Thursday, May 26, 2011

Naturalistic is a fate worse than a fate worse than death

Two years ago, I had written about neologisms in science. I am finally able to give a bad example of a neologism: "naturalistic". The term I am referring to has very little to do with the ideas of naturalism in philosophy of science, or the arts, but a lot more to do with stimuli used in studies of neuroimaging. "Naturalistic" is vaguely defined as: a laboratory stimulus that is an approximation of the stimuli encountered in the natural world. So a movie would be a naturalistic stimulus. It really is a niggling issue, but I have seen a certain hesitation in the scientific community to call these stimuli "natural stimuli", and a preference towards using "naturalistic stimuli".

"Natural" itself can be defined as similar to or pertaining to nature. So, are we to understand that "naturalistic" is then "similar to or pertaining to something that is similar to or pertaining to nature"?

A fate verse zan deth, I say.

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