Conservation biology -- Philosophy, Biology -- Language, Euphemism, Biology -- Terminology, Biology -- Social aspects
What does George Orwell have to do with Conservation Biology? As one of the foremost critics of how language is used, he has quite a lot to say. He was not just a critic of the imprecise or the dreary, but of the power of language to mislead; he understood the power of language to evoke the passion of a mission-value-morality driven discipline such as conservation biology, or drown it in what he called orthodoxy—a condition that “seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style” (Orwell, 1968: IV: 135). Too often, he noted, speech about values was “the defense of the indefensible” (Orwell, 1968: IV: 136). We argue in this essay that euphemism is a means to mask the indefensible and conservation biologists should not be a party to that.
Johns, David and DellaSala, Dominick A., "Caring, Killing, Euphemism and George Orwell: How Language Choice Undercuts Our Mission" (2017). Political Science Faculty Publications and Presentations. 61.
Available for download on Monday, July 01, 2019