aphorism

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aphorism

(ăf`ərĭz'əm), short, pithy statement of an evident truth concerned with life or nature; distinguished from the axiom because its truth is not capable of scientific demonstration. HippocratesHippocrates
, c.460–c.370 B.C., Greek physician, recognized as the father of medicine. He is believed to have been born on the island of Cos, to have studied under his father, a physician, to have traveled for some time, perhaps studying in Athens, and to have then
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 was the first to use the term for his Aphorisms, briefly stated medical principles. Note his famous opening sentence: "Life is short, art is long, opportunity fleeting, experimenting dangerous, reasoning difficult."

Aphorism

 

a generalized, finalized, and profound idea of an author, expressed in laconic, refined form; it is distinguished by its apt expressiveness and obvious unexpectedness of judgment. Like a proverb, an aphorism does not prove or document but rather acts on the consciousness through the original formulation of a thought. The expressiveness of aphorisms increases with a decrease in the number of words; about three-fourths of all aphorisms consist of three to five words. Aphorisms are formed both in the context of scientific, philosophical, and artistic works and independently: “Mediocrity is more easily forgiven than talent” (E. Krotkii); “Each hears only what he understands” (J. W. Goethe); “Knowledge is power” (F. Bacon). The verbal fabric of aphorisms permits no changes.

REFERENCES

Uspenskii, L. “Korotko ob aforizmakh.” In the collection Aforizmy. Compiled by E. S. Raize. Leningrad, 1964.
Asemissen, H. U. “Notizen über den Aphorismus.” Trivium. [Zürich,] 1949, no. 2.

A. I. FIURSTENBERG

References in periodicals archive ?
In concluding the argument of this paper it may be stated that the ramakali hymn as found in the Kartarpur manuscript was never more than two aphoristic sayings, which may have been uttered by Guru Arjan on the happy occasion of a marriage.
When it comes to philosophy, Nemoianu shows a predilection for philosophy parlayed in the essay and the aphoristic insight, for those authors he calls the "lords of the fragmentary," such as Seneca, Cicero, Chateaubriand, and Chesterton.
She rejects any suggestion that it is a disconnected miscellany (xii-xiii), but freely acknowledges that other commentators on this text, including myself, have questioned the idea that Nietzsche's so-called aphoristic writings are disjointed (xii), and Kathleen Higgins in particular has written a book about GS exclusively (entitled Comic Relief) (xi).
Not least of all, and published for the first time, is Xenakis's almost aphoristic "Beautiful or Ugly" (p.
Most laudable are efforts to contextualize and explicate McLuhan's aphoristic writing, which is often condensed and at times confusing.
We extend the two lords' immediate context to include habitual talk throughout All's Well about Bertram's blend of equally potent failings and achievements, about the mingling of sex and love in terms of warfare, in terms of challenging and winning and losing, especially in terms of undermining and blowing up, and most of all in terms of traps and ambushes, the employment of trickery replete with emblems such as recurring rings and vividly aphoristic and enigmatic figurative expressions.
There are a few aphoristic lines: "You didn't say anything, you just looked.
Repeating this restrictive form throughout an entire volume might easily have become tedious, but Fasel avoids this effect through the variety of themes explored in the ten groups of poems, as well as through her unpredictable use of enjambment Sometimes, even in multi-stanza pieces, a single aphoristic cinquain flashes out like a polished gem (one of the poet's recurring images) as in "Creative Nonfiction":
There's nothing to take away from life, it's already zero," remarks a female character in a typically aphoristic fashion.
1736) Crane also captures the essence of the Naturalistic perspective in his aphoristic "A Man Said To The Universe":
Ernst Gombrich offers a brilliantly aphoristic piece on the limits of post-Hegelian Kulturgeschichte and the need to consider socio-psychological factors when interpreting the past.
To be sure, Gluck's poetry is, in its own way, highly specific: the best mythic poems, like "The Golden Bough," interrogate character in depth; the best aphoristic lines in her work gain immensely from the context in which they are embedded; and highly personal memories and situations hover over her most generic allegories, proving them "to have been poignantly abstract" ("Descent to the Valley").