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Education Extended writing Framing Metaphor

Learning is a Journey: Consequences of a metaphor

How to read this This will take about 18 minutes to read (at 230 words/min) but the text is structured to make it easy to jump around and find the key points faster. I tend to go into more detail than most people find necessary. Two reasons to read: Explore a different perspective on some […]

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Extended writing Language Metaphor Reading Lists Writing

3 fundamental problems of translating metaphor (or anything else)

How hard is it to translate metaphor? Metaphor seems like it should be very difficult to translate. But I’d like to argue that what is difficult about translating it is not the metaphor part but rather how it is used. This makes it no different from any other aspect of language. But because it is […]

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Extended writing Framing Knowledge Language Psychology

World as a directly meaningful place: A comment on Ecological Psychology and the richness of human experience

Background – From comment to blog post I just finished reading Andrew Wilson’s series of blog posts on the foundation of ‘ecological psychology’ This post started as a comment but it was too long for the comment field (and at 1800 words, that’s not a surprise), so I’m posting it here. It is a bit […]

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Extended writing Framing History Scholarship

History as weather: A fractal theory of history for Ian Morris, Jared Diamond and CGP Grey

Note: This post originally appeared on Medium in 2016. This a very lightly revised version with new formatting for ease of readability. It preceded the post on historical revisionism and anthropology of family but it tackles and elaborates on some of the same themes. Outline of the argument History is often accused of not being […]

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Education Extended writing Framing Gender Reading Lists

Why I am a feminist: A reading list

I became a feminist because a woman once told me not to be an idiot and I decided that it was good advice. That was in 1998. But I was all ready to be a feminist long before that, so it really just took a small push to get me over the hump. I was […]

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Extended writing Scholarship Writing

The nonsense of style: Academic writing should be scrupulous not stylish

The problem with writing advice The problem with the likes of Steven Pinker and Helen Sword is that they like their own writing way too much. But I don’t. Like their writing, that is. [1] I want to get some information from them and I want to get examples and counterexamples for the points they […]

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Extended writing Framing Metaphor

Metaphors and freedom: On Tolkien’s notion of allegory vs applicability

On rereading Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, I was struck by this passage in his foreword to the second edition: I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability […]

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Education Extended writing

No back row, no corridor: Metaphors for online teaching and learning

Publication note An earlier version of this was published in the Oxford Magazine No 422.  This post expands certain sections based on questions and feedback I received following the first publication of the piece. It is also available on Medium. The state of digital dislocation The current state of digital dislocation is forcing us to reevaluate what […]

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Anthropology Extended writing History

It’s not personal, it’s family: Kin, strangers, guests, and the complexity of social obligation

Brooks on the alternatives to nuclear family Tyler Cowen called the extended essay by David Brooks called ‘The nuclear family was a mistake’ a “so far the best essay of the year with many fine and subtle points”. And he’s not wrong. Brooks who has frequently been caught embellishing data to make a point does a […]

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Education Extended writing Linguistics Writing

How to actually write a sentence: The building blocks of written language

Some time ago, Thomas Basbøll followed up his excellent post on how to write a paragraph with a much more daring endeavour on how to write a sentence. And while the post is a pleasure to read, I think it did not quite overcome the challenge the author stated at the start: “it is substantially more […]