A pride of lions, a murmuration of starlings, a dazzle of zebras, an eloquence of lawyers, a pack of lies — the English language has some unusual names for collectives. Sometimes the collective names apply only when the members of the groups are engaged in certain actions, for example, a group of ducks swimming is a raft of ducks, while a group of ducks flying is a string of ducks. And sometimes different names apply depending on the size of the group. For instance, a group of wildfowl (that’s right, wildfowl; I use that word all the time) may be known as a plump, but if that group has fewer than thirty members you should call it a knob.
Clearly there are a number of questions here, starting with whether there was something better I could have used as the fifth word in this sentence. Also, what should we call a collection of philosophers? Should there be different names for different specializations? For different styles of philosophy? For different stages of career or different demographic qualities? For philosophers engaged in different kinds of actions?
The Philosophical Lexicon offers up “cohen” as a its name for a collection of philosophers, but it has never really gained currency. This is your chance to make your mark on history. Give us our names. (If we have a number of good options, maybe I’ll run a poll so we can select the best ones.)
Relatedly, I offer:
quicksand. n. pl. a collection of blog comments. Example: “Alice made the mistake of stepping into that quicksand of comments and now no matter what she says things just keep getting worse.”
I look forward to seeing a quicksand of comments answering the questions in this post.