[INDOLOGY] Malhotra's motives

Howard Resnick hr at ivs.edu
Sun Jul 19 12:38:37 UTC 2015

Thank you.

> On Jul 19, 2015, at 2:36 PM, Walser, Joseph <Joseph.Walser at tufts.edu> wrote:
> I sense there is a lot of schadenfreude in this discussion, especially since Malhotra would be the first to point out such errors in others works. However, I think many of us worry that we might have let a quote or two slip by my in our published work and I for one am not about to throw stones much less censor the man. I think it would be more productive to the list to discuss his arguments than his lack of quotation marks.
> J 
> On Jul 19, 2015, at 3:53 AM, Al Collins <nasadasin at gmail.com <mailto:nasadasin at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> I still question whether Rajiv Malhotra intentionally plagiarized, even in view of the citations presented on this list and RISA. He could have made it clearer he did not agree with Nicholson, Halbfass, and others about the interpretation of their data and ideas, but plagiarism (like theft, murder, and so on), implies intent, in this case intent to steal another's work and present it as one's own. Intent, in turn, implies motive, a reason why he would want to present another person’s work as his. I see no compelling evidence of intent or motive here. Part of what happened could be what psychoanalysts have called "cryptomnesia," or forgetting that one has read something elsewhere, then remembering the content without the detail that it was found in another’s work.  That is a phenomenon so common that probably everyone will remember doing it (though the eventual recognition is inevitably less frequent than instances never recalled).  The apparently flagrant 77 word unattributed quotation could be what Malhotra “remembered” (wrongly) to have been his paraphrase of a section of Nicholson’s book. He could simply have forgotten that he wrote down verbatim what he found in the other man’s book, and later thought the note he had typed was his own restatement of the idea.  He might even have “remembered” thinking it himself! Either case would be akin to the “false memory syndrome” studied by Elizabeth Loftus and others which shows memory to be constantly reconstructed under the influence of personal motives.  This is well established to be a universal phenomenon to which we are all prey, although careful research procedures can minimize it.  Malhotra was not careful (to say the least). But, then, he is not doing research.
>>             Considering Malhotra's aim may clarify matters. He is defending a position that owes almost nothing to the texts he quotes. Rather, he is proof texting, selecting what he thinks supports his own, deeply held opinions. There is no desire to be original in his choice of data; in fact, he wants his data to come from someone else. If they didn't, they wouldn't "prove" his point.
>> Al Collins
>> Al Collins, Ph.D., Ph.D.
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