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 ?
As Denham notes, Frye explained (in one of his entries) that he kept notebooks "because all my writing is a translation into a narrative sequence of things that came to me aphoristically.
Adorno, in the black light of the Third Reich debacle, helped along by those fraternal twins Systematics and Romanticism and their mirror images Mastery and Transcendence, often chose to write, like Nietzsche, aphoristically.
She writes crisply, almost aphoristically, about the changes in English style and taste in her period: `The wonderful excesses of the fourteenth century had run their course, a new mood of austerity had taken hold, and a withdrawal occurred, in which less on the page became desirable' (I, 23).
When Professor John Figgis aphoristically remarked that "political liberty is the residuary legatee of ecclesiastical animosities," he expressed one half of the truth.
Butler's contention, that the "workingman is a man, and the equal of the capitalist" (80) illustrates aphoristically the key dimension of the dilemma.