I disagree with both your overall thesis and your specific examples. The reason why we invent so much of our own jargon is because of the jargon we invent, the portion which survives mostly doesn’t have preexisting substitutes, or has substitutes that are inferior enough to matter. The competition between words is mostly controlled by a unconscious processes, but these processes are well connected to words’ actual usefulness.
I wrote the card game Rationality Cardinality because I think learning and using more jargon is vital to being able to think well.
But this particular habit, where you can’t say “wishful thinking” because “motivated cognition” springs to mind so easily, is something I wish we didn’t learn.
These phrases don’t mean the same thing; motivated cognition is a strict superset of wishful thinking, and covers a much larger range of circumstances. Something is motivated cognition but not wishful thinking if it’s motivated by pessimism, or by a status dynamic such as needing to appear consistent. In cases where either term could apply, calling something wishful thinking is making an additional claim beyond that which would be claimed by calling it motivated cognition, and it’s a socially risky claim at that.
This was my favorite disagreeing comment on this thread, and insightful.
is there some process of carefully trawling though mainstream writing to make sure that there is no existing jargon that can do the job? Because LW seems to have reinvented several wheels. Instrumental/terminal is exactly hypothetical/categorical, for instance.