Polymaths and Observers

Somebody asked:

Is there another word for polymath but without possessing the bodies of knowledge?

Kind of like one who applies Socratic dialogue to any field in order to discern truth? A bit like being a jack of all trades but master of none because the process of discernment doesn’t change, but the content certainly does from one field of knowledge to another.

I’m trying to think of a catchy word for a byline, that’s all.”

My byline here (A Modest Polymath) is just meant to be a humorous reference to my tendency to post on a wide range of topics.

I am not sure about an answer to the question above. The Philosophical Enquirer? The Honest Enquirer? The Wandering Scholar?

I know what he means. The best kind of polymath brings critical and research skills to each new field rather than simply accumulating knowledge.

The Harvard Method of learning has some of this approach I understand … that is, learning through case studies:



9 responses to this post.

  1. Perhaps “omnivore” (with appropriate warnings against becoming an omnibore)?

    And one might consider other words as “opsimath”, “nexialist”, and even “Wikipedian”.


  2. ‘Omnibore’ is funny, though hopefully inaccurate….

    Nexialist sounds like a ‘mentalist McGyver’ but it’s the closest approximation yet.


    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on April 8, 2016 at 7:14 am

      I like Nexialist. But these debates about generalists vs specialists can get a bit pointless. I am very much a generalist but even generalists have to specialise sometimes.


  3. I am not into details and can’t really claim to be a specialist at anything.

    How about the term nexopath? Would suit intjs too.


    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on April 9, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Polymath is from the Greek meaning many-learned (roughly).

      Nexialist I take to mean someone who notices nexuses (connections) between facts. But nexopath – like sociopath – suggests something deranged.


      • Posted by Julian O'Dea on April 9, 2016 at 10:34 am

        Inquiring Mind might do. Or Infinitely Curious.

        “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein.

  4. Yes, I get that adding the -path suffix might immediately add a bias to perceptions.

    I figure that since rationality is already viewed with suspicion, why not mess with peoples’ perceptions a little more?


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