[INDOLOGY] Malhotra's motives

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Sun Jul 19 16:23:09 UTC 2015

I disagree with Al Collins' assertion that plagiarism implies intent.  To
continue the simile, plagiarism is like manslaughter rather than like
murder.  It's what you actually do, not limited by what you intended to

All university-level scholars know that plagiarism is one of the cardinal
sins of academic life.  A significant part of our time as teachers is spent
drumming it into our students' heads that they can copy stuff, but it
*must* be clearly flagged and attributed, and there are limits.  Plagiarism
is one of those academic wrongs like moral turpitude, for which people lose
their jobs.   As the WikiPedia page says

For professors and researchers, plagiarism is punished by sanctions ranging
from suspension to termination, along with the loss of credibility and
perceived integrity.[16]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism#cite_note-17> Charges of
plagiarism against students and professors are typically heard by internal
disciplinary committees, by which students and professors have agreed to be
bound.[18] <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism#cite_note-18>
Precisely because plagiarism is a very big deal, and precisely because we
all know about cryptomnesia and false memory (at least, that we're fallible
in general terms), academic writers and academic editors must take
responsibility for checking written work for plagiarism, just as they check
for spelling errors or data errors.  You couldn't defend the publication of
a paper full of mathematical errors on the grounds that you never *meant*
to make those errors, and they were unconscious!

I fail completely to comprehend an argument based on the idea that a book
of revisionist historical and intellectual advocacy may be allowed to
contain plagarized passages because it does not qualify as research.
Plagiarism is a mechanical process of copying without attribution: it
doesn't matter whether it's in a book or in a bus ticket.

It's your responsibility as an aspiring participant in human intellectual
life to make your work as good as possible, and that includes *not copying
out other people's work and passing it off as your own*.  Consciously or
unconsciously, for research or for mere advocacy.

Best wishes,
Dominik Wujastyk

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