Ailments Endemic among Scholars

In his 1965 book On the Shoulders of Giants, Robert K. Merton supplied a “veritable nosography and materia medica of closely identified ailments endemic among scholars and scientists.” For instance: “Denigrating Adumbrationism (or the practice of finding seeming anticipations in times long past of ideas or findings newly discovered in the present); the Correlative Anatopic or Palimpsestic Syndrome (the covering over of earlier versions of an idea by ascribing it to a comparatively recent author in whose work the idea was first encountered); an Honest Cryptomnesia (‘submerged or subliminal memory of events forgotten by the supraliminal self’ as in forgetting the source of an idea one takes to be newly one’s own); and the Obscurantist Grimgribber (the art of gobbledegook).” Now, in part because he was writing in the sixties, he missed a condition that is particularly serious among sociologists: Acute Citation-itis, the irresistible urge to cite. The graph provides the evidence.


One Response to “Ailments Endemic among Scholars”

  1. citation-itis « Says:

    […] leave a comment » Isaac Weisberg highlights the problem of citation-itis. […]

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