Author Topic: e-prime sucks and so do you.  (Read 17220 times)

Thurnez Isa

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #75 on: July 22, 2007, 11:36:54 pm »
http://www.nobeliefs.com/eprime.htm

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #76 on: July 23, 2007, 04:08:54 am »
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.
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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #77 on: July 23, 2007, 04:15:22 am »
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.

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #78 on: July 23, 2007, 01:11:48 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.

A scientific paper is generally layed out in this manner:

Introduction: with background, citation of previous research on the subject, etc. The very end of the introduction includes your hypothesis. This can be slightly interpretive up to the hypothesis, but after that, everything needs to be objective till your conclusion

Methods: This is how you set up the experiment, what materials were used, etc. This is also objective

Results: Objective display of what happened. Includes graphs, tables, statistics, etc.

Discussion: Whereas you discuss the results. Can include e', but should have as little new information as possible. Often includes reasons for data variability and error.

Conclusion: in which you tie the whole of the paper together.

And usually, right at the beginning there is an abstract, telling you the general contents of the paper.
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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #79 on: July 23, 2007, 01:23:05 pm »
If you use e' in your results section of a scientific paper, no professional scientist will take your seriously.

Just sayin.

How often do you make scientific conclusions compared to non-scientific conclusions though?
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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #80 on: July 23, 2007, 02:03:10 pm »
i had a semi-rant like BMWs up there waiting to be posted, but i closed the window because i thought it was too much grumpy early morning bitching. suffice to say, i agree with what BMW said.

but i should stick to that general layout more often. it's easier and more thorough than making up a logical structure yourself.

btw, you left out the "future work" section, which is IMO a prime e-prime candidate (heh) because it basically consists of speculations (which you'd love to research but it's been long enough and you're past the deadline already).
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e-prime disclaimer: let it seem fairly unclear I understand the apparent subjectivity of the above statements. maybe.

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #81 on: July 23, 2007, 02:29:02 pm »
eventually there comes a point where most definitive statements stop working

'is' is a fallacy in most situations


the word carries connotations of static and rigidity - two things that are very uncommon where we live


use it if it works for you
just
dont allow yourself to be fooled


unless you want to fool yourself
which is a different story altogether


science is a great way to observe things
but
the number of variables involved in any particular situation are prolly beyond our comprehension

and if they are not beyond our comprehension - then they are beyond our ability to communicate


still - the scientific process is by far the best (possibly only) approach to take to investigating one's surroundings

before it was even defined - it was prolly the default approach man was already using



its natural

defining it is almost like taking the time to define what triggers a inhale of breath to the lungs
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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #82 on: July 23, 2007, 02:32:34 pm »
BMW, the way I understand it, in a science paper, you explain the equipment used, how the experiment was performed, the methods used to obtain the results, ect.

Then you say something like, "between 12:01 and 12:07, the tacheon meter registered 5 events when under conditions X and Y" or something like that.

That's similar to e' in that you're explaining the instruments and methods used.

I agree you don't want to take it further and say, "between what seemed for me to be 12:01 and 12:07, what I assume was a tacheon meter seemingly registered 5 events when possibly under conditions X and Y, for me."

But still, you're listing the instruments and conditions.  

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #83 on: July 23, 2007, 02:51:03 pm »
yeah that was basically what nurbldorff was trying to get across in his second paragraph, i think.

it's also why i didn't post my post :) cause i based my rant upon the first paragraph and then read the second .. heh

so: the way a carefully written scientific paper is worded, is functionally equivalent to e-prime.

still i wouldn't want to use e-prime in a paper.
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e-prime disclaimer: let it seem fairly unclear I understand the apparent subjectivity of the above statements. maybe.

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #84 on: July 23, 2007, 03:02:12 pm »
Not to mention, doesn't most "hard" science do it's best to remove the observer from the experiment?

Please, don't post quantum physics bullshit at me.  I'm in no mood to explain it, again.

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #85 on: July 23, 2007, 03:07:25 pm »
to be honest, science papers just use a different approach to the same goal that e-prime uses. specifically, where e-prime has the writer use somewhat vague language when referring to personal opinion in order to emphasize that the opinion isn't necessarily fact, science publications (usually) completely removes all opinion in order to emphasize the actual facts.

so maybe science is better at e-prime than e-prime is.
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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #86 on: July 23, 2007, 03:07:46 pm »
Yes.  The same is true for social sciences.  Of course, it can be a tricky horse to ride, so it generally becomes a part of the "potential bias" section of the research.  Of course, this primarily tends to be more of an issue in qualitative research when you are dealing with focus groups and other types of anecdotal data.  
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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #87 on: July 23, 2007, 03:11:23 pm »
if a person is full of shit or has alterior motives

it comes across in their writing no matter what technique they use


there is no-prime that could save a idiot
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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #88 on: July 23, 2007, 03:29:19 pm »
so maybe science is better at e-prime than e-prime is.

In some situations. e-prime exists as a tool. It can be a useful tool sometimes. I personally find it useful when debating politics, metaphysics and pretty much anything in a blog environment. Mostly this is because any example used in those situations are often jumped on and driven to some extreme. For example, if I say "It appears to me, based on how I read the Constitution, that States should have the right to make most decisions themselves, without demands from the Feds, unless it breeches the Constitution." Usually the first Liberal reply will be "Then States should be allowed to have Slaves!!!!" (I could point to other recent examples, but I'd just as soon let that dog sleep).

When writing a technical document or a security policy, I don't use E-Prime. When sending my boss an email about why the current encryption implementation seems to be screwed up in a pilot store, I use E-Prime. The most valuable thing a writer can do is communicate the best semantics to get across their ideas. Sometimes E-Prime gets in the way of that goal. Sometimes it facilitates that goal. A writer should know their tools and know when they're useful. 

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Re: e-prime sucks and so do you.
« Reply #89 on: July 23, 2007, 03:53:05 pm »
I thought e-prime was illustrative?  Kind of like the Law of Fives, this is an example of how the brain can be fooled by semantics etc...I didn't know people actually did it, all the time.


I used to do it all the time. 


I still think E-prime is an excellent creative and analytical device—much like the idea of the Law of Fives only less nebulous and with prescriptive qualities.

I've heard it mostly being used in the context of writing but IMO, applying it to live conversation has much more interesting results. Even if only due to the fact that by putting more energy into a social encounter you tend to get more out of it.

Although you save face by keeping it to writing at first, the looser rules of the spoken word make it much easier carry out. 

What I extract from E-Prime isn't so much "increasing my subjectivitay" as much as vivifying my language in an invisible and often compelling way. By combining it with a confident tonality in debate people often get disarmed, flustered, or utterly sold. I've attributed, maybe wrongly, winning many skirmishes with my professors to the E.

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