Monday, January 29, 2007

American English

The review of Cecile Fabre's Whose Body is it Anyway? is a step nearer print - today I received corrected proofs. There were rather a lot of corrections, some of which were standard (one split infinitive), others Americanisms (do they really say 'florishing'?) and others I consider somewhat fussy. Nonetheless, some were rather more frustrating:

A sentence along the lines 'we accept a transfer from a dead person's estate to the needy, so we need some reason to deny them rights to the dead person's organs' was changed to 'we accept a transfer from a dead person's estate to needy people, so we need some reason to deny the needy rights to the dead person's organs'. Maybe my knowledge of English grammar is deficient - like many native speakers, it's more something I 'picked up' than was taught formally - but I fail to see why I couldn't say 'the needy' in the former case and yet the construction was inserted in the latter.

Moreover, even if it isn't ultra-correct standard English, talk of 'the talented', 'the needy', etc is common in the discourse. Several corrections seem to stem from unawareness of such: for instance, Rawls' now standard term 'conceptions of the good' was changed to 'conceptions of goodness'.

Even worse, however, were a few examples where I think philosophical points were missed or twisted:

An extensively re-worked sentence about the threshold of distributive justice had an insertion that stated - needlessly and incorrectly - threshold of well being, though Fabre - like many others - is a resourcist.

Secondly, the phrase 'body-rich' got changed to'people who have an excess [of organs]' - but I don't think it's claimed anyone has excess kidneys, only that those with more than needed (i.e. two) might donate them to those with none.

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At 12:25 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Body richness:

Iguanas have two penises (the male ones, at least)

At 11:11 pm, Blogger Rob Jubb said...

I think you could read the 'excess' in 'excess (kidneys)' as referring to having more than you need, but the rest is just weird.

At 11:53 am, Blogger Brunellus said...

How annoying. Were you able to respond to the "corrections", or were they set in stone?

At 12:00 pm, Blogger Ben said...

I did email the editor about a few, and got some wriggle room.

Interestingly, when I got the final proofs ( 'conception of the good' seemed to have been reinstated (that, or there was another use of the phrase that had been missed)


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