Words Poorly Used #48 — Rationale

In software engineering, we use a term, overloaded, to describe keywords that have different uses in different contexts.  And we really should try to avoid overloading whenever possible — it has a synonym, ambiguous.  It seems in a logical world there should be connections among words that seem to point in a similar direction.  This brings to mind the cluster of words around ration.  In fact, rationale is seldom and only accidentally useful in connection with rational.  We have a ton of rationale for re-invading Iraq, but rational reasons for doing so are more scarce than hen’s teeth.  When we refer to our rationale for a behavior we only refer to an excuse, an exigency, an alternative that may be bested a thousand times over — its use does not infer the use of reason, it infers the selection of an alibi.


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