Between Scientists & Citizens

Posts Tagged ‘hedging

How to insult

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Judith Curry has recently brought up both the Bard and insults–a thought-provoking intersection.

Once upon Shakespeare’s time, the art of disagreement was pursued with elegance.  Degrees of challenge were measured out by the book, as one of his characters explains:

as thus, sir. I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier’s beard: he sent me word, if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the mind it was: this is called the Retort Courteous.  If I sent him word again ‘it was not well cut,’ he would send me word, he cut it to please himself: this is called the Quip Modest.  If again ‘it was not well cut,’ he disabled my judgment: this is called the Reply Churlish.  If again ‘it was not well cut,’ he would answer, I spake not true: this is called the Reproof Valiant.  If again ‘it was not well cut,’ he would say I lied: this is called the Counter-cheque Quarrelsome: and so to the Lie Circumstantial and the Lie Direct.

As You Like It V.4

Alas, we’ve mostly lost that art, especially in the blogosphere.  Disagreements proceed pretty quickly to the Lie Direct.  That’s dull!  Let’s review the wisdom of Touchstone the Fool to recover more sophisticated practices.

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Written by jeangoodwin

August 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Morano Analysis #2: Hedging

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I closed the first post by noting that Maslin seems to feel that Morano is attacking him–specifically, that Morano has accused scientists (including, presumably, him) of lying. There are a variety of other linguistic markers in this brief exchange that reinforce this picture of Maslin as  the weak victim responding to another’s aggression:  the hedges with which Maslin prefaces many of his remarks.

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Written by jeangoodwin

March 8, 2010 at 8:56 am

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