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On the Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean…

On the Shoulders of Giants: A Shandean Postscript (1965)

by Robert K. Merton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1535116,050 (4.62)3



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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
A study in the history of science and the sociology of knowledge constructed from an amusing assemblage of impossible ironies, paradoxes, and conundra. Can intentions be plagiarized? Are dwarves weightier when sitting, standing, or leaning? How did they get up there anyway? What is the etymology of “finagle”? Behind the wordplay and erudite shenanigans is an earnest examination of the dispute between the ancients and the moderns at a critical juncture in the development of European thought, as the greater and lesser minds of the 16th & 17th c. come to the realization that achieving the future requires kicking away the ladders of the past.
  HectorSwell | Jul 9, 2012 |
A brilliant skewering of shoddy scholarship. Merton traces the origins of an aphorism often credited to Isaac Newton and brilliantly uncovers a history of misattributions, misquotations,and other scholarly laziness stretching back to the 12th century. A masterpiece of pedantry, Merton goes so far as to examine 12th century artistic representations of dwarves positioned on the shoulders of giants (he finds 4 examples!) and whether they sit or stand. ( )
  waitingtoderail | Jun 27, 2012 |
Signed by Robert Merton
  Hungerknight | Jul 23, 2011 |
Why are there not more books like this one? Otsog on, otsogers! Otsogify! Otsogify! ( )
  jensenmk82 | May 30, 2009 |
a real jewel for those with an antiquarian bent ( )
  hermannstone | Nov 9, 2006 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert K. Mertonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bowen, Catherine DrinkerForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donoghue, DenisAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dear Bud,

I sit here working away on a series of lectures I am doomed to give next spring on the sociology of science.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226520862, Paperback)

With playfulness and a large dose of wit, Robert Merton traces the origin of Newton's aphorism, "If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Using as a model the discursive and digressive style of Sterne's Tristram Shandy, Merton presents a whimsical yet scholarly work which deals with the questions of creativity, tradition, plagiarism, the transmission of knowledge, and the concept of progress.

"This book is the delightful apotheosis of donmanship: Merton parodies scholarliness while being faultlessly scholarly; he scourges pedantry while brandishing his own abstruse learning on every page. The most recondite and obscure scholarly squabbles are transmuted into the material of comedy as the ostensible subject is shouldered to one side by yet another hobby horse from Merton's densely populated stable. He has created a jeu d'esprit which is profoundly suggestive both in detail and as a whole."—Sean French, Times Literary Supplement

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:35 -0400)

A monk travels the world to protect an ancient scroll that holds the key to unlimited power. He needs to train a new scroll keeper, which he finds in a street-wise punk that saves him from capture.

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