the meaning of a phrase 'in light of'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by stenka25, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. stenka25 Senior Member

    South Korea, Han-gul
    Let me ask the meaning of a phrase.

    Please read the following.

    Because we do not put rejected items out of our minds, we experience the disappointment of having our satisfaction with decisions reduced by all the options we considered but did not choose. In light of these negative effects of opportunity cost, which is the cost of the opportunity you lost by making one choice instead of another, we are tempted to ignore opportunity costs altogether in making decisions.

    What I want to ask is whether the use of 'in light of' is appropriate in this context.

    In a dictionary, 'in light of' makes the cause and effect relation with the main clause as following three examples.

    In light of this tragic event, we have cancelled the 4th of July celebrations.

    • He rewrote the book in the light of further research.

    In light of the adverse effects of high fuel prices, additional efforts are needed in order to ensure progress.

    Are you on my side with my point?

    If not, can you tell me why?
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    I think I see what concerns you. Perhaps a more appropriate choice would have been "due to" or "as a result of."
  3. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    I don't think the usage (which includes two of the dictionary examples) is quite what would be gathered by a correct understanding of this phrase, however, it seems to have suffered from function creep to take in "because of" or "as a result of". Dictionaries seem to acknowledge this. The usage seems to have broadened from the original metaphor, a phenomenon which is hardly unusual.
  4. stenka25 Senior Member

    South Korea, Han-gul
    You've been a great help.
    Thanks, Matching Mole.
    Thanks, Bibliolept.
  5. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    I don't think any useful distinction can be made between in [the] light of, in view of, because of, taking into account etc.
  6. I agree with e2efour, except that there are situations calling for "because of" where the others wouldn't work:

    The streets were crowded because of the festival.


    [In light of/in view of/because of/taking into account] the traffic from the festival, we decided to take a different route.

    I do think "in light of" still carries a sense of "the light of knowledge being shed," which accounts for the frequency of phrases like "in light of this new information ..." and "in light of recent events ..."

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