How to Make the Case for an Article’s Publication

This is another item that I am re-posting from Futility Closet (www.futilitycloset.com). It is re-posted with the permission of Greg Ross, who maintains the site. You can have daily updates from the site delivered to your e-mail each morning.

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In 1990, Spanish philosopher Jon Perez Laraudogoitia submitted an article to Mind entitled “This Article Should Not Be Rejected by Mind.”

In it, he argued:

1. If statement 1 in this argument is trivially true, then this article should be accepted.

2. If statement 1 were false, then its antecedent (“statement 1 in this argument is trivially true”) would be true, which means that statement 1 itself would be true, a contradiction. So statement 1 must be true.

3. But that seems wrong, since Mind is a serious journal and shouldn’t publish trivial truths.

4. That means statement 1 must be either false or a non-trivial truth. We know it can’t be false (#2), so it must be a non-trivial truth, and its antecedent (“statement 1 in this argument is trivially true”) is false.

5. What then is the truth value of its consequent, “this article should be accepted”? If this were false then Mind shouldn’t publish the article; that can’t be right, since the article consists of a non-trivial truth and its justification.

6. So the consequent must be true, and Mind should publish the article.

They published it.

“This is, I believe, the first article in the whole history of philosophy the content of which is concerned exclusively with its own self, or, in other words, which is totally self-referential,” Laraudogoitia wrote. “The reason why it is published is because in it there is a proof that it should not be rejected and that is all.”

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My previous re-posts from Futility Closet have included:

“But Should It Count toward Promotion and Tenure”: http://academeblog.org/2013/05/21/but-would-it-count-toward-promotion-and-tenure/

“Another Item of Ironic Scholarship from Futility Closet”: http://academeblog.org/2013/05/26/another-item-on-ironic-scholarship-from-futility-closet/

“Odd Library Subject Headings”: http://academeblog.org/2013/06/03/odd-library-subject-headings/

“Herein Lies Another Route to Madness”: http://academeblog.org/2013/06/07/herein-lies-yet-another-route-to-madness/

“How-To Books That Make One Wonder Why”: http://academeblog.org/2013/06/18/how-to-books-that-make-one-wonder-why/

“Higher Ed’s Version of the Great Imposter”: http://academeblog.org/2013/06/20/higher-eds-version-of-the-great-impostor/

“ A Significant Portion of Someone’s Life Was Devoted to Writing Each of These Books”: http://academeblog.org/2013/08/26/a-significant-portion-of-someones-life-was-devoted-to-writing-each-of-these-books/

“Making Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow a Little Less Mundane”: http://academeblog.org/2013/08/19/making-yesterday-today-and-tomorrow-a-little-less-mundane/

“Parsing the Paradoxical Nature of Politics”: http://academeblog.org/2013/12/09/parsing-the-paradoxical-nature-of-politics/

3 responses

  1. Pingback: Plagiarism and Cryptomnesia | Academe Blog

  2. Pingback: Taking Literary Minimalism to Its Endpoint | Academe Blog

  3. Pingback: A Postscript to One-Word Poems: A Poem without Words—from the Academe Archives No Less | Academe Blog

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