Misappropriation of terms

Other Names:
Misuse of definitions
Definitional gameplaying
Cooption of meaning
Misappropriation of words
Exclusive appropriation of concepts

Certain key concepts, such as "development", have been appropriated by constituencies with vested interests in order to protect and further them. For a "developer", for example, the process of developing a piece of virgin land may well involve removing any natural vegetation and constructing a series of buildings. Such uses of "development" are common in business and financial circles, and the associated government planning departments. This is to be contrasted with concepts of "development" which seek to enhance the natural environment in a sustainable manner, respecting the relationship of people to it, and avoiding irreversible damage to the land. The positive connotations of the word are used to disguise the abusive projects undertaken in its name, taking advantage of the definitional ambiguity in the situation.

Discussions of "health" by the international community invariably imply human health and exclude any reference to animal health, plant health, soil health or health of other entities. And with respect to health, the meaning is usually further restricted to physical health, and excludes emotional health, psychic health, spiritual health, community health, etc. With respect to physical health, many mammals suffer from the same diseases as humans but reference to these diseases is normally restricted to humans, for example tuberculosis, cancer, rheumatism, blindness etc. Ironically animals are however used to test remedies for these exclusive human illnesses which are subsequently applied to humans.

The term "environmental stress" is appropriated by environmentalists to refer to the natural environment and excludes any connotations in relation to the psychological or social environment of human beings.

Reduced By:
Language censorship
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No Poverty
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST