Sunday, November 23, 2014

Who first said “ontology precedes epistemology”?

William and Wanda wonder…

William: Who first said, “ontology precedes epistemology”?

Wanda: Heidegger or someone like that?

William: I can’t find anyone to positively quote as the original source.

Wanda: I was looking up “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” recently. Seems to come from the 1930s but no clear source. Proverbs create the same confusion. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Can’t attribute that.

William: Some proverbs can be sourced though. “The pen is mightier than the sword." Edward Bulwer Lytton.

Wanda: And then there are those maxims that are inspirational. “Change is the only constant.” Non-attributable I’m sure.

William: Actually, that seems to have been Heraclitus. Somebody might have said it even before him. But these days there are source police who watch out for misattributions. Reza Aslan got flagged for quoting a story as being from Buddha. “If you want to draw water you do not dig six one-foot wells. You dig one six-foot well.” Apparently it wasn't.
In the age of plagiarism police, protect yourself…
Three possibilities for sources are:
  • attribution
  • no attribution
  • wrong attribution

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