Why? Well, not only is it an excellent article, but it manages to be both calm and unprovocative. That is not to say Vinjamuri says nothing which is contentious - he certainly does, and is frank in his appraisal of both sides of the publishing debate - but he manages to cover points of major contention without being provocative about it. There's no animosity here for either side. He just gives his analysis, clearly, succinctly and politely.
And I found myself thinking, 'I write like this all the time in my academic writing (despite Sayre's corollary); why can't I do the same on my blog?'.
(Image by keepcalm-o-matic)
I'm about to start my tenth year of studying philosophy in academic contexts, starting with sixth-form college and going right through to what will be the last year of my PhD. As such, I've spent a huge portion of my time over the last decade in debate with people, ranging from formal academic conferences to setting the world to rights over beers in a pub. I've been involved in pretty much every kind of debate there is, and most of them many times over.
And I have an observation to make, one which should perhaps be obvious but which it's perhaps also worth drawing some attention to:
As the total anger among participants in a debate increases, the likelihood of any participant achieving a useful outcome (asymptotically) approaches zero.To put it another way, the more angry people in a debate get, the less likely anyone is to benefit from the debate.
I'm going to spend most of the rest of this blog going into this in more formal detail (and, arguably, greater intellectual pretension). If that's not your cup of tea, fair enough; here's the point I'm working towards:
Getting angry while contributing to a debate actively lowers your chances of getting anything out of the debate.Please bear this in mind next time you're faced with a debate you're prone to getting angry about! I shall do my best to do the same, and we can just imagine all the people, living life in peace.
(Actually, I kind of hate that song, but you see the point, I hope).
Those of you with the saintly patience to put up with my pretentious guff, read on.