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Brandon’s inconsistent use of terminology?


Fanghur Rahl

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I’m just curious, does anyone else get annoyed by how Brandon often uses various terms and concepts like slivers, cognitive shadows, etc. inconsistently in different works, or is it just me? Because I recently made a perfectly civil statement to that effect on the Facebook group, and someone basically turned it into a slanging match.

Am I the only one who has this beef?

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It may have been in the terms you're choosing as examples. The only time I can think of him using the word "Sliver" at all is in TLR calling himself the "Sliver of Infinity." 

As far as his own terminology goes, I think he's remarkably consistent in regards to WoBs... But when he starts discussing the realms, and in particular "The soul" I get very annoyed. 

He uses the word "soul" fairly interchangeably for the Spiritual and Cognitive aspects, and in the Cosmere those are two very different things. The word "soul" annoys me to no end. 

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4 minutes ago, Calderis said:

It may have been in the terms you're choosing as examples. The only time I can think of him using the word "Sliver" at all is in TLR calling himself the "Sliver of Infinity." 

As far as his own terminology goes, I think he's remarkably consistent in regards to WoBs... But when he starts discussing the realms, and in particular "The soul" I get very annoyed. 

He uses the word "soul" fairly interchangeably for the Spiritual and Cognitive aspects, and in the Cosmere those are two very different things. The word "soul" annoys me to no end. 

Yeah, I completely forgot about that, that’s an even better example. He seems to have two completely different definitions of the word ‘soul’, one being essentially the equivalent to what we would call ‘spirits’ or ‘ghosts’, and the other being basically synonymous with ‘cognitive identity’. I’m not sure if that technically qualifies as an equivocation fallacy, but it’s definitely confusing if nothing else.

But I was referring to him referring to the Stormfather as a Sliver. Like I said before, I actually think he SHOULD be considered one since I think arbitrarily declaring that only humans can be them is kinda dumb, but Brandon apparently said that Spren can’t be slivers since they aren’t physical enough.

That and like you said in a previous thread, how loosely and nebulously he describes the various realms and their precise natures (or at least how they relate to one another). 

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2 minutes ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

Yeah, I completely forgot about that, that’s an even better example. He seems to have two completely different definitions of the word ‘soul’, one being essentially the equivalent to what we would call ‘spirits’ or ‘ghosts’, and the other being basically synonymous with ‘cognitive identity’. I’m not sure if that technically qualifies as an equivocation fallacy, but it’s definitely confusing if nothing else.

But I was referring to him referring to the Stormfather as a Sliver. Like I said before, I actually think he SHOULD be considered one since I think arbitrarily declaring that only humans can be them is kinda dumb, but Brandon apparently said that Spren can’t be slivers since they aren’t physical enough.

That and like you said in a previous thread, how loosely and nebulously he describes the various realms and their precise natures (or at least how they relate to one another). 

The Stormfather is a Sliver, and a Splinter and a Cognitive Shadow. He's kind of unique, so all three terms apply to him. Normally, a spren really couldn't be a Sliver, but the Stormfather is, because part of him is Tanavast's Cognitive Shadow, which is the Sliver.

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The Stormfather is a Splinter who absorbed a Cognitive Shadow who was also a Sliver. 

The Stormfather also doesn't actually know those terms, so he's not using Sliver to mean "someone who formerly held the power of a Shard." 

But honestly to reach a point that these terms start really becoming confusing, you have to start digging behind the books themselves, which means you also have access to the answers... 

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Cognitive Shadow vexes me, but he is consistent with the usage it's just that the term is for a category that's so broad in the way they manifest. They're "Mind Ghosts", but they are all seem so different Shades, Kelsier, Returned, Heralds, Fused, Stormfather. The differences seem to come from what they're stapled to, how they're stapled (hemalurgy etc.) and how much they've degraded. 

His use of Shard and what constitutes "on a planet" or "in residence" in the Patji explanation made my head hurt. Where Patji is a Shard and is on the planet during Sixth of Dusk, but no Shard is on the planet during the story, nor has a Shard ever been in residence on the planet. I think I may know what he's getting at, like it's an Avatar that Adonalsium created pre-shattering and it defaulted to Autonomy when Adonalsium shattered, so no Shard ever settled there, but an entity that's an avatar of a shard is there. Or Autonomy created the avatar elsewhere and sent it to the planet. 

If that's not along the lines of what he's getting at then I have no idea. 

https://wob.coppermind.net/events/315-general-reddit-2018/#e9385

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Just wait. One day we'll read of a being on some rando Shardworld who is made of Recognitive Spliverture, who has a Spiritsoul-lattice, who corresponds to some kind of szpren (which will come from the Cognitive Shadow of Szeth somehow), wielding the Ascended sword Nightbloodblade, in battle against the Quadrashard Impossibility.

EDIT: And the protagonists will have to travel through a Hyperpendicularity to reach the Metaphysical Realm.

Edited by Ripheus23
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21 minutes ago, Ripheus23 said:

Just wait. One day we'll read of a being on some rando Shardworld who is made of Recognitive Spliverture, who has a Spiritsoul-lattice, who corresponds to some kind of szpren (which will come from the Cognitive Shadow of Szeth somehow), wielding the Ascended sword Nightbloodblade, in battle against the Quadrashard Impossibility.

EDIT: And the protagonists will have to travel through a Hyperpendicularity to reach the Metaphysical Realm.

This made my brain hurt, thanks. 

 

Some things like sliver and splinter and cognitive shadow I think he's using them more or less consistently, though we have to just accept that he's makes a decently big distinction between what the in-world "experts" think they mean and what he's got hidden in his actual head-cannon. 

 

The only one that's going to really bug me so far is "Shards" now that Stormlight has gotten underway, there's no way to completely avoid the confusion.  Ive tried to start using the term Hexadiety and Host for the Shards of Adonalsium, and leaving Shard and Shardbearer to the Rosharan use of the term. 

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34 minutes ago, Fanghur Rahl said:

From what I understand, Brandon seems to be just flat-out misusing the term ‘avatar’ in this context; the images that Shards display when they interact with mortals are more what the term ‘actually’ means.

Yeah, he's not using the actual definition of the word, likely in favor of the way the word is defined by Cosmere scholars. Same for splinter, sliver, etc, so I'm not too mad about it. I'm assuming he's basing it on the actual term. Although, at the end of the day, for all we know the way it's used in the Cosmere is just as correct since we don't know the formal definition of Avatar by Cosmere scholars with regards to realmatics.

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34 minutes ago, Quantus said:

The only one that's going to really bug me so far is "Shards" now that Stormlight has gotten underway, there's no way to completely avoid the confusion.  Ive tried to start using the term Hexadiety and Host for the Shards of Adonalsium, and leaving Shard and Shardbearer to the Rosharan use of the term. 

Yeah, this could have been avoided.  I will admit I am blanking on a better name that's catchy without giving away their true nature. Gemblade, gemplate since the modern ones need gems to work. Gembearer doesn't work with gems being currency on Roshar.  Everyone has them. Gemwielder? 

Hexadiety - a cursed name :P 

Chunks of Adonalsium. Vessels are Chunk-Buckets :D

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1 hour ago, Child of Hodor said:

Yeah, this could have been avoided.  I will admit I am blanking on a better name that's catchy without giving away their true nature. Gemblade, gemplate since the modern ones need gems to work. Gembearer doesn't work with gems being currency on Roshar.  Everyone has them. Gemwielder? 

Hexadiety - a cursed name :P 

It was a play on Hexadecimal, as in the base-16 number scheme that a lot of computer science happens in.  :)

1 hour ago, Child of Hodor said:

Chunks of Adonalsium. Vessels are Chunk-Buckets :D

Lets just call em PowerBallzzzz

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3 hours ago, Quantus said:

The only one that's going to really bug me so far is "Shards" now that Stormlight has gotten underway, there's no way to completely avoid the confusion.  Ive tried to start using the term Hexadiety and Host for the Shards of Adonalsium, and leaving Shard and Shardbearer to the Rosharan use of the term. 

Doesn't really work though since there are 16 shards and hexadiety would just mean six.

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3 hours ago, Quantus said:

This made my brain hurt, thanks. 

You're welcome. Impossibility's magic system is based on terrible ideas for fandom 'ships. It's called Surgalurgy and results from using Surgalurgic Spikes to either make characters romantically involved, or to combine the Spiritwebs for their names' spren. Like, Kaladin's name has a spren with a Spiritweb, and so does Taravangian's. So when you Surgalurgically create the relationship "Kalavangian," you can use Impossibility's magic system. Now, the worse the relationship, or the worse the name, the greater the relevant power. For example, take "Elithanathile" and pair him with himself (but not using the name "Tanavast"). The relationship is ridiculous, and so is the name: "Elithanathilelithanathile." So Surgalurgically forging this relationship/name draws on a massive amount of Impossibility's power.

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As long as Brandon uses Shard and Vessel, that's what I'm going to use. 

The only place for it to be confusing is with Roshar, and I never say "shards" in reference to both. It's always blade or plate specifically, so I don't see it as an issue. 

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As far as I could tell Brandon is truly inconsistent mostly with the use of "soul" that sometimes is referred to cognitive and sometimes to the Spiritual.

 

I don't even blame him too much for that, the inconsistency came from WoB most of the time. Moments where he need to answer on the spot and with people who are probably not "advanced reader / Cosmere nerd" so he oversimplify stuffs

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