Communication : Vague Language


Multiple Definitions

Avoid all words which are:

  • Categorical or broad definitions
  • Have multiple definitions
  • Have vague definitions

For example:

  • I've seen mutualists and AnSocs use the phrase "private property" to refer to "ownership of the means of production." Most persons when hearing this will interpret that as "property, that is privately owned." Even if you include a specific definition, a cautious person (like myself) will suspect that you are attempting a bait-and-switch.

As a general rule, you should avoid using these words yourself, and encourage any persons you are communicating with to avoid those words as well.

Concepts vs Words

Words are mere representations of concepts, ideas, or reality. Words themselves are just vocal or written patterns, and there are no physical or metaphysical law(s) of reality which demands or determines which definition is correct. As such: Do not get caught up in semantic arguments!

Try to find a word which both you and your discussion partner find acceptable, and verify that the conceptual nature of the word matches.


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