Author Topic: e-prime sucks and so do you.  (Read 17210 times)

B_M_W

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #135 on: August 03, 2007, 09:39:59 pm »
I'd say e-prime is mostly useful as an exercise and possibly as a tool, something to consider now and then as you speak or write (or think?). Though he didn't "invent" e-prime as such, Korzybski did point out the dangers of identifying different levels of abstraction with each other, something easily done using the "is of identity". The problem isn't solved just by avoiding the word "is", but it might be one way of making yourself aware of that you're identifying. Using e-prime all the time seems pointless though.

BMW: how would using E-prime make your writing less objective? I agree that scientific papers are rarely, if ever, written in strict e-prime, but on the other hand, I'd say they're a fair bit more e-primey than a typical newspaper. Lots of "we interpret as", "this indicates that", "is regarded as" etc... Generally, e.g. the bit where the experiment is described, "is" is abundant, as mostly this is a list of techniques used. But when the results are reported and discussed, the wordings usually gets much more careful, with "is" tempered with stuff like "in general", "under this/that assumption", etc. Although not e-prime by definition, it has much the same effect.

The RESULTS section, RESULTS people! As in you are reporting the direct results of whatever experiment you performed! There is not supposed to be ANY interpretation in results, only straight forward reporting with as little subjectivity as possible. Interpretation goes in your discussion and conclusion. If you fail to do this, not only does no one take you seriously, but you fail your scientific writing course.


While I agree that in an ideal world, this should be the case (and it's certainly what you should aim for), I don't think it's even possible to report results without in some way interpreting them. To start with, you always have some preconceived notion of what you're observing. This means you'll always be selective in what you see in the data. Then, you choose how to represent these data; plotting them or whatever. Rarely do not report ALL your data, but restrict yourself to what seems "relevant" or "meaningful", or your paper will likely be unreadable. There are always subjective choices and while those choices should be reported and motivated, it's practically impossible to be exhaustive, if not else because you're probably not aware of all of them.

That's why I think it's good to be somewhat careful about language even in your "results" section, because, if nothing else, it might draw attention to the fact that even the raw data went through the brains of real people on the way to publication. Even in a "hard" science as experimental physics (my field). I'm not saying it because otherwise, everyone else will interpret it as THE TROOF. I just think it's plain good for YUO.

As far as I know, e' is a way of saying something, not deciding what or what not to say.
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nurbldoff

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #136 on: August 05, 2007, 11:56:48 pm »
Sure, but its purpose is (IMHO) to make you think about what you're saying, which, in turn, is likely to result in choices about what you will say. E-prime seems intended more as a tool to help make you conscious of your own assumptions etc, than a standardized way of expressing yourself.
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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #137 on: August 06, 2007, 12:05:58 am »
It sounds more like a big, steaming pile of ISO-9000-ish bullshit, to me.

It's crap.  Meaningless semantics.

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