Praise where praise is due

I’m finishing marking a stack of dissertations and “assessed essays”, submitted for examination in the Philosophy Tripos. I have some philosophical grumbles (of course!), but it is a beautiful late spring day, and I’m feeling cheerful, so let me give praise where praise is due. For I’m struck by the fact that so many are so well written. Students having to read a great deal of sharply written analytical philosophy; being forced to write supervision essays week in, week out; having essays ruthlessly criticized hour after hour for lack of clarity and cogency — all that seems to produce after a couple of years some excellent writers of spare, readable, transparently lucid English prose. It’s good to see we are doing something right!

1 thought on “Praise where praise is due”

  1. From the fact that ‘praise is due’ to the so many that are so well written are we to infer that praise is not due to those that are less well written, where well written refers to clarity of writing style, as opposed to quality of content? An essay could be of high quality but not entirely clear, and so not ‘well written’ in that sense. One would hope that essays of high quality which did not meet certain preferred standards of clarity are due praise, too.

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