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Wednesday, September 09, 2009 

Putting the argument below the surface of the prose

This is an article that all academics should probably read. Certainly philosophy doesn't rely on the kind of rigid structure that Hornstein mentions applies to the social sciences, but jargon-heavy and obtuse is something that, sadly, we're very good at.

An example: I really, really tried to make my thesis accessible to laypeople, to the extent of running a few hard to understand sections past my brother to make sure I was making sense to people without a philosophy background. My mom, a very smart woman, was unable to get anything out of the precis at the beginning except for confusion - and that was purely because several of the words I used were technical, something I completely didn't notice (being so used to them) until she pointed them out.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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