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A thought inspired by Monday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Nazir 56

A thought inspired by Monday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Nazir 56

Attributing an idea to its source.

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This post presents a philosophical idea inspired by the text of today’s Daf. The Daf is one page in the Talmud that tens of thousands of people study each day. I explain the connection to the text in a comment below. My purpose is to show that there are underlying philosophical assumptions in the Talmud that can have great significance for anybody today trying to understand our complex reality.

In academic writing, it is a strict requirement to cite sources accurately. However, what is the expectation for non-academic writing? This post aims to explore the moral basis behind the general norm that requires acknowledging the author of an idea or providing a link to their work.

One could argue that in the world of ideas, the currency is author credit. Therefore, any creator who freely shares their ideas or artistic creations does so with the expectation that they will be credited and compensated through a link back to their site, which helps to increase their viewership. Failing to pay the requested price for their idea is tantamount to theft.

While this argument may be valid for a specific copyrighted piece of work, it faces serious problems when applied to general concepts. Firstly, in the informal world of social media, citing every source can be time-consuming and burdensome. Secondly, ideas are fluid and can originate from multiple sources, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact originator. Thirdly, keeping track of every idea and its source requires a considerable amount of effort and time. While this may be necessary in academic settings, it is neither feasible nor desirable for the average reader.

The conclusion seems to be that while there is no moral obligation to attribute an idea to its source, it is still commendable to do so whenever possible. There are many actions that may not be inherently wrong if left undone, but it is advisable to carry them out when feasible.

In the next few years, it is plausible that automated software could contribute significantly to the discovery of the paths that ideas take as they develop. This advancement could enable users to select a piece of writing and identify the originator of a particular idea.

To conclude this discussion, here is one final argument in favor of mentioning the source of an idea. If you found one useful and novel idea, it is possible that there are more to be discovered. If you came across an idea from a particular source and deemed it important enough to share with your readers, then it is likely that there is additional valuable content to be found there.

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Source: Reditt