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Topic: [HM] Does anyone recognize this description of Descartes?
Replies: 13   Last Post: May 15, 2002 8:00 PM

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Michael S. Mahoney

Posts: 27
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [HM] Does anyone recognize this description of Descartes?
Posted: May 3, 2002 7:55 PM
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I doubt that a search based on the French will turn up anything, because this
sounds like a fairly literal, indeed, word-for word (or at least
phrase-for-phrase) translation from the English. If it was cribbed from an
English source, the student was not very discriminating. The clichés at the
end show little understanding of what was on Descartes' mind at the time.
Frankly, it sounds like exactly what a student with only a brief acquaintance
with the history of philosophy would say. This student just says it in
French, and not particularly stylish French at that.

It's interesting how quickly people have jumped to the conclusion that the
passage was plagiarized. So far, no one has found a smoking gun, so perhaps
we should embrace the principle of innocent until proved guilty. I say that
in full awareness, indeed direct experience, of increasing plagiarism among


Michael S. Mahoney Department of History Princeton University 303 Dickinson Hall Princeton, NJ 08544
phone 609-258-4157 fax 609-258-5326
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