[lit-ideas] Re: The full irony of the education minister's plagiarism

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2013 18:07:47 +0000 (GMT)

 From: "cblitid@xxxxxxxx" <cblitid@xxxxxxxx>
>in what is supposed to be a fundamentally original work>

The requirement of "originality" in doctoral theses is surely something with 
its own many ironies, as perhaps very few doctoral theses (at least in the 
humanities) deserve the description "fundamentally original". Unless of course 
"fundamentally original" is an approbation earned by anything that is not a 
mere rehash.

Wittgenstein's Tractatus, which later served as the basis for his doctorate, 
might be an example of "fundamentally original work", especially in its 
deployment of the 'showing/saying' dichotomy - but even in this egregious 
example all Wittgenstein's major ideas, including that dichotomy, have 
antecedents. More typical of the level of originality required for a doctorate, 
Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic is a mere rehash of Hume - though 
comparatively glib - in the then fashionable jargon of logical positivism.

Armed with a post-modern defence attorney and bags of chutzpah, she might argue 
her supposed plagiarism was a covert critique of academic hegemony, showing the 
contradictions inherent in the notion of  "originality"  as deployed in 
academic discourse, and that omitting to credit other sources constituted a new 
ethic which exposed the fatuous character of crediting something that merely 
ripped off something else when all credit must really be due to the Creator or 
some other spankingly important cosmic force. It was, in fact, a deliberate 
part of this dialectic that her new ethic would eventually be exposed and 
subject to hypocritical sanction only because she is a public figure of note - 
if she were a mere backwater hack her work would harmlessly have gathered dust 
unto eternity. The title and topic were also intentionally chosen as part of 
this [insert useful French-derived term here that adds pseudo-intellectual 
ballast to something that does not
 bear scrutiny in plain English].

If this sounds trop outre, the ex-wife of a politician here is currently 
defending her participation in perverting the course of justice with him [by 
falsely claiming his speeding offence as hers] on the ground of 'marital 


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