[b-greek] Re: Smart of Smart's "rule"

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Sun Oct 29 2000 - 11:03:04 EST

At 3:27 PM +0000 10/29/00, Mark Wilson wrote:
>To B-Greekers:
>I finally got in touch with Smart. He goes by the
>name Martin Smart. And when asked of his academic
>background, I was not surprised to receive this response:
>"I would rather not bias anyone either pro or con with respects to
>the rule."
>(This quote is verbatim.)
>Perhaps this response is enough to put this thread to rest.

Just a comment of my own on this item: while some may think that's enough
to put this thread to rest, I myself think the question depends more upon
the evidence that has been offered in support of or in opposition to the
proposition in question than upon whether or not the gentleman in question
declares his identity; naturally, I'd be curious to know more about him,
but I don't think the validity of what he has to say depends upon what we
know about himself. Our FAQ on "Netiquette" for B-Greek says this about

'It is a courtesy expected of B-Greek subscribers that messages should
indicate, at least in the "From" header, the personal name as well as the
e-address, or else should at least sign their posts with personal names.
Indications of the locality from which they write would help personalize
further for others the sender of a message. Academic or institutional
information may be appended also, but there is no privilege associated with
any academic or institutional status so-indicated.'

I had something to do with the phrasing of that last sentence and it does
express something of my own feelings about "academic" credentials: the
problem with "academic" credentials is that they indicate formal training
of some sort somewhere and they may impress some people quite a bit, but I
have seen some opinions and assessments made by people with seemingly
strong "academic" credentials that I personally haven't found worth taking
seriously; on the other hand I've seen credible and important opinions and
assessments made by persons without discernible academic credentials. My
own view is that the worth of an opinion or assessment has more to do with
the evidence and argumentation supporting it than with the professed
credentials the person offering the opinion or assessment can adduce.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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