Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vocabulary Word: Mumpsimus

Joan Robinson had lots to say about the Cambridge Capital Controversy. I find this remark to be amusing:
"I was delighted to find in a dictionary the word mumpsimus, which means stubborn persistence in an error that has been exposed" -- Joan Robinson


Anonymous said...

How about this wonderful Scots word?

Numpty -- "Someone who (sometimes unwittingly) by speech or action demonstrates a lack of knowledge or misconception of a particular subject or situation to the amusement of others."

Now that applies to quite a few people I've read, particularly the propertarians we were discussing recently...

An Anarchist FAQ

Anonymous said...

For another example of mumpsimus, see this post on the persistence of the erroneous belief in a general factor for human intelligence (denoted g), despite the absence of any valid statistical evidence for it.

One has to ask, as Cosma Shalizi does regarding g, just who benefits from the persisistence of an erroneous belief?

Robert Vienneau said...

Factor analysis, which provides the mathematics for arguments over g, is a subject I would like to understand in more detail than I do. The theory of linear production models draws heavily on the Perron-Frobenius theorem. I think it neat that it shows up in Cosma's exposition, too.