The relation between language and pseudoscientific practices




Pseudosciences, Discourse Analysis, Language


INTRODUCTION: Discourse Analysis has shown that neutrality is nonexistent in language. Each lexical choice is not random, and within each choice, there are diverse possibilities of intentions, collocations, and interpretations. Culture, habits, beliefs, and the set of characteristics that compose society influence language construction. In a society where science and scientific methods are underestimated or ignored while pseudoscientific practices are valued, it is expected that there will be a reflection of this in language. OBJECTIVE: To discuss the impact of language and lexical choices on the appearance of scientific legitimacy of pseudoscientific practices. METHODOLOGY: In this study, we use linguistic tools associated with scientific thinking to identify how pseudosciences can benefit from language to increase their credibility, focusing on the use of affixes. RESULTS: Language speakers have intuitions about formative rules and meanings related to affixes, even without formally studying linguistic constructions or epistemology. In this sense, pseudoscientific practices can benefit from the appearance of scientific legitimacy conferred by the popular etymological perception of suffixes and prefixes commonly used to designate areas or subareas of academic scientific studies. CONCLUSION: Words and affixes used in scientific language do not have precise and unequivocal definitions but are subject to varied and conflicting interpretations. Given this vulnerability, language, as a reflection of society we are part of, can limit our capacity for rational decision-making regarding health.


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The relation between language and pseudoscientific practices. (2023). Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare, 5, e4970.

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