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Plagiarism

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Maria Mac
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Plagiarism

#1 Post by Maria Mac » January 13th, 2008, 2:16 pm

{The first two posts in this thread were split off from the thread on Atheistic Fundamentalism - admin}

Dan wrote:Whitecraw nicked most of his last edit from Wikipedia, all the Jacques Maritain stuff etc. This is ironic, since I was the one who added that information to Wikipedia!
Whitecraw, It seems that a reminder of the forum rules is in order, specifically Rule 7. which states:

No plagiarising. If you use material written by someone else in a post, be sure to credit your source.

The first couple of paragraphs plus the reading list contained in your last post is evidently lifted straight out of the Wiki article to be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weak_and_strong_atheism

You should also have given a source for that part of your post that appears in the quote box. Thanks, Lord Muck, for providing the link.

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Re: Atheistic Fundamentalism

#2 Post by whitecraw » January 13th, 2008, 9:21 pm

Yes, Maria: I’ve had this argument elsewhere in relation to other literary work.

Plagiarism (or appropriative writing) is a fascinating phenomenon. It didn’t appear as a ‘problem’ until the 18th century, when lawyers set us on the path of copyright confusion and arguments over moral rights by seeking to fix the notion of ‘literary property’. Prior to this, Chaucer routinely ‘translated’ or ‘paraphrased’ from others. Ben Jonson ‘adopted’ in his own work poetry from the recently deceased Christopher Marlowe. And Milton sought to ‘steal as much as possible from the Bible’. Shakespeare didn’t consider himself to be an ‘author’ but considered himself rather to be a storyteller, lifting whole screeds of work by other wordsmiths and incorporating them into his productions. No one thought anything of this.

Even after the invention of the ‘author’ as a kind of literary proprietor in the 18th century, wordsmiths regularly felt free to ‘convert the substance or riches of another to his own use’ (as Ben Jonson put it). Samuel Coleridge made frequent reference to ‘questions of origins and originality and the practical and moral problems of derivativeness and plagiarism’. But he openly admitted that he had ‘appropriated … sizable passages from others’ work without acknowledgement’. The difference in attitude in the 18th century is demonstrated by the fact that Coleridge was publicly charged with plagiarism. It is curious to note that his accuser was his friend, Thomas De Quincey, who was himself a notable plagiarist in his own right, and that the passage Coleridge was accused of plagiarising had itself been plagiarised. The cyber-plagiarising of the Internet is nothing compared to these guys. This change in thinking is mirrored by the way authors began to regard the term ‘plagiarism’. Prior to the coming into being of the ‘author’, it was the legitimate appropriation of material for literary use; after the invention of the ‘author’, it became stealing some else’s ‘intellectual property’.

There’s a long and honourable tradition of cocking a snoot at the bourgeois tabu against plagiarism. According to my old mucker, Chris Grieve, 'The greater the plagiarism the greater the work of art'. Grieve himself incorporated ‘found text’ into the poetry of his literary persona Hugh MacDiarmid. In the 1960s he published a poem entitled ‘Perfect’ about a gull’s wing. Its text was almost word for word taken from a short story by Welsh wordsmith Glyn Jones. This led to accusations of plagiarism, to which Grieve gruffly gave the aforementioned response. Not that the ensuing correspondence in the Times Literary Supplement made any difference. You can still find the piece today in MacDiarmid’s collected works.

There was thropughout the 20th century a respectable literary tradition of ‘collage poetry’, exemplified by ‘The Waste Land’ and ‘The Cantos’, in which, rather than weave obvious quotations into his or her words, the wordsmith became a kind of scribe, transferring to his or her own work small or large passages, usually without attribution or other signals that these words were written by someone else.

The epitome of this kind of wordsmith is Borges' splendid invention, Pierre Menard; a fictional early-20th century French poet who sets out to rewrite Cervantes' Don Quijote word for word. In the 1980s, Borges's text was often cited in relation to so-called ‘appropriation artists’ such as Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince. The idea of erasing the lines between authors was one which Borges returned to again in his short essay ‘The Flowers of Coleridge’. There he raises the notion, previously espoused by Shelley, Emerson, and Valery, that all literary works are the creations of a single eternal author (no, not 'God' but the community of all wordsmiths - the writing world); a point he tries to demonstrate by tracing a recurring text through Coleridge, H. G. Wells, and Henry James. Arguing for the essentially impersonal nature of literature, Borges reminds us that George Moore and James Joyce ‘incorporated in their works the pages and sentence of others’, and that Oscar Wilde ‘used to give plots away for others to develop’. More recently, a whole school of critical theory has developed ideas remarkably similar to those Borges espoused. Roland Barthes, for instance, defined the literary text as ‘a multi-dimensional space in which are married and contested several writings, none of which is original’.

Examples of heroic plagiarism include:

a) Isidore Ducasse. In his proto-surrealist masterpiece, The Songs of Maldoror (1868), Ducasse appropriated long passages from an 1853 encyclopedia of natural history. Although Ducasse left no explanation of his appropriations in Maldoror, he did pen a defence of plagiarism in his sardonic manifesto ‘Poesies’. ‘Plagiarism is necessary,’ he wrote, ‘because it stays close to the wording of an author, it uses his expressions, erasing a false idea and replacing it with a correct one.’ Ducasse's famous remark that ‘writing should be made by all’ encapsulates his challenge to the orthodoxy of conventional authorship.

b) Hugh MacDiarmid's Cornish Heroic Songs for Valda Trevlyn (1937-38), a collection of poems Chris Grieve had MacDiarmid write for his wife but which was abandoned after some seven hundred pages had been written. In his introduction to MacDiarmid's Selected Poems (1993), Eliot Weinberger describes how Grieve composed much of the book by transcribing ‘long passages from obscure travel and science books, reviews in the Times Literary Supplement, Herman Melville's letters, the writings of Martin Buber, and Thomas Mann's Tonio Kroger.’ As Weinberger explains it, Grieve had ‘discovered that the way out of the traditional prosody and rhyme he [MacDiarmid] had hitherto employed almost exclusively was to break prose down into lines [according to the natural rhythm of the language]’, thereby ‘finding’ the poetry latent within it.

d) Stefan Themerson's Bayamus and the Theatre of Semantic Poetry (1949), a novella in which the author replaces certain words with their dictionary definitions. Here, for instance, entering the salon of a brothel, the narrator describes some of its features:
There were four openings: three of them serving as entrances with wooden structures moving on hinges for closing them, and one, not very large, filled with panes of glass fixed in a movable frame and covered by a sheet of pale yellow cloth lowered from a roller above, and by a sheet of green cloth hanging on a rod and drawn across so as to keep out sun and draught.
In other words, the room had three doors and a window.

Themerson, a Polish exile who founded the avant garde Gaberbocchus Press in London in I948, believed that turning to dictionary definitions was a way ‘to translate poems not from one tongue into another but from a language composed of words that they had lost their impact, into something that would give them a new meaning and flavour.’ Revitalising old work, in other words, like they sometimes do in the movies.

e) Oulipo: la litterature potentielle (1973), a compendium of various literary methods assembled by the Paris-based writers' group Oulipo. Without crediting its ‘author’ Stefan Themerson, Raymond Queneau introduces ‘Definitional Literature’, which consists of replacing every word in a sentence with its dictionary definition. A sentence thereby expands automatically; and if one then subjects this expanded sentence to the same process, the text once again grows in size.

f) Kathy Acker's story ‘New York City in 1979’ (1979). Taking a cue from William Burroughs, whose books were patched together from cut-up manuscripts, Acker wove together her own tales from the punk underworld with all manner of texts. In her 1989 essay ‘A Few Notes on Two of My Books’, she recalls ‘New York City in 1979’, which combines an account of life on Manhattan's Lower East Side with Baudelaire's description of his diseased mistress, Jeanne Duval. Resisting the ‘appropriationist’ label many have tried to give her, Acker commented, in the same essay, ‘When I copy, I don't “appropriate”. I just do what gives me most pleasure: write.’ Even if one knows that Acker is copying, it's hard to tell her sources and where the lines lie between copied and ‘original’ words. For Acker, textual borrowing was part of an assault on the capitalist system. A few years before she died, she heralded the rise of the Internet as a way of challenging the concept of literary ownership which lies behind copyright law.

g) Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch (1963). Chapter 34 of this cornerstone of literary postmodernism weaves together in alternating lines a long unattributed quotation from an old-fashioned novel and a passage in the voice of Hopscotch's narrator. Since it's very hard to shift orientation at the end of each justified line of type, and even harder to keep both narratives in mind simultaneously, the reader is tempted to proceed by skipping every other line, reading first the entire quote and then Cortazar's words. But the great Argentinean fictioneer slyly blocks this strategy by having the second text continually comment on what is happening in the first one, compelling the reader to read Chapter 34 line by mind-bending line. As well as being a wittily subversive piece of fiction, this chapter of Hopscotch is a precursor of philosophical texts such as Jacques Derrida's Glas, a book in which a column of quotations from Jean Genet runs continuously alongside the author's discussion of Hegel.

h) Ted Berrigan's poem ‘cento: A note on Philosophy’ (1964-68), in which every one of the fifty-eight lines is taken from another poet. Like his friend and fellow poet Ron Padgett, Berrigan frequently borrowed lines from others, particularly in his poetic sequence ‘The Sonnets’. In a 1971 interview, Berrigan admits to another kind of borrowing. Starting with ‘any sort of ghastly poem’ he comes across, Berrigan tells how he ‘rearranges a few lines, moves things around, changes a couple of things...’ and makes a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Here the wordsmith becomes a kind of editor-plagiarist.

But, whatever… It’s a rule of the Board and I should observe it if I’m going to avail myself of its facilities. Like keeping a suitably straight face when doing a church gig or a Burns Supper.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s an interesting article on plagiarism - http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/02/0081387 .

{Main source for post: Gathered, Not Made: A Brief History of Appropriative Writing - Raphael Rubinstein - admin}
Last edited by Maria Mac on January 16th, 2008, 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: To add source

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Re: Plagiarism

#3 Post by Maria Mac » January 13th, 2008, 10:43 pm

While I'm sure it's illuminating to learn of the cavalier attitude to intellectual theft by certain great authors, your post above smacks of an appeal to authority. Personally, if I put time and effort into writing something and then see someone ripping my work off and presenting it as their own when it would have been a simple matter - and one of common courtesy - to credit it, I get mightily pissed off.

Happily, academic institutions of the 21st century would seem to agree with me and it is the higher standard of behaviour set by them that I would prefer to see followed on this forum.

Cheers.

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Re: Plagiarism

#4 Post by whitecraw » January 14th, 2008, 12:09 am

While I'm sure it's illuminating to learn of the cavalier attitude to intellectual theft by certain great authors, your post above smacks of an appeal to authority. Personally, if I put time and effort into writing something and then see someone ripping my work off and presenting it as their own when it would have been a simple matter - and one of common courtesy - to credit it, I get mightily pissed off.

Happily, academic institutions of the 21st century would seem to agree with me and it is the higher standard of behaviour set by them that I would prefer to see followed on this forum.
Well, as Kierkegaard used to insist: I speak without authority. I’m a wordsmith, not an author. I make no claim to originality. I’m a bit like those renaissance painters, who composed their work from elements that originated from others. Like Jack Vettriano, I originate very little; I fashion things from the resources I find ready to hand. Academia would no longer touch me with a barge-pole.

But I can appreciate why you might feel mightily pissed off when your proprietorial rights have been infringed. For those of us who don’t own any marketable intellectual property, it’s less of an issue. I apologise for hurting your feelings. I can assure you that, writing anonymously, I don’t profit in any way from employing bits and pieces of work that originated with other people in my collages.

And certainly it is the practice in academia to fully credit the authorities to whom one appeals; a practice which originated with the schoolmen and which is now aped even in the non-academic world. Crikey… even romantic novelists credit their historical sources in ‘appendices’ nowadays! But I believe an argument must stand or fall by its own intrinsic worth, irrespective of who made it. If I had my way, all such appeals to authority would be banned and every writer would have to publish his or her work anonymously to ensure that the spotlight fell squarely (to mix my metaphors) on the arguments themselves. Of course, some provision would have to be made for the payment of royalties etc.; but I’m sure some method of imbursement could be devised that preserved a writer’s anonymity... However, like I say: academia would no longer touch me with a barge-pole. So, really, I’m just pissing in the wind.

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Re: Plagiarism

#5 Post by Maria Mac » January 14th, 2008, 10:01 am

You say you make no claim to originality but whenever you write something without crediting sources, originality is implied. It doesn't occur to your reader that what you've written may not be your original work, because that's not how people think.

You haven't hurt my feelings. So far as I know, you haven't ripped off anything that I've written and passed it off as your own.

And it's not about whether intellectual property is marketable. It's about respect. Like it or not, original thinkers are respected and the reason they are respected is because their arguments stand on their own merit regardless of who they are; those who present a coherent argument using other people's work and crediting it honestly are also respected and for the same reason; those who take other people's words and present them as their own, are not. People who accord respect to members of the latter group, thinking the arguments they admire are the writers own, feel cheated when they find out.

I'm sure crediting wikipedia doesn't count as an appeal to authority by anyone's standards.

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Re: Plagiarism

#6 Post by whitecraw » January 14th, 2008, 11:38 am

It doesn't occur to your reader that what you've written may not be your original work, because that's not how people think.
Yes, that’s unfortunate. But I can’t be held responsible for how other people think. I’m sure many people think that when they look at a work of renaissance art, they’re looking at something that was made by a renaissance ‘maestro’ himself, when in fact they’re looking at the production of a workshop in which apprentices drew the sketches, made a fair copy of the finished work to present to its patron, cast the sculpture, etc. etc. Making a false assumption about the provenance of a piece of writing isn’t the same thing as being deliberately misled about that provenance.
And it's not about whether intellectual property is marketable. It's about respect. Like it or not, original thinkers are respected and the reason they are respected is because their arguments stand on their own merit regardless of who they are; those who present a coherent argument using other people's work and crediting it honestly are also respected and for the same reason; those who take other people's words and present them as their own, are not….
That’s a fair account of the prevailing situation with regard to the attribution of ownership.
…People who accord respect to members of the latter group, thinking the arguments they admire are the writers own, feel cheated when they find out.
Yes, but they shouldn’t. Such poor misguided souls only feel cheated because they are bewitched by this acquisitive and sadly all-pervasive notion of ‘ownership’, which is precisely the notion that appropriative writing challenges. The arguments expressed in a piece of discursive writing are the same, and are of the same worth, regardless of who presents that piece of writing and under whose authority it is presented (if any – sometimes it is presented anonymously, as in the present case, at no profit whatever to the writer in terms of either financial reward or personal kudos). The same can be said with regard to pieces of non-discursive writing like poetry or fable. It’s a sad state of affairs indeed when a writer seeks to ‘own’ a piece of writing and reserve to himself or herself the right to copy it, sooner than allow it to replicate freely throughout the literary world and enjoy that measure of success and recognition. I’d be over the moon if a poem I’d put time and effort into writing was disseminated as freely as that.

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Re: Plagiarism

#7 Post by Lifelinking » January 14th, 2008, 8:34 pm

If I may venture Whitecraw, the posts you have made in you own 'inimitable' style just don't wash. You got caught rotten doing something that is clearly against the rules of this forum. Your replies smack of a rather base form of moral relativism not to mention downright arrogance. A sort of 'rules don't apply to me, after all I can quote Kierkegaard Et Al (just don't expect me always to acknowledge it)..'




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Re: Plagiarism

#8 Post by Lifelinking » January 14th, 2008, 9:37 pm

In the interest of balance and as an observation, Whitecraw usually seems quite meticulous about quoting sources and I would be surprised if this was anything more than a simple oversight.



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edited to add: at least, I hope that this is the case :sad:
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Re: Plagiarism

#9 Post by whitecraw » January 15th, 2008, 12:20 am

A sort of 'rules don't apply to me, after all I can quote Kierkegaard Et Al (just don't expect me always to acknowledge it)..'
Hi Lifelinking.

I've already apologised to Maria for pissing her off and acknowledged that I did break a rule of the Board and, on the principle of 'when in Rome', ought not to have.

I should confess, though, that I do have form. I was instrumental in driving Jeremy Stangroom of 'The Philosophers' Magazine' to such distraction that he closed down the Magazine's online Discussion Forum. Not for appropriative writing, I hasten to add, but for a) persistently posting writing that he didn't consider discursive enough to count as philosophy and b) enraging beyond belief the participants on the Board by creating and posting under a number of virtual personae to make a philosophical point about personal identity and the indistinguishability of fictional characters and 'real people' (though one, Olivia Benson, who now edits 'Butterflies and Wheels' and is generally a good sport, afterwards found the whole exercise 'sublime', despite the fact she had some raging rows with one of my female personae and has some sort of thing against fiction). And I was also instrumental in bringing about the similar downfall of 'The Examined Life Online Philosophy Journal' for similar reasons and for stoking the fires of the extreme right-wing Islamophobes who hung out there by claiming things like '9/11' properly refers to the commencement of the CIA-backed military coup that ousted Allende, which had far more drastic consequences in terms of the number of human lives that were lost than the destruction of the Twin Towers, which was by comparison pretty insignificant, and that there were no WMDs in Iraq (It's amazing how long they sustained the belief that WMDs would eventually be found.) I also used to enjoy winding-up devotees of particular ideologues like Strauss and Vögelin by plagiarising their work, waiting until the aforementioned disciples had viciously pulled it apart in the belief that they were ripping into me, and then revealing its true provenance. They fell for that one again and again.

Happy days! Why they didn't just ban me I'll never know.

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Re: Plagiarism

#10 Post by Maria Mac » January 15th, 2008, 12:20 pm

whitecraw wrote: I've already apologised to Maria for pissing her off and acknowledged that I did break a rule of the Board and, on the principle of 'when in Rome', ought not to have.
That's good enough for me, thanks.

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Re: Plagiarism

#11 Post by Lifelinking » January 15th, 2008, 9:15 pm

I also used to enjoy winding-up devotees of particular ideologues like Strauss and Vögelin by plagiarising their work, waiting until the aforementioned disciples had viciously pulled it apart in the belief that they were ripping into me, and then revealing its true provenance. They fell for that one again and again.

Happy days! Why they didn't just ban me I'll never know.

Rather a different situation than TH I would have said.

Still, I am just a user of this forum and you owe me no explanations, justifications or apologies.

I have never studied philosophy, and have only ever read a little bit about it in my own time. So I have no great names to back me up when I say that we can only ever really know somebody, from what they do.




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Re: Plagiarism

#12 Post by whitecraw » January 16th, 2008, 12:41 am

I have no great names to back me up when I say that we can only ever really know somebody, from what they do.
That seems to be one of those bits of Bible philosophy that’s passed into popular currency.
Be-waur o fauss prophets at come tae ye in sheep’s cleadin, but aneth is ravenish woufs. Ye will ken them bi their deeds. Div fowk gether grapes aff brïer-busses, or fegs aff thrissles? Na, fy: ilka guid tree beirs guid frute, and ilka rotten tree beirs ill frute. A guid tree canna beir ill frute, nor a rotten tree guid frute. Ilka tree at beirsna guid frute is cuttit doun an cuissen intil the fire. Sae ye will ken thir men bi their frute.
Matthew’s Gospel, 7:17-20
I’ve always had a number of problems with this argument from analogy. Basically it’s saying that we can infer the condition of a person’s soul from what actions that soul gives rise to, whether it is ‘guid’ or ‘fusionless’; and that, once a person is found in this manner to be bad, his or her moral character is fixed and s/he can no longer be considered capable of right action (‘a rotten tree [canna beir] guid frute’). In other words, s/he’s damned whatever s/he does.

The problems I have with the argument are as follows:

• It’s questionable whether a person’s soul, rather than his or her actions, are the proper object of moral judgement.
• The idea that the condition of a person’s soul can be inferred from his or her actions does not take account of the possibility of deception: bad people pretending to be good by doing good stuff or good people pretending to be bad by doing bad stuff. (It is here that the analogy with trees and fruit breaks down.)
• The idea that certain people or classes of people are intrinsically evil (i.e. incapable of being good whatever they do because they’re basically rotten) is to my mind morally repugnant.

So I’ve very little time for this little nugget of biblical wisdom. To my mind people are neither good nor bad, but are just people, who sometimes do things that are morally wrong and sometimes do things that are morally permissible. The only thing you can know from a person’s actions is the proper moral classification of those actions themselves relative to one's ethics. The only way you can know someone is to shag them (D.H. Lawerence et al).

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Re: Plagiarism

#13 Post by Nick » January 16th, 2008, 10:59 am

Well Whitecraw, I think that is a rather silly response. Why should Lifelinking's view be derived from the bible, rather than the bible being derived from general human experience? Does your view not imply that we cannot disapprove of murder without being accused of being closet christians?

And who mentioned souls?

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Re: Plagiarism

#14 Post by Zoe » January 16th, 2008, 11:04 am

whitecraw wrote: So I’ve very little time for this little nugget of biblical wisdom. To my mind people are neither good nor bad, but are just people, who sometimes do things that are morally wrong and sometimes do things that are morally permissible. The only thing you can know from a person’s actions is the proper moral classification of those actions themselves relative to one's ethics. The only way you can know someone is to shag them (D.H. Lawerence et al).
Whether you have time for it or not, it is human nature to judge people by their words and actions.

If one can't know somebody from what they do, how can one know somebody at all? Or is the suggestion that we can never know anybody? Granted, we can never know someone well enough to confidently read or predict every single thought, feeling, or response they will have. But we can know somebody well enough and the only way we can come to know somebody is through their words and deeds.

The best we can hope for is that people don't make snap judgements of us or allow their opinion of us to be coloured too darkly by isolated actions that they disapprove of.

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Re: Plagiarism

#15 Post by Lifelinking » January 16th, 2008, 7:16 pm

That seems to be one of those bits of Bible philosophy that’s passed into popular currency - I’ve always had a number of problems with this argument from analogy. Basically it’s saying that we can infer the condition of a person’s soul from what actions that soul gives rise to, whether it is ‘guid’ or ‘fusionless’; and that, once a person is found in this manner to be bad, his or her moral character is fixed and s/he can no longer be considered capable of right action (‘a rotten tree [canna beir] guid frute’). In other words, s/he’s damned whatever s/he does.

The problems I have with the argument are as follows:

• It’s questionable whether a person’s soul, rather than his or her actions, are the proper object of moral judgement.
• The idea that the condition of a person’s soul can be inferred from his or her actions does not take account of the possibility of deception: bad people pretending to be good by doing good stuff or good people pretending to be bad by doing bad stuff. (It is here that the analogy with trees and fruit breaks down.)
• The idea that certain people or classes of people are intrinsically evil (i.e. incapable of being good whatever they do because they’re basically rotten) is to my mind morally repugnant.

So I’ve very little time for this little nugget of biblical wisdom. To my mind people are neither good nor bad, but are just people, who sometimes do things that are morally wrong and sometimes do things that are morally permissible. The only thing you can know from a person’s actions is the proper moral classification of those actions themselves relative to one's ethics. The only way you can know someone is to shag them
Is this your own wisdom, or wholly / partly regurgitated?


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Re: Plagiarism

#16 Post by Lifelinking » January 16th, 2008, 8:07 pm

In hindsight, my last post was below the belt. I unreservedly apologise.

Let me express my self in more polite terms. Your comments are duly noted. I remain unimpressed by the instance of plagiarism that led to this thread being started. I am even less impressed by the form and manner of your posts here, in this thread. Biblical antecedents or not, all I know of you is what you post here. From recent experience of your online antics you have behaved in a less trustworthy way than I would have expected given what I have seen previously. To put things in perspective, you have not harmed anybody or anything terribly much, other than the reputation of the online persona that is, Whitecraw.

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Re: Plagiarism

#17 Post by whitecraw » January 16th, 2008, 8:58 pm

Well Whitecraw, I think that is a rather silly response. Why should Lifelinking's view be derived from the bible, rather than the bible being derived from general human experience? Does your view not imply that we cannot disapprove of murder without being accused of being closet christians?
Because ‘general human experience’ at least in this part of the world (which is a bit like being ‘world-famous in Cumbernauld’) is encultured in a historical context which has been profoundly shaped by Christianity and its conceptual structures. The idea that there is something substantial like a self or ego or soul of which actions are attributes (or that office bearers generally come in threes or that there is in the world of human affairs a secular in contrast to a distinct religious or moral sphere) is an historical idea that we have inherited from Christianity. I’d be surprised if Lifelinking’s view hadn’t been inherited from Christianity, given the hegemony Christianity enjoyed in this part of the world for such a long time and during such a defining period of our history, and the influence it has thus had in the formation of our ‘general human experience’.

But this does not make any of us ‘closet Christians’. It just makes us, in our beliefs and practices, the product of a particular history, the ‘nightmare’ of which (as James Joyce put it) ‘we cannot escape’. Nor does it make Christianity the ‘author’ of our beliefs and practices. Christianity itself emerged in an historical context which was profoundly shaped by other cultural forces, which in the still longer view of our own constitution have just as great a claim to our authorship. In this sense, Christianity is just another sinful plagiarist.
And who mentioned souls?
I did. It’s one of the various words that are used to signify that of which actions are supposed to be attributes, like ‘self’ or ‘ego’. You can’t exorcise the influence of Christianity from the ‘epoch’ of your beliefs and practices simply by changing its nomenclature.
Or is the suggestion that we can never know anybody?
No: the suggestion is rather that, outside our culture’s ‘Christian’ scheme of things, there is nothing ‘beyond’ or ‘behind’ one’s experience of another (their body and its expressions) for us to know; no occult ‘soul’, ‘self’ or ‘ego’. ‘You’ signifies only the sum total of the speaker’s experience of a particular embodiment of words and actions. ‘I’ signifies only ‘this’ particular locus of experience that constitutes a point of view.
To put things in perspective, you have not harmed anybody or anything terribly much, other than the reputation of the online persona that is, Whitecraw.
Whatever!

Maria Mac
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Re: Plagiarism

#18 Post by Maria Mac » January 16th, 2008, 9:16 pm

Lifelinking wrote:In hindsight, my last post was below the belt. I unreservedly apologise.
It was a fair question, actually. I've now edited whitecraw's first post in this thread to add the original source for the major part of it. Glad to be of service.

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Lifelinking
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Re: Plagiarism

#19 Post by Lifelinking » January 16th, 2008, 9:18 pm

Whatever!
Brevity!


IMHO you should try that more often.


L
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

DougS
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Re: Plagiarism

#20 Post by DougS » January 17th, 2008, 10:44 pm

Fine words! I wonder where you stole 'em

Jonathan Swift
Good one, L. :thumbsup:

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