Language: November 2005 Archives

In a summary section before a reading on Plato in her Voices of Ancient Philosophy, Julia Annas has the following sentence about Plato (p.235):

He always avoids writing from authority in his own person, since it is important to him that the reader think about ideas for herself rather than accept them on the writer's authority.

Did Plato really expect women to be reading his dialogues? I kind of doubt it. If not, this sentence seems as bad as "If anyone is a misogynist, she might have a hard time accepting women as equal to men." Plato might have thought it would be within the realm of possibility that women would read his work, but it might also be within the realm of possibility that a woman could be a misogynist. It's not as bad as, "Anyone considering having an abortion really ought to think through his reasons for doing so before acting rashly", but it still seems to me to be the wrong sort of place for inclusive language. It's when the speaker genuinely intends to include people who are female that alternating, inclusive, or whatever sort of device meant not to sound exclusively male is appropriate.

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Christian Carnival XCIV is at Wittenberg Gate. Dory is in need of future hosts, so if you're interested follow her link at the top of the post. The Bible Archive is doing a series on Genesis. I especially want to direct your attention to his nice post on what Genesis 1 does say. All the debates about how to interpret the days and whether it's consistent with evolution easily distract from what the passage is about to begin with, and Rey brings our attention back to that. If you want to see his summary on those other issues, it's here, but why is our focus so often not what the focus of the text is? Walter Snyder has a good explanation of how it is that Bible publishers can justify charging royalties for the use of what is God's word (and thus should be free). [Hat tip: ESV Bible Blog] Belgium declares names and titles to be no longer capitalized. Well, I guess it's just politically incorrect names and titles. Actually, they've just singled out 'christ' and 'jew'* just to show how arbitrary they can be. Or is this arbitrary? [Hat tip: Sam] *Well, for 'Jew' it's only when the reference is religious rather than ethnic; if ethnic, it's still capitalized.

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