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Darwin-L Message Log 5:15 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<5:15>From bsinger@eniac.seas.upenn.edu  Tue Jan  4 21:20:16 1994

From: bsinger@eniac.seas.upenn.edu (Bayla Singer)
Subject: Re: Linguistics controversy
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 94 22:23:36 EST

I must agree with Ron, and apologize for a bit of sloppy thinking.  In my
post, I conflated disciplinary 'fringe-ness' with social marginality.  It
is social marginality that seems to throw up genuinely creative mavericks.
Sometimes, however, disciplinary marginality goes along with social: thus
the 'kernel of truth' behind the myth.

Nor did I really intend to evoke the flat-earth business re Columbus: I
simply wanted to wave my hand at a generality, namely, public (lay and
learned) sympathy for the maverick.  Alas, my shorthand figure was too
glib for this audience.

I also agree that we (the nonspecialist public, again) do tend to invent
marginal backgrounds for our 'heroes' where none really exist.  Edison
saved us the trouble, and created his own legend.  However, Morse and Bell
were truly marginal to the electrical-science/technology field, and was
Robert Fulton to that of steam engineering.

--bayla

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