• Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    I don’t understand the distinction you are making.

    Can you give me an example passage from the codex that is too “personal” and rephrase it in the tone you think it should be? When I look through for ways to make things less personal, all I see are opportunities to falsely claim my own views as indisputable facts, which seems like it would be much worse.
  • jkg20
    382
    Allow me, let us take the following paragraph of yours:

    But I am not saying to automatically reject all claims made by all authorities. I am not saying that everything every religion claims is wrong, be they claims about reality or ones about morality; nor that everything teachers teach in schools is wrong, or that you should disregard all laws put forth by all governments. I am actually very much in favor of defering to expert opinion on matters about which you have little information with which to form your own opinion. By rejecting appeals to authority, I am only saying to hold all such opinions merely tentatively, remaining open to question and doubt. If you are unsure of the answer to a question yourself, and some particular individual or institution claims to have looked into it extensively and become very confident in the truth of some answer, I think it's fine to tentatively accept their opinion as probably the right one, for lack of any better reason to think one way or another.

    Here is a first draft depersonalised version:

    The recommendation is not, though, to reject out of hand every claim made by any authority. In cases where we lack information, or even the resources to obtain it, we may have good reasons to defer to the testimony of an expert, the legislation of a government or the edict of a pope. However, deference should neither become, nor be confused with reverence. Everyone, no matter their expertise or power, remains fallible.
  • jkg20
    382
    And if you can't resist personalising it a bit, perhaps amend the final sentence to:
    Everyone, no matter their expertise or power, remains fallible, even me.
    Edit: strictly speaking, grammar requires that "even me" be "even I", but that seems inelegant. Anyway, as I say, this is just a first draft which you should feel free to flush away like a used sheet of toilet paper.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    jkg20 beat me to it ...

    Bingo! :up:
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Thanks for that. I hope to have time to work on this a bit later tomorrow, so I'll save this for then.

    Also got the girlfriend finally reading/proofreading it; she's not interested in philosophy and so hadn't read it until I pressed her to read the first part of the intro a few days ago, but I asked her if I can try to teacher her philosophy while she teaches me to be a better writer by collaborating on this, and she's tentatively agreed and given me partial notes on the intro already.
  • jkg20
    382
    You're welcome. I wish you well. Maybe you can find some better midground between the harsh austereness of my paragraph, and the somewhat apologetic softness of yours.
    When I look through for ways to make things less personal, all I see are opportunities to falsely claim my own views as indisputable facts
    There is always a danger in philosophy of presenting a statement as truth when in fact it is false, or at least dubitable. With the possible exception of Socrates, who asked questions rather than made statements, I can think of no philosopher who avoided doing so. However, if the statement concerned is preceded by good arguments or reasoning for believing it to be true, it would be a very sensitive person indeed who would be affronted in any way by your audacity in passing it off as a truth. They might take it on as a challenge to prove you wrong, but is not that precisely one thing that we should be inviting as writers of philosophy? In any case, if you want to hedge a statement, whilst occassionally an "in my opinion" or "as far as I can see" might be just what you need, there are usually always impersonal alternatives to try out for size.
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