HD: Internet Quotes: Camus on Autumn
Posted: 13 October 2013 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Some cherry-picking going on.

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Posted: 14 October 2013 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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What we have is a cherry-picking of a quotation, removing it from its context and thereby completely changing its meaning.

Well, yes, that often is the case with quotations, which are, after all, inherently out of context.  How many famous quotations accurately reflect their original context and the authorial intention?  Furthermore, this is a quote from a play; asking whether it reflects Camus’s real views is like asking whether Shakespeare was really that worried about dreams after death.  Frankly, I found this a letdown; I assumed you were going to show that the alleged quote wasn’t by Camus at all.  As internet quotations go, this one gets an A from me: correct author, correct wording.  I love the idea of the series, but I hope you’ll go after some genuine malefactors!

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Posted: 14 October 2013 06:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I disagree. Good quotation use preserves the spirit in which the words were originally uttered. What a quotation does is provide an authority to lend support to a particular thought or sentiment. If by removing the quote from its context you change the sense to such a degree that it no longer represents the original sentiment, you’re misusing that authority. A classic example used by many creationists:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. —Charles Darwin

The quotation in context is:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of Spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.

I do admit, however, that any real damage done in the particular case of Camus on autumn is negligible.

But yes, I do intend to go after worse malefactors. But it’s not going to be a regular feature. I’ll write them as I come across them.

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