May 13th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

Originality

As is the case with so many academic areas of research, "medieval technology" is not a category which everyone recognizes. As a consequence, well-intentioned wits regularly respond to my assertion that this is what I study with, "Oh, isn't that a contradiction in terms?" or something like that. I recognize that they mean well, that they all came up with this clever little line on their own, and each of them really is original, even if many other people have already been original in exactly this way before them. This all goes to show just how ambiguous the concept of originality is - I'm sure there are many people working on that concept for their academic research as well.