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Intellectual sloppiness

November 25, 2008

After having written a paper today for the finals and reading a review of another book, I can’t help thinking as to how intellectual sloppiness is becoming more pervasive in the academy. Haven’t read the works of some professors in my field and tangential to my field, it made me wonder whether they have always been this unsophisticated in their intellectual work, or has tenured made them complacent and intellectually lazy?  I like to think it may be the latter, as to do rigorous work requires rigorous research and substantive arguments rather than merely throwing the victim to the dogs.  However, after reading this article, it my make sense as to how so many with questionable rigour managed to make it to the ranks of the professoriate. I just read a rather good review on the book Scrutinizing Feminist Epistemology, forwarded by my professor to my class. The author did a good job of holding the authors to their arguments and in demanding rigour from them. It is a very long review since it tries to give a fair airing to as many of the essays in the book. However, I wished she had spent a little bit more time on the good essays which give a reasoned critique rather than tearing up essays that are already obviously logically fallacious, historically inept and lack ethical approaches.

On a different note, I still have 2 1/2 more weeks to work on 2 essays so I’ve better get cracking, particularly as I haven’t had time to read most of the necessary texts I need to use 😦

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 31, 2008 9:36 am

    Thanks for this reflection, Clarissa — the Chronicle article is particularly illuminating. I was wondering, though, if you could clarify what you mean by the following:

    [Having] read the works of some professors in my field and tangential to my field, it made me wonder whether they have always been this unsophisticated in their intellectual work, or has tenured [sic] made them complacent and intellectually lazy?

    Exactly what aspects of this scholarship strike you as “unsophisticated”? How did they come across as “intellectually lazy”?

    I don’t disagree with your assessment (I’m hardly familiar with any of the work produced in your field of study), but I also would like to get a better understanding of your critique of academic professionalism.

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