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Language of the Future

August 6, 2007

Russ Roberts at CafeHayek brings up the interesting point that “spontaneous order” could be misunderstood by non-experts, because “spontaneity” is more synonym with “spur of the moment” and “genuine” than with “self-organizing”. Hayek often complained that our current language does not have words to effectively describe some important concepts. So what could we say instead? “Self-organizing order” is too technical and the word “self” doesn’t seem appropriate in this context. “Ebullient order” is too enthusiastic.  “Organic order” would be better understood as being opposed to “artificial order”, because everyone knows now about organic food. What about “holistic order”? Here is the definition of “holism”: a theory that the universe and especially living nature is correctly seen in terms of interacting wholes (as of living organisms) that are more than the mere sum of elementary particles. The definition is ok but somehow I don’t see the sentence taking off. If only I could read a dictionary of a hundred years from now.

From → Hayek, Language

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