Seeming rip-off

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I just started reading a new book, and there it happened again: I became aware that some writing of mine might seem like plagiarism. Not verbatim stolen, but the idea in the book looks like it might have inspired me, and I did not cite or acknowledge it — which I would still consider stealing. But I had not read it before, so in my view I acted ‘bona fide’.

Now I’ll start a list of these instances, and I intend to update it when I become aware of more examples.

1. In ‘The Extended Mind”, Annie Murphy Paul writes about getting ideas in walking rather than sitting:

“Far more conducive to the act of creation, Gros continues, is ‘the walking body'” (Kindle position 53)

and in Distant Associations, I wrote about the feeling of the Ah-ha moment, after a long time of gradual emergence of simmering and vague hunches:

“via intuition rather than inferring and reasoning, often during a break, on a walk, away from the papers” (Section “7. Conducive circumstances”, emphasis added)

2. In “The Master and his Emissary”, Iain McGilchrist likens musical passing dissonances to Hegelian Aufhebung:

“The passing discords so frequent in Bach are aufgehoben into the wider consonance as they move on and resolve.” (p. 420, emphasis original)

and in Expectations make the difference, I wrote:

“When a chord with a ‘nonharmonic tone’ is played out of context, it sounds awful, but when we hear it as a ‘passing tone’ or as a ‘neighbor tone’, we don’t notice the dissonance — because we expect that it will immediately be resolved.”

3. In “The Master and his Emissary”, Iain McGilchrist writes, in the context of the left and right hemispheres, about tendons, longing, muscles, and joints:

“‘sinew’ used to refer to the whole elastic union of muscle and tendon.” (p. 203)

and in Mental flexors and extensors, I likened the two hemispheres to two muscles:

“we need to understand the ‘flexors’ and ‘extensors’ of brain operation, and we need to identify their respective contribution to the balance in everyday behaviors.”

(It may sound implausible that I had not read these passages before writing my stuff, given that I have so often mentioned McGilchrist, but as a slow EFL reader, I still have not worked through all of this 500+ English pages tome.)

Two lightbulbs symbolizing an idea, and a CTRL+C / CTRL + V clipboard in between.

Added 2021-07-06:

4. Lakoff and Johnson wrote about spatial metaphors:

“Lakoff hypothesises that principles of abstract reasoning may have evolved from visual thinking and mechanisms for representing spatial relations that are present in lower animals.” (Wikipedia entry Cognitive linguistics).

and in Spatial word roots are most prolific, I wrote about my unprofessional etymological map:

“If you stroll around the word roots on my map and explore their verbose definitions from my etymological dictionary, you may notice yourself that the category #3, ‘Space, Position, Form’, shows particularly many items “

as well as in Prepositions and the Funnel:

“I was amazed about how much our ancestors applied their visual and kinesthetic experience of space to all sorts of other things”

Added 2021-08-29:

5. See the below pingback from my post about “limit case” in McGilchrist’s forthcoming book.

6. Also in McGilchrist’s forthcoming book, there is a lot of emphasis on the idea that relationships are more important than the things related.

“I suggest that relationships are primary, more foundational than the things related” (13:28 in the narration of the introduction to “The Matter with Things”)

This is an idea that appears in numerous places in my own writing, perhaps most centrally in section #11 of my 2016 Recognizing page, or tersely in a former (2011) Google Plus discussion reconstructed here:

“Isn’t this the connectivist view (nodes are less interesting than ties)”

I hope I left no doubt that I owe this idea to Stephen Downes and Connectivism. Even in case I occasionally forgot an explicit attribution, it should be clear from numerous other posts that my thinking draws heavily on his work.

7. Similary, some minor mentions reminded me of points I owe to Downes:

  • homunculus (30:07) — here;
  • direct perception (“directly”, 30:56) — here;

8. See the below pingback from my post about “collapsing” in McGilchrist’s forthcoming book.

Added 2023-01-04:

9. Again, these are much too recent quotes to be suspicious, but worth mentioning. Murray Shanahan writes on Dec 11, 2022:

“we should try to resist the siren call of anthropomorphism.” Because “in the case of LLMs … things can get a little blurry”

while I wrote in my 2015 post Anthropomorphic misdirection:

“When the journalists here use anthropomorphic terms for the techniques and successes of the approximations of human intelligence by AI, then they dangerously blur the border between reality and science fiction.”

And Maggie Appleton (whom I owe the pointer to Shanahan above) writes on Dec 30, 2022 about humanness that

“We can tell richly detailed stories grounded in our specific contexts”

while I wrote in my Aug 8, 2022 post Conversations with tools

“The grounding in a shared context and a known background, makes it easier for me to understand, and benefit from, [human bloggers] reactions,”

and I emphasized the individuality, subjectivity, embodiment, and grounding in reality multiple times since my 2017 post Distinctively human?

Added 2023-01-11:

10. Again, something might sound as if I had ripped it off: Today, Christina Hendricks wrote

“The link between the two [essay and thinking/understanding] can be completely severed.”

while I wrote in my Dec 28, 2022 post No Prediction:

“AI has now thoroughly separated talking from thinking.”

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2 Responses to Seeming rip-off

  1. Pingback: Limit case | x28's new Blog

  2. Pingback: Collapsing | x28's new Blog

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