The Little Book of Plagiarism by Richard A. Posner

By Richard A. Posner

A concise, vigorous, and bracing exploration of a subject matter bedeviling our cultural landscape–plagiarism in literature, academia, track, artwork, and film–by certainly one of our such a lot influential and debatable felony students. Best-selling novelists J. okay. Rowling and Dan Brown, well known historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose, Harvard legislations professor Charles Ogletree, first novelist Kaavya Viswanathan: all have rightly or wrongly been accused of plagiarism–theft of highbrow property–provoking common media punditry. yet what precisely is plagiarism? How has the that means of this notoriously ambiguous time period replaced through the years because of old and cultural adjustments? Is the perform at the upward thrust, or simply extra simply detectable via technological advances? How does the present marketplace for expressive items tell our personal knowing of plagiarism? Is there relatively one of these factor as “cryptomnesia,” the subconscious, accidental appropriation of another’s paintings? What are the mysterious causes and curious excuses of plagiarists? What kinds of punishment and absolution does this “sin” elicit? what's the sturdy in particular types of plagiarism?

Provocative, insightful, and notable for its readability and forthrightness, The Little ebook of Plagiarism is an analytical journey de strength in small, the paintings of “one of the pinnacle twenty felony thinkers in America” (Legal Affairs), a uncommon jurist well known for his adventuresome mind and bold iconoclasm.

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For Bratman, certain questions seem naturally to follow from intention as a state of mind. For example, he considers that a theory of future intentions needs to explain ‘why we ever bother to form them’, but here Bratman assumes that we do form intentions. Whilst naturally I can decide to have an intention (as I can decide to visit Mercury) my decision is neither necessary nor sufficient for intentional action nor is a held intention produced from it; indeed nothing needs to be added to the fact that I have made a decision to form an intention.

In succeeding, the agent has intentionally made the ten copies but there is no corresponding knowledge of his success (of the non-observational or any other kind). But, for Anscombe, non-observational knowledge is not something ‘exercised’ to tell us what we are doing; it is rather present as intentional action. That the intentional action coincides with our non-observational knowledge is, in all cases, a tautological truth. Her problem in accommodating Davidson’s example does not reflect flaws in her account of non-observational knowledge; rather it is a feature of Anscombe’s too restrictive position on intentional action, one that ties it to (motivational) reason only.

For a convincing account of why reasons might not have this power see Hacker (alluding to Wittgenstein’s example); ‘Suppose I form the decision to pull the bell rope at five o’clock (I want to call the butler and believe that by pulling the rope I shall do so). The clock strikes five. Should I now wait patiently for my arm to go up? ’ Peter Hacker, Human Nature: the Categorical Framework (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010) 272. Of course this issue cannot be dealt with in any great depth here although the account of intentional action to be proposed certainly rules out the idea that intentions can cause anything.

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