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Nominative Determinism

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The notion that some people have, unconsciously, or perhaps by fate or destiny, fallen into professions that align with their name is an old one. See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative_determinismere for a wealth of information on the topic.

It’s been a meme in New Scientist for over two decades. It’s meant humorously as a rule, but some writers have mused whether there is a real effect. Of course many names are occupational in origin, and in about 1300 a Richard Miller probable was a miller, and his father may have had the same name and occupation, but their descendants are unlikely to be steered by such a distant connection.

I’m inclined to believe that it’s merely a result of our tendency to observe coincidences, which are memorable and leap out from a background  of unremarkable data which we don’t notice.

All the same I was struck to find there genuinely is an eminent barrister named Stephanie Barwise, which is was what sent me thinking about the topic.

For more ND examples check out this great blog post.

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