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Metaphors and Definitions: A General Semantics Look at the Language of Pain, Addiction, and the Opioid Epidemic

  • 12 Dec 2022
  • 12:00 PM
  • Zoom


Registration is closed

Our 2022 IGS lecture series concludes with our fourth online talk  featuring IGS Secretary Eva Berger. Please join us on Monday, December 12th at 12 Noon EST for 

Metaphors and Definitions

A General Semantics Look at

the Language of Pain, Addiction,

 and the Opioid Epidemic

General semantics provides useful tools for understanding the relationship between illness, medicine, and language. This lecture concentrates on metaphors and on the general semantics concept of definitions and uses them to analyze some aspects of the opioid epidemic.

Over the past few years, the discussion of opioids has undergone significant changes. The word “opioid” was once used mainly by doctors and pharmacists in the treatment of pain. But the extreme increase in their prescription and use (and abuse), has made the word common in public discourse.

The Hulu series Dopesick is used for illustration of the greed and power of big pharma and their use of language as a key element in their role in the opioid epidemic. Their coining of terms such as “quasi-addiction” have been powerful tools in the manipulation of doctors, patients, and the FDA.

Eva Berger teaches at the School of Media Studies, COMAS, in Israel, and serves as the Secretary of the Institute of General Semantics. She holds a Ph.D. in Media Ecology from New York University.  She is co-author of The Communication Panacea: Pediatrics and General Semantics, published by the IGS. Her latest book, Context Blindness: Digital Technology and the Next Stage of Human Evolution, was published by Peter Lang earlier this year.

The lecture will be held via Zoom. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Registrants will receive the Zoom link in advance of the lecture.

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