IvanV wrote: ↑
Mon May 17, 2021 12:32 pm
I've only just found Scrutable. I used to be on BadScience several years ago, I think under this username, though I don't recall exactly. I'll blame long Covid brain fog. It's nice to see all the old names.
I once read a book called "Bad Thoughts: A guide to clear thinking" by Jamie Whyte, a Kiwi who has had a very varied career. He made a very useful distinction between two concepts he named as follows (not standard usage, particularly unfortunately in this case):
Terminology - well-defined terms of clear and agreed meaning within a discipline
Jargon - vague, often pretencious, words without standardised agreed meanings, popular with an in-group, whose main function is to exclude outsiders and disguise vacuity
In most scientific subjects, maths, etc, terminology is necessary. We don't want to have to waste everyone's time with a glossary in every article, when anyone who could understand the article uses the same words in the same way. We don't want to define anatomical terms at the start of every medical paper, for example. And they are absolutely necessary to the precision of what you are reading.
The Sokal Hoax demonstrated that you could dress up complete rubbish with the fashionable pretencious jargon of the discipline, and it is so impenetrable that even journal editors would fail to spot you were taking the mickey.
The situation is not quite as black and white as Whyte tries to make it look. There's well-known terminology, and less well-known terminology which is less necessary, used only in a narrow area, and doesn't necessarily aid understanding and compactness. And there's well-known jargon, which isn't a problem provided you aren't making precise statements. But my guess is that what this is about is more towards the jargon than the terminology end of the spectrum, as Whyte defines them.