[lit-ideas] Re: Why Is Academic Writing So Academic?

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:33:50 -0500 (EST)

Why Is Academic Reading So Academic?
 
In a message dated 2/25/2014 3:58:33 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx quotes a question:
>Why is Academic Writing So Academic?
 
I would rephrase the question as follows (Grice, "Do not multiply senses  
beyond necessity"):
 
i. Why is academic-1 writing so academic-2
 
To read it as:
 
ii. Why is academic-1 writing so academic-1
 
seems to invite the answer which would be tautologous. Since we cannot  
assume that the QUESTION is inviting a tautologous answer (which the questioner 
 is supposed to already know), I should quote from Plato.
 
Back in the day of Plato's Academy, there was no 'academic' writing. Only  
'academic talking'. He called it 'dialogos'. He was funny enough to 
transpose a  character he had met in the agora (once): a barefoot man by the 
name of 
 Socrates, and turned him into a 'dramatis persona' of those dialogues. The 
 dialogues were meant to illustrate what philosophers do best: walk in 
olive  gardens and ramble over stuff.
 
This 'academic' conversation.
 
Interestingly, the name 'Academic' Plato drew from the former owner of the  
land where he established the Academia. In a bit of hypercorrection, it 
should  be pointed out that the original toponym was Hekademos (or something).
 
It may be said that an Academic philosopher later WROTE those dialogues,  
and thus the academic conversation (or conversation in the Academy) became a  
piece of writing (or 'parchment', as Geary prefers) but that's a longer  
story.
 
It was totally different at Plato's main competitor: the Lycaeum. Or not.  
The conversations down there (in downtown Athens, under the midday sun, were 
up  and down and down and up, 'peri-pathetic', they came to be called). 
 
Socrates his self, while, like Diogenes, favoured the agora, was also known 
 to enjoy meetings by a villa on the seaside. Cfr. "Attic Nights". Or not.
 
Cheers,
 
Speranza
 
 
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