Monday, April 30, 2012

The Page

"Intention draws a bold, black line across an otherwise white field."
Ben Lerner

When we sit down to write we face, if not a literally blank page, then at least the blank spaces on the page, the part of the text that has yet to be written. If we are disciplined, we knew already the night before what we were going to be writing about. We even knew what we were going to say. And yet somehow an open space, a white field, lies before us.

The anxiety that we face here comes, primarily, from two sources. First, we are aware that our writing will stand in some relation to the world, second, that it will be directed at a reader. The reader will determine whether or not what we say makes sense; the world will determine whether or not it is true. If the problem were to fill a completely open space, a completely white field, a totally blank page, with words that mean something and are true, then we would not know where to begin. Fortunately, the page is structured for us in advance. Not only does it occupy a position between the world and the reader: the world and the reader themselves are structured.

Across the blank page, then, we can draw a line. We can isolate the paragraph we are working on and ask ourselves whether it belongs to the background section, the theory section, the methods section, or the analysis section. Will we tell the reader what we knew in advance, what we expected to find, how we went about our study, or what we learned there? This directs our efforts at a particular area of the reader's mind (a particular nexus of the reader's knowledge and the reader's ignorance) and simplifies the problem. It gives our words particular goals to accomplish. And once we have isolated the relevant paragraph, once we have defined the particular problem of our writing at the moment, we can remind ourselves that solving it means writing about six sentences, one of which will make our claim and the rest of which will support it.

The page then is not blank after all. It is a structured task. It occupies a place in the world and it is directed at others, but it is not just any random place, and it does not address just any random reader. The page brings together a "there" and a "them", and this may occasion a bit of anxiety. Writing is just the act of facing that anxiety resolutely.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Next week, I'm going to be blogging about the phenomenology of writing—what it is like to write. Maybe I should say "the psychology of writing", but I have issues with the whole discipline of psychology, the very idea of a science of the mind. It is true that, like Hemingway and Mailer (and many others), my approach assigns an important role to "the unconscious". But this should not be taken as a invitation to psychologize. This morning, I'll take a first stab at explaining what I mean.

Back in the early twentieth century, inspired by their reading of Søren Kierkegaard, the existentialists drew attention to the fundamental place of "anxiety" (Angst) in our experience of the world. Heidegger describes it as a "basic state of mind" that "provides the phenomenal basis for explicitly grasping ... the primordial totality of Being" that our individual existence is rooted in (H. 182). Anxiety is not seen as a pathology but as a basic condition. It is not something to be cured or avoided, but something to be faced, as Heidegger would say, "resolutely". Indeed, "the world as such is that in the face of which one has anxiety" (H. 186).

Now, you don't of course have to be an existentialist in order to write well. But I think it is important to understand that when we face "the page" (for most people, this means the computer screen) we are are facing "a world", and we therefore experience our anxiety in a fundamental way. Heidegger ties anxiety to Being-in-the-world and, through this, to "the they", Being-with-others. Anxiety worries that we are "nothing and nowhere", that there is no "place" or "there" for us. It is a place that is largely determined by other people. We live, "proximally and for the most part", in a shared world.

That is precisely why a page of academic prose can inspire anxiety in the more "psychological" sense: an uneasy feeling, dread or, as Heidegger's translators suggest, "malaise" (which is a very common feeling writers face when they face the "world" implicit on their screen). Next week, then, I will get at the phenomenon of academic writing by talking about the anxiety that a blank page can (and indeed should) inspire and the resoluteness that an outline (a way of structuring that blank space) can bring about. This will not make the anxiety go away, but it will provide a "there" for the writing. A place in the world for our ideas.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What My Authors Do

When they are following my advice, the authors I work with are writing at least thirty minutes every day and at most three hours. They are working about 27 minutes at a time on a single paragraph, then taking a break, and moving on to either a new paragraph, or some other activity (not writing). They always know what they are going to be writing about before they go to bed the night before. They know what paragraph they will be writing; they know what they will say. If they've got two hours set aside for their writing on a particular day, they go to bed knowing what four paragraphs they will be writing. They know what four claims they will be offering support for.

This makes my authors happy. For a writer, happiness is knowing that tomorrow you will write. Happiness does not follow automatically from writing, nor from a vague hope that you will write, which is too easily undermined by the equally vague worry that you will not. You must simply know that you will write and what you will write. This means that you must believe it, and your belief must be true. But your belief must also be justified. And in this case the only way to justify your belief that you will write tomorrow is by appeal to your habit of writing what and when you said would write. You know you will write tomorrow if you've planned to write tomorrow and your plan is realistic and you have the basic discipline to stick to your plan.

My authors also make steady progress on their writing projects. Every thirty minutes they produce or significantly improve about six sentences, 100-200 words, i.e., a paragraph. Even if they work only 30 minutes a day in a given a week, they might write a thousand words. That's one eighth of a journal article. They also find their ideas coming together in an orderly way around the topics they are writing about. They therefore read more effectively too.

Finally, my writers are continuously improving as writers. They are improving in the same way that someone who runs every day is getting into better shape and someone who plays the piano every day is becoming a better a pianist. Their prose is getting stronger and truer, better able to express their ideas precisely. Indeed, their ideas are getting more precise and my authors are getting a more accurate sense of what their words mean. That's because they are working at addressing themselves to their intended audience and it is ultimately the reader who decides what your words mean. My authors are comfortable with that fact.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What I Do

I help scholars develop in the craft of writing, and I advise university administrators about how to build stronger writing cultures. While I do sometimes talk to undergraduates and their teachers about academic writing, I work mainly with PhD students and faculty. This morning I thought I would take a few minutes to explain what this work involves.

The most important thing is to get scholars and their administrators to see writing as a practical problem to be solved by organizational means, i.e., managing the writing process. Scholars have a finite amount of time to accomplish a range of tasks, and one of those tasks is to publish their results. In one sense, then, writing is just one task among many. But as the slogan "Publish or perish!" suggests, it is also an existential dimension of research. Scholars who don't write aren't really being themselves.

The importance of writing for the progress of an academic career, that is, fosters a close connection between writing and identity. The quality of the writing process has deep, but sometimes unacknowledged, effects on a scholar's sense of self. What I do is to convert the resulting anxiety into useful energy. It is precisely because writing is universally acknowledged to be important, by scholars themselves and by their peers and administrators, that it can be given high priority.

As I said on Monday, my approach begins with a shift of focus from the problem of "getting published" to the problem of submitting work for review. The immediate goal must not be to have a particular impact on the literature but to submit work to that literature on a regular basis. (The well-known principle here is "If you want to increase your amount of publications, you have to increase your amount of rejections.") I have a variety of ways of showing authors that they can produce a paragraph at a time, thirty minutes at a time. If they work in this way on a daily basis, their prose will get stronger. They will write more effectively in the long run.

On the ground, then, I help authors outline their writing projects and develop weekly writing schedules. I also serve as a coach over a number of weeks (usually 8 or 16) to keep the process running, and as a kind of motivational speaker, holding talks and seminars for academic departments. In some cases, I provide editing services and language instruction. I also talk to deans and department heads about how best to make such support available to their staff, and advise them about the development and implementation of publication strategies.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anecdote and Evidence

Andrew Gelman has a written a detailed post about Karl Weick's anecdote about the Hungarian soldiers in the Alps. He and I really think alike on this issue. It got me thinking about the epistemological difference between anecdotes and evidence.

While my concept of knowledge does begin with "justified, true belief" it doesn't end there. I've come to believe that knowledge, and especially "academic" knowledge, is much better understood as the ability to converse intelligently about something. Truth is a kind of norm for the things we know; if we claim to know something, convention says we are claiming it is true. In fact, some epistemologists also posit a "knowledge norm" for belief: if I believe something, I'm also claiming to know it. But another norm is that if you know something you know much more as well.

When Weick tells us the story of the soldiers in the Alps, he is, on the surface, claiming that the story is true. "This is an incident that happened," he says. By stepping into the role of the storyteller, he is claiming to know what happened. But consider that detail that Gelman emphasizes at the end of his post. Suppose he tells the story and someone who knows a bit about European geography and politics says: "What were Hungarian soldiers doing on military manoeuvres in Switzerland?" Well, if Weick really knew the story, he would have a good answer. (In fact, he would have known not to include that detail in the story.) The same goes for the possibility Engel raises, i.e., that the leader of the soldiers knew that that the map was wrong but pretended it was right.

But Weick's understanding of the story is limited to exactly the words he uses to tell it. This is the difference between merely knowing an anecdote and actually having evidence for one's beliefs. While it is sometimes suggested that nothing depends on the story being true, it seems clear to me that Weick wants us to believe it is true. I certainly think that many of his readers believe it. But very few people have looked at the evidence.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Three Principles

Many scholars correctly identify writing as one of their main problems. Solving it, however, is another matter. If you think that your writing is what is holding you back, here are three principles that might help you gain control over your writing process. Understanding these principles will not magically solve the problem, but it might guide you back on track so that your prose gets progressively stronger.

1. Focus on submission, not publication

It is natural to think of our writing as being aimed at the publication of our results. But we don't have direct control over whether or not we get published. Making publication our focus, therefore, is likely to lead to frustration, because there is no dependable connection between the effort we expend and the results they bring us. But if we shift our focus to the submission of articles, we are able to direct our efforts towards a goal that we have final control over. The process that leads to submission is entirely in our hands as writers.

2. Think in paragraphs

It is also natural to think that our writing is about our "ideas". But as Mallarmé said of poems, journal articles are ultimately not made of ideas, they are made of words. Those words need to be arranged into paragraphs. The problem with thinking about your writing in terms of your ideas is that "writing an idea down" is a very vaguely defined task. Writing about six sentences that provide support for a specific claim in under 200 words, by comparison, is a much more precise task. It can be accomplished within 30 minutes and will make a specifiable contribution to your paper. Keep in mind that your paper will consist of about 40 claims. By approaching the problem not as one of putting your ideas down on paper but of writing paragraphs, you are able to see the paper as arrangement of parts, each of which you can straightforwardly produce.

3. Appreciate your finitude

You don't have all the time in the world. And you don't have to say it all. By thinking of your writing as a process that produces paragraphs to be submitted to journals, you can put it in a manageable perspective. You can keep things in proportion. How many hours do you want to spend writing how many paragraphs to submit before what date? How much time does that give you per paragraph? Even if you don't use my 30-minute paragraph approach, you will have to divide your time so that each section (consisting of a certain number of paragraphs) gets a fair share of the total time. Then you have to spend that time as planned.

To implement these principles, I recommend working in a mildly disciplined way over a period of weeks. To get a good sense of what you are getting into, start by planning 9 hours worth of work. Decide exactly what paragraphs you are going to write in those hours, and then write them. You now have a good sense of what you are capable of. This lets you make a plan for, say, 8 weeks of concerted effort. Ultimately, you'll want a writing process that dependably produces paragraphs over something like two 16-week periods per year, devoting a maximum of 480 hours.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Belief and Orthodoxy, Part 2

I was trying to write then and I found the greatest difficulty, aside from knowing truly what you really felt, rather than what your were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel, was to put down what really happened in action; what the actual things were which produced the emotion that you experienced. In writing for a newspaper you told what happened aided by the element of timeliness which gives a certain emotion to any account of something that has happened on that day; but the real thing, the sequence of motion and fact which made the emotion and which would be as valid in a year or in ten years or, with luck and if your stated it purely enough, always, was beyond me and I was working very hard to try to get it. (Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon, 1932, p. 10)

One of the stories Hemingway may have been trying to write is "Soldier's Home". It is about a soldier who returns late from the first world war and finds that the people in his town are no longer very interested in hearing what happened there. "Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie, and after he had done this twice he, too, had a reaction against the war and against talking about it." This reminds me of Anne-Wil Harzing's disturbing study of the citation of expatriate failure rates in the literature. She found that the figure was systematically inflated. The only figure with any basis in fact is 8-11 percent, while the figure that is often is cited is 40% (sometimes even 70%). Moreover, very few researchers would cite the actual study that put a number on it. Most would cite second-hand accounts. It is not difficult to understand why people who study expatriate failure would want to cite a high figure (it makes their studies of, say, the cultural mechanisms of expatriate failure all the more "relevant"). This also resonates with Hemingway's story.

His lies were quite unimportant lies and consisted in attributing to himself things other men had seen, done or heard of, and stating as facts certain apocryphal incidents familiar to all soldiers. Even his lies were not sensational at the pool room. His acquaintances, who had heard detailed accounts of German women found chained to machine guns in the Argonne forest and who could not comprehend, or were barred by their patriotism from interest in, any German machine gunners who were not chained, were not thrilled by his stories.

By the end of the story, Krebs finds himself lying also about his love for his mother, his desire to be useful member of society, and his faith in God. This underscores the damage that his lying had already done to his character.

All of the times that had been able to make him feel cool and clear inside himself when he thought of them; the times so long back when he had done the one thing, the only thing for a man to do, easily and naturally, when he might have done something else, now lost their cool, valuable quality and then were lost themselves.
Notice the connection between "the one thing, the only thing for a man to do, easily and naturally, when he might have done something else" and "the real thing, the sequence of motion and fact which made the emotion". Here Hemingway is having one of his characters experience the same difficulties about storytelling that he himself experienced at the time. The problem is that of writing honestly.

Masterfully tongue-in-cheek, Andrew Gelman suggests that I should drive my point home with a story about a group of soldiers following a map in mountainous terrain. Perhaps I could have told the story of Krebs as though it was a true story, not a work of fiction, thereby performing the very mistake that I'm trying to warn against. And Andrew is, of course, alluding to the way Karl Weick exaggerated the "truth" of the story about those soldiers in the Alps. I like my solution: I tell the story along with some remarks about the storyteller's views on writing. This allows me to use the moral of the story in my advice for writers. (Indeed, as I show in a paper you can download here, it is possible to make a similar move with the Alps story. We can tell the story of how the story circulated among the scientists in Szent-Gyorgyi's circle, eventually ending up in a poem.) But Hemingway does allow me to invoke the joy that a good map can bring:

[Krebs] sat there on the porch reading a book on the war. It was a history and he was reading about all the engagements he had been in. It was the most interesting reading he had ever done. He wished there were more maps. He looked forward with a good feeling to reading all the really good histories when they would come out with good detail maps.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Belief and Orthodoxy, Part 1

An elementary school principal I respect a great deal said something to me once that I've never forgotten. "Formal education will never produce a genius, but with a little diligence we may destroy some." I think it is an important insight for educators to keep in mind. It should not be the aim of our schools, especially our universities, to "produce" minds of a particular kind. Rather, we should provide a context in which minds can develop in their own way, ever mindful of the risk, namely, that by being too zealous in the pursuit of particular educational goals (by being too "diligent"), we provide a context in which they cannot develop.

I don't have very much to do with teaching these days. But as the promoter of a system for the production of academic results in writing, I too should keep the risks in mind. A writing discipline, after all, will never produce a work of genius, but it just may destroy one.

So I've been reflecting a little on a couple of basic principles that must be observed as you write your papers, one paragraph at a time, 30 minutes at a time. The first is never to let this become "mere busyness" or toil. To develop the basis of a claim you know to be true in the space of a paragraph, you don't need more than 30 minutes. This will often leave you with time left over, and this time can be used to read it out loud, and to think about what you are doing. You can do it slowly enough to keep this from being an exercise in writing words for the sake of writing words.

Second, believe the claims you are making. That is, confine yourself to making claims you believe. I always emphasize this when I define knowledge as "justified, true belief". In order to know, say the philosophers, you must hold a belief, and that belief must be true, and you must have a good reason to believe it is true. It's that first condition that sometimes gets lost in this "publish or perish" world. We know what "one" says on a certain subject, even without being sure we believe it. I think if there is one sure way to undermine your sense of your own genius it is to begin to say things you know to be publishable without being sure they are true. Or even things you know to be "true" but don't understand well enough to believe.

In times when there are strong orthodoxies it can sometimes be difficult to know what to believe. Or, rather, it is all too easy to know what to believe (what the "right belief" is). It is therefore difficult to stick to statements of one's own belief. I sometimes worry that our universities, which are systems of formal education and formalized research environments, have become too orthodox. I'm sure the orthodoxies are largely true and justified. I'm just not sure we're giving each other, and ourselves, the time we need to believe in them. Because that would demand giving us the time also to doubt them. And the luxury of remaining silent.

* * *

To underscore the point: this post took me 25 minutes to write and consists of 529 words. A paragraph of academic prose is usually less than half as long. There would have been plenty of time to write about this subject more carefully.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Craft & Craftiness

One of the reasons I worry about plagiarism is that it undermines the craft of research. Paraphrase is an art. So is source criticism. It's something you learn how to do well through practice. An academic text consists of a lot of paraphrase of reliable sources, and when we see a source quoted or paraphrased or merely cited in support of a fact we know how to read it. This means that if a quotation is presented as a paraphrase, or a citation is left out (or cites the wrong text), then we are being mislead as readers.

Plagiarism is certainly also an offense against the writer from whom the material has been stolen. But I've always been more interested in the offense against the plagiarist's community of peers. This, as I always say, is a community of craftsmen. It's a community that is able to perform a range (sometimes a quite narrow range) of intellectual operations efficiently and effectively. They respect each other's ability to do this. It is always disappointing to see someone you thought was an able craftsman resort to tricks to produce a particular effect. They become merely "crafty".

As academia increasingly turns into a "game" (in the sense popularized by The Wire), its participants are increasingly likely to succumb to the cynical pleasure of "playing" it. Plagiarism is an extreme version of this. It displays a great deal of craftiness (and one can even vaguely acknowledge the thrill), but very little respect for the craft itself.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weick Plagiarism Update

Andrew Gelman, who is a steadfast critic of academic plagiarism (I discovered his blog when I was writing about Frank Fischer), has a post up that discusses my work. Also, as we can see from that post, Wikipedia's article on Weick now covers the issue as well.

I have neglected to mention that I recently published an analysis of Weick's response to my charges in the Journal of Organizational Change Management. And the editors of that issue, who include the journal's editor, Slawek Magala, offer a clear statement about why Weick's behaviour is less than exemplary: "Claiming exemption from a taxing criticism of our community bent on the growth of reliable knowledge is a fairly simple attempt to improve one’s standing, but it should not be respected."

Like me, Gelman wonders why plagiarism cases tend to fade away without being fully resolved, without a clear "finding of fact". I think he is right about the "Schroedinger's Cat" effect. In fact, there is a great deal of equivocation in organization theory, whereby stories are told without making clear whether they are allegories or anecdotes or incidents. Even when those words are used, they are not held to the relevant critical standard, whether when being written or being read. Still, contra Nick Cox, the fact that it is a "rural legend", does not excuse the fact that Weick's version is a verbatim transcription. If Malcolm Gladwell tells a familiar story in the New Yorker, I am allowed to tell it without citing him (because it's a well-known legend, etc.). But I'm not allowed to use Gladwell's words. I'm allowed to summarize the plot of Hamlet without citing everyone else who has done so. But I'm not allowed to use 144 words of some minor scholar's article on Hamlet to do it.

I'm going to use the occasion to write more about this subject this week.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The 40-Hour Challenge

Since an article consists of about forty 40 paragraphs and you should be able to write a paragraph about something you know in about 30 minutes, you should be able to draft a journal article in around 20 hours. This insight is the basis of the 40-Hour Challenge. Here's what you do.

First, plan a 40-paragraph article. You don't have to use my standard outline (3-paragraph introduction, 5-paragraph background, 5-paragraph theory, 5-paragraph method, 3 x 5-paragraph of analysis, 5-paragraph implications, 2-paragraph conclusion) but it should be something with a similar kind of a down-to-the-paragraph structure. The reason for this, of course, is that you will need to know exactly which paragraph you are going to be writing in which half hour.

Next, find 40 hours of writing time in your calendar. As much as possible, spend at least 30 minutes every working day on this challenge. Never spend more than three hours. Notice that this means you will at most devote 16-weeks (80 working days) and at least two and a half weeks. I would recommend taking the challenge over four to eight weeks, mostly working 1-2 hours a day.

Now, distribute the work of writing the paragraphs you have outlined across the first twenty of the forty hours you've given yourself. Give yourself 30 minutes (including a few minutes of revision and a short break between paragraphs) for each. Plan to spend the 21st hour reading what you have produced and deciding which paragraphs need another 30 minutes. Choose the 20 most revision-needy paragraphs and work on them over the next 10 hours.

The next step is to make an after-the-fact outline of what you have accomplished. Spend about 1 minute per paragraph deciding which sentence expresses its main point (we call this the "key sentence"). Do this in two 30-minute sessions, 20 paragraphs at a time. Do it quickly and effectively.

You can now spend five minutes on each sentence (four minutes, followed by a break) making it as sharp and clear as you can. You have a few hours left. First, make sure that the sequence of key sentences makes sense on its own (without the body of each of paragraph). Your argument should be clear from this survey of just your main points. Next, make a list of the most important defects of the text at this point. Give yourself 30 minutes to work on each of them, starting at the top of the list.

That's it. You're not finished, of course. But you've done forty hours of serious work on a paper. Knowing you can do that, make a plan for another 20 or 40 hours. That's how you'll get your ideas written down in the long run.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Process vs. Product

At one of my writing seminars yesterday, I slowly became aware that there's something I'm perhaps leaving too implicit when I talk about writing every day, one paragraph, a half-hour at a time. Participants often ask questions about how to apply this idea in accomplishing some particular writing project—a paper they've got due or a dissertation chapter their supervisor wants to see. I have to explain that what I mean by "writing process reengineering" is somewhat more longterm process, and that they should not think that they can immediately use it to realize some concrete goal over the next few weeks. In fact, what I'm suggesting is that you see your writing process as something you can, and should, develop without a particular writing project in mind.

There are some (many?) researchers who write only when they have to. This means that they are always writing some particular text, for some particular purpose, usually with some particular deadline in view. They never write just to see what they think (even when they "free write", it's as an initial stage of some project), or, even better, just to keep their prose in shape. They're never just writing, always writing something.

My view of the writing process is that it should simply be going on at all times alongside your research process. Even when you don't have a research paper or chapter to finish, you should devote time to writing your ideas down, forming them in prose. This act of "prosing" your thoughts without the immediate pressure of publishing them will be good for both your prose and your thinking. Now, since you're writing academic prose you've still got to have a clear idea of who your audience is (your peers) and you're still writing claims and supporting them, one paragraph at a time. The task remains the same. It's just the feeling you have while doing it that's somewhat different.

Then, when you need to "write something", i.e., produce a text for some given occasion, and this will of course happen quite often, you can just take this smoothly running process and hitch your project to it. Your writing process should just be that part of your life that is continuously delivering reliable prose about the things you know. You can then use that prose in the usual way.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Yesterday, Brayden King at OrgTheory drew attention to a piece in the Academy of Management Journal about how to write an introduction. It was good to see that the three questions they want an introduction to answer line up largely with the three paragraphs I normally get authors to try to compose when writing theirs.
(1) Who cares? What is the topic or research question, and why is it interesting and important in theory and practice?
(2) What do we know, what don’t we know, and so what? What key theoretical perspectives and empirical findings have already informed the topic or question? What major, unaddressed puzzle, controversy, or paradox does this study address, and why does it need to be addressed?
(3) What will we learn? How does your study fundamentally change, challenge, or advance scholars’ understanding?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sick Day

The minimum planning horizon is knowing what you will write about tomorrow before you go bed tonight. Today I came down with a cold and am pretty sure I will not be able to write tomorrow. Having made the decision, I'm now certain I will not write tomorrow. This is really at the core of the discipline. If you're going to write tomorrow, you know you will; if you're not going to write, you know you won't. You don't think or hope you'll write. You know you will. Likewise, I go to bed tonight knowing I won't. That's just the other side of the same discipline. If it's highly unlikely that you'll write, decide not to. Don't hope you will. There's no particular nobility in that sentiment.

Wax On, Wax Off

During my vacation, I watched The Karate Kid with my children. The most famous scene in that movie is probably the one where Mr. Miyagi instructs Daniel to wax a car. Later, he teaches him how to paint a fence; then, to paint a house. Since Daniel had asked Mr. Miyagi to teach him karate, he gets increasingly frustrated, believing he is wasting his time. But then, as the student threatens to quit his "training", the master shows him that the motions he has been repeating over and over by waxing and painting are in fact karate moves.

This of course got me thinking. One thing it reminded me of was Wittgenstein's description of how to teach philosophy at the end of the Tractatus. The teacher should confine himself to the expression of the propositions of natural science (to saying that which can be said) and the identification of nonsense (metaphysical expressions). He points out that the student will probably not feel like he is being taught philosophy, but that it is nonetheless the right method. The other thing it reminded me of is that I'd like to be the Mr. Miyagi of my art. Who doesn't?