Trauma. Violence. Bullying. Addiction. The range of things that these words encompass has expanded over time, and while my guest today would say that changes in how language is used are natural and inevitable, he also argues that the way we use words matters and has consequences, and that we need to better grapple with what those consequences are.

His name is Dr. Nick Haslam and he’s a professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne who has studied a phenomenon he calls “concept creep,” which refers to the tendency of concepts having to do with harm — from trauma to depression — to broaden their meaning over time. Nick describes how concept creep happens in two ways — vertical and horizontal — and occurs both amongst clinicians and the general public. He explains what he thinks is behind concept creep, and how the way we talk about harm-related concepts changes how people experience themselves and life, bringing new kinds of identities and new kinds of people into existence. Nick argues that while there are upsides to concept creep, it also carries potential dangers that can negatively impact our lives.

Resources Related to the Podcast

Nick’s ResearchGate page“Harm Inflation: Making Sense of Concept Creep”“How Americans Became So Sensitive to Harm” — Atlantic article about Nick’s workThe Loss of Sadness by Allan Horwitz and Jerome Wakefield“Making Up People” by Ian Hacking

Connect With Nick Haslam

Nick’s Faculty Page

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Transcript Coming Soon!

The post Podcast #788: The Dangers of “Concept Creep” appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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