Help Me Coin New Philosophy Term

The positive thing people try to do, that I disagree with, is make decisions/evaluations/judgments by 1) combining factors 2) by weighing/scoring 3) from different dimensions.

I need a name for this thing. Calling it the “standard view” or “the scoring-based epistemology” isn’t going to work when I need to talk about it over and over and over.

Popper debated with “justificationism” and “induction”. Those names work fine and are way better than having no name.

“justify” and “induce” are both terms used by the people Popper was debating. The names are fair and descriptive. They’re also one word long.

Multi-word names are problematic. E.g. I could name it “score system epistemology” and then call the people who do it “score system epistemologists”. That’s too long/wordy, and relying on the change in word ending on the third word sucks. People won’t always even read every letter when they think they recognize the term.

Multi-word names tend to be made by proponents. People with something in common name themselves. It’s hard to call people “the cult of the sun god” and make it stick if they don’t use the term or self-identify that way.

Multi-word names tend to sound like something the proponents actually use. If someone hears a multi-word name that he’s never used before, he’ll generally think it doesn’t apply to him. It sounds like something that you have to opt into. Like if I’d never heard of “Critical Rationalism” I wouldn’t expect that to be the name of my position. But if someone said I’m a rationalist, and I’d never heard that term but had heard of reason, I’d recognize i might be one.

I have a bunch of bad candidate names which focus on some of the key aspects. There’s more than one key aspect which is part of what makes this hard. But if I had to pick one aspect to focus on, i’d say weighing or scoring. Rather than combining, factors, or different dimensions.

So candidate names are e.g.:

Partialism. Weighingism. Dimensionalism. Conversionism. Degreeism. Analogism. Scorism. Scoringism. Pointsism. Continuumism. Spectrumism. Compromising.

My current best name is weighism. Then I can talk about weighists. At least it’s not taken.

Please help cuz I don’t think weighism is very good.

It doesn’t have to be an “ism” necessarily but I don’t know how else to do it. I want to be able to easily refer to 1) the school of thought 2) people who agree with it.

I think getting it down to one clear sentence is good but I can’t repeat that everywhere and be like “so the approach of judging by combining weighted factors from different dimensions is bad because…”

Please share your brainstorming/suggestions, including bad or dumb suggestions.

Maybe I could call the approach “weighing factors” (that fits the most important concepts into two words. different dimensions is kinda implied. what you’re weighing factors for – to judge/decide something – is also kinda implied) and call its advocates “factor weighers”. And this could be shortened to “weighing” and “weighers” sometimes, and can be clarified sometimes in ways like “epistemic weighing”.

This is short enough and isn’t an “ism” which makes it sound more natural in some ways, though makes it sound less like a school of thought.

I can write “The thing I disagree with is weighing factors” and it works OK. So that’s good. And sentences like “Weighing factors is flawed because…” will work or “Factor weighers are wrong that…” (that wording is a bit more awkward but not that bad. seems less awkward than e.g. “Weighists are wrong that…” which sounds a bit contrived.)

1 Like

“Weigh” is defined as “assess the nature or importance of, especially with a view to a decision or action” (New Oxford dict). So it already non-metaphorically means what I mean. I’m guessing it came from a metaphor re weighing how heavy objects are with scales. i’ll look it up.

The original sense was of motion, which led to that of lifting, then to that of “measure the weight of.” The older sense of “lift, carry” survives in the nautical phrase weigh anchor. Figurative sense of “to consider, ponder” (in reference to words, etc.) is recorded from mid-14c. To weigh in in the literal sense is from 1868, originally of jockeys; figurative meaning “bring one’s influence to bear” is from 1909.

The thing I’m trying to argue with is old. I suspect it predates the association of weighing (heaviness with scales) to thinking/evaluating. But part of it is more modern. Some people (e.g. Bayesians) made it more mathematical and connected it with statistics. But I think they were mainly trying to systematize existing thinking, not create something new.

I think the main bad thing about “weighing factors” is it’s not recognizable as a philosophy name like how “justificationism” is. Still seems better than “weighism” or “weighingism” I think. What do you think?

also the plural on “factors” is kinda important. a big part of the issue is trying to weigh multiple factors and combine those factors into one overall evaluations (like consumer reports giving an overall score to a product). but it’s weighing that’s the main issue, which implies amounts of weight/goodness/value/criticism/something instead of binary decisive arguments.

I could use both “weighing factors” (most of the time) and “weighism” (occasionally, to give it a name).

If I use both, is “weighism” or “weighingism” better?

Fwiw, two paragraphs into your first post in this thread, I had settled on “weighism” or “weightism” as my own candidates

“Weighingism” seems super unwieldy to me

Oh scorism is decent also

Still reading

Yes but it’s kinda more accurate/descriptive. It’s “justificationism” not “justifyism” or “justifism”, even though “justificationism” is more unwieldly. One of the differences is using a noun base word (hence an “tion” or “ing” ending) rather than a verb.

Re “weightism” I think it’s worse because it focuses on a lesser issue. Weighing is the key issue, while weighting factors (assigning them multipliers like 5x for comfort and 3x for safety) is a sub-issue about how you combine them.

I think scoring sounds more mathematical to people. Less generic. More people will think they “weigh the issues” than will think they actually use a score system (with numbers).

And the dictionary definition of “weigh” fits my meaning better than the definition of “score”.

Factorism/factorists?

Oh ya I wrote factorism but forgot to include in my post. But I think it gets at the key issue less and people will have a harder time knowing what it means if they just see the term.

Another one I forgot to include was indecisivism. You could come up with others like that such as hesitationism, inconclusivism, partiality (lol), uncertaintism, low confidencism, etc. but it’s problematic to name things by a negative.

the legal world application of weighism is called a “balancing test”. That probably doesn’t help us though (balanceism? balancers? ;p)

Hmm on second thought, the legal balancing tests are often referred to as “multi-factor tests.” Could do worse than “multi-factorism”…

“percentageism” is another possibility i didn’t see mentioned, but meh

init thoughts and brainstorming:

  • Conversionism.

I didn’t like this at first – like conversions are good/useful when done right. But if someone was called a conversionist – that sounds better. Like: the idea that you can always and should do the bad sort of conversions. in that way it reminds me a bit of ‘scientism’

  • Weighingism. Scoringism. Pointsism.

I have been thinking a bit lately WRT ppl trying to make voting systems to do the impossible type of conversion (rank candidates on one dimension with a method that works for everyone).

From memory Arrows theorem deals with ‘ranked preference voting systems’ or something like that.

So mb rankism could work? There’s a pun-like overlap with the adjective rank meaning “offensive in odor or flavor” (merriam-webster); mb that’s a good reason not to use it, but idk if it’s a big deal.

  • Dimensionalism

mb like non-dimensionalism would be better – in that ppl try to convert everything to one dimension. like they’re a 1d-er or something; 1d-ism


relitivism comes to mind, but that’s taken. mb like comparitivism or something about trying to directly compare things? Like “this theory has lots of evidence so this new problem w/ it means we shouldn’t consider it false”

the word reduce comes to mind too, like everything has to be reduced to one value. but that’s too broad mb. also reductionist etc are taken.


I think it’s better than those other two, but IMO that’s because the other two don’t set a high bar.

analogism (like non-digital)

something to do with qualities? The word discreet came to mind (like wrt breakpoints), and you already mentioned continuumism

quantitivism (like from quantitative / qualitative); mb then the opposite PoV could be called qualitivism (mb describing a broader category than just CF)

When I went searching for proponents of this stuff I found “weigh” was the most common unifying term among them. I found stuff like:
Weighted Scoring Method
Weighted Factor Model
Weighted Sum Method
Weighted Average Rating Factors
Weighted Guidelines Method

For this reason I think if you don’t use “weigh” in some way you’re more likely to confuse people than if you leave out any other word.

From there, I think the construction depends some on how you most intend to use it. Do you want to talk mostly about the method itself, or mostly about the people who use it?

If you’re talking mostly about the method itself, I’d use an acronym. I ran into “WFM” for Weighted Factor Model in a couple of different places. You can introduce (or link) Weighted Factor Model once per post / article, then just say WFM most of the time. Downside is if you want to talk about people you’re stuck with saying something like “people who use WFM”, “people who advocate WFM”, etc.

If you’re mostly talking about people, “weighers”, “weighists”, or even (humorous) “weightards” works better. But then to talk about the method itself you need to de-reference from people, “The weighers’ method” or introduce an acronym like WFM then.

Also BTW it was a quick search but most of the advocates seem oblivious to your criticisms of the method. The closest one I found was: Weighted Factor Model - CHARITY ENTREPRENEURSHIP

We think that although this model has considerable promise, it also has many weaknesses that can be counteracted by using multiple models. We also see considerable learning value in testing multiple models and seeing which ones best predict our endline mixed model conclusions.

Flaws of WFM (in order of importance)

Not a commonly used methodology
Low flexibility
Limited question cross applicability
Considerable upfront time required
Can make nonnumerical data look numerical
Can be hard to determine source or reasoning of weighting criteria

So, what they propose to do about these weaknesses is to use some other models too, then weight together the scores of each model? Yup, they doubled down later:

Ultimately we think that WFMs, as one of our four perspectives, will generally get between one-quarter and one-half of our total endline weighting, with there being considerable variation depending on the specific charity idea and cause area. We expect WFM to be stronger in areas where there are many different factors at play and limited hard data.

How could they think that weighing the result of the first weighing with other stuff in a second weighing addresses the weaknesses of weighing? After reading this, I like “weightards” more, even though it’s not really suitable for serious discussion.

I fear people who don’t use numbers, and don’t see themselves as subscribing to a specific model with a name, won’t recognize that I’m talking about them too.

Most of them seem oblivious to Malcom Gladwell’s mainstream criticisms (published in The New Yorker in 2011, and I doubt he said anything very original there), let alone my criticisms.

Also note how they claim WFM is “Not a commonly used methodology”. It’s problematic because what I want to talk about is broader and extremely common used, e.g. pro/con lists qualify (b/c ppl make some effort, usually non-numerical, to add up to the pros and subtract the cons), and I also count it as the same issue when they do a reasonably equivalent thinking process without writing out a pro/con list. Or anytime people mention a “strong argument” or “weak evidence” my criticisms apply to them (Gladwell’s do not).

Yes it’s problematic to try to fix problems with weighing by adding more layers of weighing.

Yeah, I didn’t either. I wasn’t thinking of ex: pro/con lists where the person is mentally subtracting cons from pros to decide.

But then I think the problem is both larger and logically prior to terminology. You’re trying to group methods that people don’t already see as similar in any way they recognize. I don’t think it’s possible to find or create a term that just lets you do that. You’d have to explain what’s in the group (either in document or by link) whenever you use the term.

iow I think if your intent is to group all non-yes/no decision methods under a single term, you can only use that term successfully without explanation after you’ve already got people to understand at least enough yes/no to know what methods yes/no rejects. Or if it’s just some subset of non-yes/no methods, you’ll have to define the subset (at least by reference) for each and every use until knowledge of the subset you have in mind becomes common and accepted.