[Ads-l] Linguistic problem in the medical field (;'-))

Mark Mandel mark.a.mandel at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 9 00:10:10 EDT 2018

I disagree with the end of Kelley's quoted comment. If you're looking for
what "placebo" means, you can take the Latin literally: "I [the doctor]
will please [the patient]". Though chosen to indicate ineffectuality, the
word simply means that the doctor is giving the patient what the latter
wants, and who knows, it might work.

Mark Mandel

On Tue, May 8, 2018 at 10:32 PM, imwitty <imwitty at gmail.com> wrote:

> ...

> But even before the conference date had been set, something was bothering
> some prospective attendees, an annoyance that had gnawed at a few of them
> for years. It was the word *placebo* itself. And though it seems like a
> small issue – a word choice, a semantic nuisance – it struck scholars like
> clinical psychologist John Kelley of Harvard that the name was having an
> outsize effect on doctors’ ability to harness the power of placebos for
> good.
> For starters, the name defies logic.
> *“‘The placebo effect’ in and of itself is an oxymoron,” Kelley says. “The
> placebo effect is the effect of something that has no effect. That can’t be
> true.”*
> L.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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