired.
Lemniscate (adj.) [Geom.] The designation of certain closed curves, having a general resemblance to the figure 8.
Prosopagnosic (adj.) from Prosopagnosia A neurological abnormality characterized by the inability to recognize faces.
Enthymeme (n.) [Logic] An imperfect syllogism, often one with a suppressed premiss.