it is important to avoid, as i've noticed notably conspiracy theorists often do, attribute special importance or personal/alternate meanings to commonly used words. the goal of language is in general to communicate with the recipients.
i've taken, increasingly consciously, a couple of steps to attempt to communicate clearly my ideas, especially when the recipients are either unknown or varied. they are:
to avoid words with unclear meaning, such that people can attribute anything they want to it. this includes words like "consciousness", "free will", "left-wing" and "right-wing", "conservative", even in some contexts the notions of "deserving" or "existing". if a word is highly contested, it's just better to use a word that more unambiguously means what you intend to convey; even if it entails making up your own (because at least then they can ask, and the word isn't used already).
to merge together words that are similar enough. i've come to use interchangeably words in each of the following pairs: "communism" and "socialism", "ethics" and "morality", "free markets" and "capitalism", "freedom" and "liberty", and others. when everyone has their own idea of what the difference is between two words, it's probably a good idea to just consider them the synonyms in general; at most synonyms with different connotations.
having personal definitions for some terms that are more precise than the common definition; this may seem unintuitive as it makes the word map to not exactly the same concept as most people use it to mean, but if the precise meaning i choose is reasonably a subset of the general usage and if the word is understood to be able to mean a variety of different things to different people (such as "freedom") then it can be a good idea to lay out, or even try to figure out on the spot, sufficiently formalized definitions for those terms.
to go out of my way to mention that i'm doing the three things above. as soon as "consciousness" enters a discussion, i make it clear that i'd rather the person use a more precise term or description because we probably have vastly different ideas of what that word could mean.
(and of course, if you go out to argue, don't forget to carry your newton's flaming laser sword with you)
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