Rationalist taboo is a technique for fighting muddles in discussions. By prohibiting the use of a certain word and all the words synonymous to it, people are forced to elucidate the specific contextual meaning they want to express, thus removing ambiguity otherwise present in a single word.
Mainstream philosophy has a parallel procedure called "unpacking". Unpacking has the requirement that the contentious or doubtful term be expanded out, and not just replaced with a synonym, but no requirement that participants in a discussion refrain from using it once uttered has been unpacked,
- Disputing Definitions - An example of how the technique helps.
- Words as Hidden Inferences - The mere presence of words can influence thinking, sometimes misleading it.
- Detached Lever Fallacy - There is a lot of machinery hidden beneath the words, and rationalist's taboo is one way to make a step towards exposing it.