yotg discussion (spoilers)

amaebi at iwon.com amaebi at iwon.com
Wed Jan 10 01:44:14 EST 2001


Philip Belben said:

>
>"e ducare"?  I once took issue with a classicist on that one, and he waffled
>a
>lot but shed very little light, so I shall throw it into open discussion.

To the best of my knowledge, Philip is correct that this is a [famous] false
etymology.

>
> I agree with
>"dwarves on the shoulders of giants" [1].... 
>
>[1] Another digression.  Who the heck said that?  I've looked it up several
>times, and promptly forgotten the answer each time.  It is often attributed
>to
>Newton, probably because he quoted it out of context to annoy Hooke, but
>it is
>actually much older.  Bacon?  Grosseteste?  Any offers??

The philosopher sociologist Robert K. MErton asked this same question about
forty years ago, and wrote about it in an astonishingly interesting book
entitled _On the Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript_. It is Shandean
in its pace and structure, by the way. 

He didn't come up with a definitive answer, and, as he remarks at amusing
length, this is quite appropriate for this quotation!

Mary Ann
embarking on a month of 15-hour workdays without extra pay

(No doubt I'll make such remarks on Year of the Griffin as I have, some
day....)





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