18.380 shoulders of giants

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 09:12:48 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 380.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: "Peter D. Junger" <junger_at_samsara.law.cwru.edu> (32)
         Subject: Re: 18.377 Google Scholar

   [2] From: "Jim Marchand" <marchand_at_uiuc.edu> (8)
         Subject: On the Shoulders of Giants

         Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 08:58:49 +0000
         From: "Peter D. Junger" <junger_at_samsara.law.cwru.edu>
         Subject: Re: 18.377 Google Scholar

"Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.u
k>)" writes:

: --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------
: Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 08:23:54 +0000
: From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
: :
: Google Scholar has chosen as its motto, "Stand on the shoulders of giants".
: Since only two days ago I ran across what seems likely to be the best work
: on that phrase anywhere, I thought I'd pass on the reference. You never
: know -- you might want to quote it when discussing the way we tend to think
: these days. Anyhow, you should know, if this phrase grabs you, that Isaac
: Newton's use of it, in a letter to Robert Hooke, 5 February 1676, is not
: the first. Newton didn't invent it. A.C. Crombie, in his magnificent
: 3-volume Styles of Scientific Thinking in the European Tradition (London:
: Duckworth, 1994), p. 25, n. 37, traces it back to the 12th Century, to
: Bernard of Chartres, as reported by John of Salisbury (who refers to dwarfs
: perched on the shoulders of giants) and relates it to William of Conches'
: gloss on Priscian, "quanto juniores, tanto perspicaciores". (For this
: phrase Google Scholar suggested I might have been intending to type
: "quanto juniors, tanto perspicacious".) "He said well that the moderns are
: able to see better than the ancients but are not wiser", Crombie comments.
: Yours,
: WM

Surely that depends on what you mean by "best." To my mind the
best such work, and surely the best work by a sociologist, is
"On the Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript" by Robert K.

Peter D. Junger--Case Western Reserve University Law School--Cleveland, OH
   EMAIL: junger@samsara.law.cwru.edu    URL:  http://samsara.law.cwru.edu
          NOTE: junger_at_pdj2-ra.f-remote.cwru.edu no longer exists
         Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 08:59:25 +0000
         From: "Jim Marchand" <marchand_at_uiuc.edu>
         Subject: On the Shoulders of Giants
I think we may be finding out something about google's mining
techniques here, Willard. The "best work on that phrase" is Robert
Merton's On the Shoulders of Giants, and I am sure that Crombie,
scholar that he is, will have referred to it.  It was Merton, BTW,
who invented such words as otsoggery `too much use of footnotes',
palimpsesting syndrome `the originator of the phrase/idea/notion is
the last person one heard say it'. I always called this a
Received on Sat Nov 27 2004 - 04:18:21 EST

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