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-   -   Philosophical Semantics, Part II (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23192)

kdt26417 04-21-2012 09:55 PM

Philosophical Semantics, Part II
More extra credit problems. Same rules apply as in "Philosophical Semantics, Part I." Answer only those questions you feel inclined to answer, and make your answers as long or short as you want. (There are four riddles.)
  • Consider the following four terms:
    • polyamorous,
    • monogamous,
    • monoamorous,
    • polygamous.
Riddle #1: For each term listed above, pick another term from the list that is the most opposite to it. Explain your reasoning.
Riddle #2: For each term listed above, pick another term from the list that is the most similar to it. Explain your reasoning.
  • Consider the following two terms:
    • polyfidelitous,
    • swinger.
Riddle #3: For each of the two terms, pick another term from the four-term list that is the most opposite to it. Explain your reasoning.
Riddle #4: For each of the two terms, pick another term from the four-term list that is the most similar to it. Explain your reasoning.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll give my own answers to the above riddles after a few other posts have trickled in.

km34 04-22-2012 02:46 AM


Polyfidelitous seems the most like Polygamous. Both include multiple partners in a closed group where outside romance/sexual activity is not welcome.

Swinger reflects Monoamorous. Love for only one, but sex with many.

I'm going to come back to this when I have more time... Love the concept!

kdt26417 04-24-2012 04:40 AM

That's pretty cool km34 -- that's exactly what one member independently concluded on Poly Percs.

I will keep mulling over my own thoughts, and let you know of my answers a little later on. ;)

Tonberry 04-25-2012 09:00 AM

My opinion:

polyamorous: in love with more than one (or able to be so)
polygamous: in a relationship with more than one
monoamorous: in love with one person at a time
monogamous: in a relationship with one person at a time

Therefore I see them as kind of unrelated. What I mean is, mono- and poly- amorous are on a different scale than mono- and poly- gamous. Just like you can be a gay man and married to a woman, you can be polyamorous with a single partner (while in love with others) or monoamorous in a relationship with several partners (but only in love with one). In my opinion, because "gamous" comes from marriage, it implies a serious relationship and doesn't include friends with benefits or dating around, for instance.

Therefore I would say that each poly/mono pair is each other's opposite, and that the -gamy and -amory part are neither opposite nor the same, just like a cat isn't the opposite of a tomato.

Polyfidelity means several partners and in a closed relationship. In my opinion it implies both polyamory and polygamy (mostly polygamy as it describes the relationship without talking about the people's orientation inside of it).

Swinging would be monoamory in an open relationship, it isn't polyamory nor polygamy. People consider it nonmonogamous because there is no sexual exclusivity, but in my opinion since there is only one romantic partner, it could count as monogamous.

kdt26417 04-25-2012 06:22 PM

Interesting ... So -amorous is like the theory (how many people you're in love with), while -gamous is like the application (how many people you're actually in a relationship with).

I thought it was also interesting you have swingers in both the monogamous and the monoamorous category. It of course makes sense based on your general theory.

Polyfidelity, then, being in both the polyamorous and polygamous group, is almost like the opposite of swing! (though with a lean more to the polygamous direction.)

I'll probably post my take on the whole thing in about a week (still turning things over in my mind, :)).


kdt26417 05-01-2012 11:03 PM

Kevin's Part II Answers
These'll be a lot easier to answer than the "Part I" riddles, although not because everyone would answer these in the same way. So, as promised (and for any who might be interested), here are my answers to my own "Part II" riddles.

Riddle #1, answered:
  • Polyamorous is the "most opposite" to monogamous. So say I. After all, it is opposite both in prefix (poly- versus mono-) and in suffix (-amorous versus -gamous).
  • Monoamorous is the most opposite to polygamous. Similar to my explanation in the previous bullet point.
Riddle #2, answered:
  • Polyamorous is the "most similar" to polygamous. This is a bit tougher of a call, but I am going with the prefix (poly-) as the more important determiner (than the suffix).
  • Monogamous is the most similar to monoamorous. Similar explanation as in my previous bullet point.
Riddle #3, answered:
  • I think "monoamorous" would be the most opposite to "polyfidelitous." Polyfidelity is kind of a marriage-like arrangement, and monoamorous "lacks" the -gamous suffix. (So does polyfidelitous, but the "-fidelitous" suffix serves as something of a substitute.)
  • This is tough, since (as I explained in the Part I answers), I kind of put swing midway between polyamory and monogamy (or monoamory, and I've sort of used monogamy and monoamory interchangeably). I suppose "swinger" is the most opposite to polygamy, since in polygamy there are multiple partners and the -gamy suffix suggests a lot of structure/commitments among the multiple partners.
Riddle #4, answered:
  • Polyfidelitous is probably the "most similar" to polygamous. Not the patriarchal polygyny that polygamy often connotes, but the theoretical/egalitarian version of polygamy.
  • Really tricky, like in the last riddle, but I'll say swinging is the "most similar" to monogamous. Swing is traditionally centered around a monogamous marriage ... although now I know there are many polyamorists (and monoamorists) who swing.
Again, it's important to understand that these aren't "perfect" answers. Indeed, I designed the riddles to "defy" perfect answering. For example, given monogamy, monoamory, and polyamory (and even polygamy), which on earth is the most "similar" to swing? None of the above, frankly. Swing (or the lack thereof) exists independent of the form of one's core relationship/s. I only answered that one on the basis of how swing is "commonly" or "traditionally" understood. Not a very strong basis for an answer, but I suppose it'll do.

kdt26417 05-05-2012 04:20 PM

By the way, in case anyone would be interested, there are more perspectives on this same topic, posted on Polyamorous Percolations:

Philosophical Semantics on Ppercs, Part I
Philosophical Semantics on Ppercs, Part II

There's not a lot of new material there, but there's some.

I invite you (if you're interested) to check out those threads, and return here to post any thoughts/comments that come to you as a result of that further reading.

Just a thought, for more extra credit if you're interested. :)

River 05-05-2012 09:38 PM

I see over at the PolyPerc page it says of "biamory":

"biamory (abstract noun: love for two) = falling in love with two (but only those two) persons."

It is worth noting here that some folks use "biamorous" to mean "romantically attracted to persons of either sex".
This term arose because "bisexual" turns out to lack nuance and specificity. That is, many self-describing 'bisexuals'
are only interested in sex (not romance) with persons of the same (or "opposite") sex. A biamorous person is
romantically interested in either or both sexes.

kdt26417 05-05-2012 10:06 PM

River, thanks for that info. I am going to pass it on to Ppercs (via the glossary discussions thread), and probably add (around the end of this month) the definition you described to the glossary entry.

Tonberry 05-06-2012 07:10 PM

I think biromantic would make sense for the emotional orientation, since there is heteroromantic and homoromantic as well.

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