Skip to main content

Clarity: An Intellectual Standard

Clarity is an intellectual standard the need for which I am keenly aware of. I have given two conference presentations this year and as a graduate student often write papers on specialized topics. And in my own writing and speech, I find clarity at times elusive.

It is, of course, no secret that many academics have struggled to express themselves clearly. At times, it is even suggested that this is due to true ignorance or, worse, dishonesty. Thus the necessity for both clarity as well as honesty as intellectual standards. (Comments welcome in regard to any academics/writers you may be familiar with who are fine specimens of unclear writing).

So all of these thoughts lead me to the following four points about the intellectual standard of clarity:

1. Readers and listeners (i.e., receptors of information) always want clarity. But writers and presenters (i.e., transmitters of information) could be threatened by clarity.

2. Thus the phenomenon of obfuscation in academic writing. Sometimes academics really are avoiding saying or writing what they mean.

3. Many times, however, it is simply a fault of knowing how to express oneself. Thus the necessity of peer review, proofreading, and other forms of feedback in order to improve style and facility of expression. Oh, and if you already have a PhD and think that solves it, get over yourself. It's a process of continual improvement.

4. If you cannot say what you want to write (or write what you want to say) in non-specialized terms, then you either 1) have nothing to say or 2) do not yet yourself understand what you want to say and, thus, should say nothing. The only possible exception to this point is the necessity of certain specialized terms; yet I say "possible" exception because I am not sure it really exists, for even specialized terms can eventually be explained in easier, clearer terms.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Movie Review: A Better Life - Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part review of A Better Life. The first part dealt more with the background issue of illegal immigration, whereas this part focuses more on the movie itself.

In the movie, neither the undocumented immigrants (representative of all the undocumented, but particularly those with upright motives) nor the police (representative of the legal system, including courts, prisons, and immigration) is entirely at fault. Both are stuck in an imperfect, human system.

The viewer is led to sympathize with the undocumented man, an honest landscaper who wants nothing but to work hard so that his one son can have a better life. He’s away from home; his wife left him when his son was little; he has next to nothing; when he does acquire something (a lawn business and pickup with equipment) it gets stolen from him. And yet, the movie does not excuse what he does wrong nor does it try to show him as a man victimized and ruined by the consequences of his actions.

Apart fr…

教会に影響を与えるために神様が用いる人々の九つの特徴

Read this in English.

これらの9つの特性は、アンドルーボナーから来る。説教でそれらを議論する私の牧師を聞きながら、コピーしたので、ボナーの何本から来たのは覚えていません。これらはクリスチャンに対してとても大事の本質ではないでしょうか。

教会に影響を与えるために神様が用いる人々は次の特徴がある...

1.まじめな人
2.成功を目標する人
3.信仰を持つ人
4.勤勉な人
5.忍耐強い人
6.大胆な人
7.祈る人
8.強力な教義の人
9.深くに清新な人

黒澤監督の『隠し砦の三悪人』

今週初めて黒澤明の『隠し砦の三悪人』という映画を見ました。この三悪人とは、だれですか? 三船敏郎が演じる真壁六郎太(まかべろくたろう)と二人の百姓です。この3人の登場人物の関係はとても面白くて、全ての人間の弱さも愛される性質も示します。

最後の場面で、二人の百姓、太平(千秋実)と又七(藤原釜足)、姫と真壁からもらった金1枚をどうやって分けるかと黙っていて、太平は又七に任そうとしていても又七は断ります。いつもケンカしているこの二人は、後で再びケンカしてしまうと思われますけれども、取りあえずまた仲良くなって幸いです。