• Joseph Walsh
    18
    How do I avoid gobbledygook writing? What are some examples of famous philosophers with gobbledygook writing? I would like to know because my writing tends to come across that way.

    Another point of discussion is: what is the most effective way to write possible?
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    In general:

    Try to keep things as simple as you can while still expressing what you need to express.

    Keep in mind that readers don't necessarily have the same background as you, the same views as you, and they might not define terms the same way that you do. So provide context, and provide definitions when useful.

    Keep your writing logical and focused. Progress from a set of premises or a thesis to a conclusion via some logical progression. It doesn't necessarily have to be in the vein of a formal argument, but there should be at least an informal flow to it. Remove tangents that aren't necessary for the central argument. If your thesis incorporates even a handful of different issues, especially if there is controversy about some of them, consider breaking things up into separate papers/threads/comments.
  • StreetlightX
    3.4k
    Write how you would speak to a room. The room is full of your friends who are mildly interested in what you have to say.
  • Baden
    7.5k
    What are some examples of famous philosophers with gobbledygook writing?Joseph Walsh

    Hegel. But he did it like a pro. Derrida has been accused of same.
  • Baden
    7.5k
    what is the most effective way to write possible?Joseph Walsh

    Read lots of good clear writing. You'll likely end up absorbing a lot of the positives of the style.
  • Joseph Walsh
    18
    So construct context over what you know?
    Make logical structure?
    Remove tangents?
    And create smaller essays of a large controversy to break down ideas?
  • Joseph Walsh
    18
    I need to get over a dislike of conversational writing. I am used to reading Hegel and Kant so my writing could be due to who I read. Perhaps I could overcome this by reading easier philosophers.
  • Joseph Walsh
    18
    Derrida looks like he is full of himself. haha
  • Joseph Walsh
    18
    You are what you eat.
  • petrichor
    40
    Bertrand Russell demonstrates clear writing in his essays. No gobbledygook. One such essay:

    link

    Heidegger on the other hand...
  • I like sushi
    297
    Heidegger and Derrida are the main two I’ve come across. Both use several pages to say something they could’ve said in one. I can kind of forgive Derrida though as he is actively looking at this very thing in his writing. I still think he did himself moe harm than good by purposefully trying to be obscure.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    One piece of advice often given to authors is "Write so that it would be understandable to a reasonably intelligent 10 year-old." Keeping that in mind can help you keep things relatively simple, straightforward and help you remember to explain things sufficiently.
  • StreetlightX
    3.4k
    I need to get over a dislike of conversational writing. I am used to reading Hegel and Kant so my writing could be due to who I read. Perhaps I could overcome this by reading easier philosophers.Joseph Walsh

    No, don't lower your standards of reading so you can write better! The trick is to write about these very tough philosophers and what they say in a way that's clear and comprehensible: that's when you know you understand them - when you can 'translate' their terms into ones you have mastery over. Read the hard philosophers - make them easy(ier).
  • unenlightened
    3.3k
    What is Gobbledygook?

    I would think it is any language one does not understand. In which case the paradigm speaker of Gobbledygook is the parrot. And all that is required to avoid parroting is rigorous honesty. Speak whereof you know and understand, and no gooks will gobble.
  • T Clark
    3.1k


    Others have given a lot of good ideas.

    • I agree with @Terrapin Station and @StreetlightX - use everyday language to the extent you can. You don't really understand something until you can put it in your own words. Don't use jargon unless what you want to say can't be expressed otherwise.
    • As TS also said "provide context, and provide definitions when useful." It's amazing how far into a discussion you can get with disagreements primarily coming from differences in word definitions. Philosophers love to make up new words.
    • As you said, keep it relatively short unless it really needs to be long. I often just don't read a long Original Post if it's too long and I'm not specifically interested in the subject. You can lay out your primary argument in the OP and then add more as the discussion proceeds.
    • @Baden said to read lots of good clear writing. There is a of that here on the the forum. There is also some crap. If you write just like me, you'll win all your arguments and everyone will love you.
  • Jake
    1.3k
    How do I avoid gobbledygook writing?Joseph Walsh

    Wait, not so fast. Gobbledygook becomes logical once you realize how limited the medium really is, because to do otherwise is to transform the nexus of inescapable paradigms in to socially conscious vectors of imaginative spectral patterns consisting of the glorious random patterns of which nature has been constructed for billions of years during the period in which the nothing became the something while still retaining it's nothingness throughout.
  • Jake
    1.3k
    Another point of discussion is: what is the most effective way to write possible?Joseph Walsh

    Smile, nod and agree with whatever the reader wants to hear, while pretending to be a revolutionary revealing mysterious secrets.
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