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Cynical Theories by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay is one of the latest high-visibility chapters in the ongoing discussion around “postmodernism,” and it has awakened both praise and criticism. Subtitled How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity — and Why This Harms Everybody, the divided reactions it has encountered are not surprising.

Matter-of-fact, composed discussion about the themes the book deals with is more than welcome, and I must admit that while reading the introduction, I was at least moderately optimistic about the value of the book. The writers want to situate themselves between the extremes and…

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To be coherent, that is to say to be “orderly, logical and consistent,” is one of the basic demands we make not only for scientific theories but for a variety of things, including our personal identities and worldviews. Alongside other terms like ‘rational’ and ‘logical,’ ‘coherence’ is one of the cornerstones of Western thinking.

But should we always aim for coherence? The immediate, common-sense answer would likely be yes, and I’m not here to argue that we should drop such a demand altogether. …

In fighting the implied relativism of postmodernism, Jordan Peterson takes a pragmatic turn: but paradoxically his naive pragmatism is rather an opening to relativism than a defense against it.

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I’ll skip the intros about the current state of the cultural wars, and go straight to the point: Jordan Peterson’s answer to the relativism supposedly endorsed by the so-called postmodernists. According to Peterson [1], the postmodernists think that:

(1) since there are an innumerable number of ways in which the world can be interpreted and perceived (and those are tightly associated) then

(2) no canonical manner of interpretation can be reliably…

I have a long history in learning languages, but until about a year ago, I knew practically nothing about programming. Now I do, and have actually managed to make some money in the process.

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I’m not going to teach you how to code, but rather how to think about the learning process in itself when coming into the scene with no previous experience. Following these tips your journey is guaranteed to be smoother and more effective.

My choice of programming language was Python, but I’m pretty sure that the following principles are valid for all languages out there.

Let’s start.

It’s a known fact that literary translators tend to reduce repetition. But is this something they should be doing?

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It’s widely observed that translators have a tendency to normalize the stylistic peculiarities of the authors they are translating.

This can be rather understandable: translations are nearly always evaluated based on the final product alone, i.e., the target language text. The average reader is not competent to examine the translation’s fidelity to the original — nor should he be, and this is exactly why he is reading a translation and not the original. …

But how to write about things when everything has already been written about?

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Blogs and other kinds of online platforms have made possible publishing one’s writings to wider audiences. As a result of this, there are tons of texts around, and it may seem that everything has already been written about. But at the same time one should try to be original — so what to do? First, I will look at the concept of ‘originality’, and then, from the viewpoint of a non-fiction writer, at how to be original without really trying.

Ever since at least Romanticism the idea…

Becoming a translator is easy: you just have to know a language, and start translating… Right?

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So, you know some foreign languages, and want to put them into use. Maybe you are also a passionate reader of books, and so becoming a literary translator seems like the logical conclusion. The idea is not bad at all, but as you maybe already know, a literary translator’s job is a quite particular one and certainly not the easiest around. In this article I will be looking at three common questions aspiring literary translators might be asking themselves.

Do I need to know…

Joseph K. Laney

Translator and freelance journalist. Passionate about languages, literature and culture.

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