adjective for a person who is unable to see the gray area between the extremes

< Previous | Next >

cointi

Senior Member
Polish
Hello,

Is there an adjective describing a person who is unable to see the gray area between the extremes / has a zero-or-one kind of thinking, i.e people are either good or bad, moral or evil, you are either with or against me, etc. I know that opinion or societies can be polarized, but can a person be polarized?
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    based on the belief that there are two opposites in everything, for example good and evil or light and dark
    manichaean adjective - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com

    "The most crucial feature of neoconservatism is its Manichean worldview, wherein the Earth is pitted in an urgent struggle between purely good and purely evil nations. As George W. Bush famously told then Sen. Joe Biden: 'I don't do nuance.'"
    A.Word.A.Day --manichean
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Nothing I can think of totally works.

    Dualistic-- has its roots in philosophy.
    Bivariate--has its roots in logic
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If you're talking to a general audience then Manichaean is not going to work because it's not a generally well-known word. If you're talking to a highly educated audience it might be appropriate but could also apply to a specific philosophy instead of a general quality of someone.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    f you're talking to a general audience then Manichaean is not going to work because it's not a generally well-known word.
    Quite right. Taking Kentix' suggestion in post 4, we could describe someone as a very black-and-white sort of person.
     
    Last edited:

    cointi

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Thank you all. With all the options you provided, I can now choose my words according to my audience :)
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    In the right contexts I've seen such people described as "judgmental" or "extremist." (Both those words also have other meanings, which is why I mention the context.)

    With less determining context needed, mostly I've seen descriptions like those already given or one about how the person has a low tolerance for ambiguity, or can't handle ambiguity, that sort of thing.

    Here are a few references that discuss the topic, which will give you a bunch of examples of how the tendency you want to describe is discussed in practice:

    Our aversion to ambiguity can fuel destructive politics and even extremist cults……….Book name Nonsense: Author name Jamie Holmes.

    Shades of Gray or Black-And-White: Why the Color of Your Thinking Matters

    Tolerating Ambiguity | Knowinnovation

    Laird Wilcox on Extremist Traits

    Black and white thinking may hinder one’s ability to maintain a healthy weight: (EUFIC)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top