Re: MD Begging the Question, Moral Intuitions, and Answering the Nazi, Part III

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Tue Oct 21 2003 - 14:23:48 BST

  • Next message: "Re: MD Begging the Question, Moral Intuitions, and Answering the Nazi, Part III"


    > DMB said:
    > Aligning our thoughts? huh? Since when does comprehension of ideas
    > somehow require that we align ourselves with the author? Where'd you
    > ever get the idea that we have to merge with a writer to understand his
    > books?
    > Matt:
    > My use of the phrase "aligning our thoughts" has a lot to do with the
    > phrase "following a line of thought," something I'm beginning to think
    > you have a problem doing.
    > Comprehension of somebody else's thoughts has to do with following his
    > line of thought, in other words, figure out what his thoughts were, in
    > other words, align your thoughts with his. I don't know, maybe that was
    > hard to figure out.
    > I'll refrain from commenting on the rest of your comments until later
    > because they completely missed the point because you failed to follow my
    > line of thought. So, I'll go through my line of thought again for
    > people:

    I hope everyone notices Matt's attitude here. It boils down to, "If you
    don't understand what I'm saying, it's your fault." He accuses DMB (and
    me previously) of having a problem in "following a line of thought,"
    never realizing his thoughts often wander aimlessly. He goes on to put
    the entire responsibility for comprehending his ideas on the reader,
    not the writer, demanding that the reader expend the effort to "figure
    out what his thoughts were." Finally, with no attempt to ameliorate his
    lofty bearing, he again accuses DMB of failure to "follow my line
    thought" and will now patiently "go through my line of thought again,"
    for the benefit of what he obviously considers to be the "little"

    One need only compare to simplicity and clarity of Pirsig's writing to
    the compositions of any of the so-called postmodernists, including
    Rorty, to grasp the difference between good and bad writing. Denis
    Dutton, editor of 'Philosophy and Literature' described the kind of
    prose currently favored in academe (apparently imitated by Matt), as "a
    teeming mass of abysmal sentences, yearning to be coherent."

    No one expects MD contributors to be Hemingway. But at least an
    attitude of "I'll try my best to say what I have to say as directly and
    simply as possible so my reader will not have to work hard to get my
    meaning" would help. After all, there's absolutely no obligation on the
    part of the reader to read, much less try to understand, my views or
    anyone's. She has better things to do. Her rightful attitude towards
    authors here and elsewhere is, "Tell me straight and tell me true,
    otherwise, to hell with you."

    I suspect that hidden in all of Matt's verbiage are some interesting
    ideas. Trying to ferret them out, however, is a needlessly daunting




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