ACADEMICS BEHAVING BADLY—THE ASH TRAY ARGUMENT. I posted here about an academic reporting another classicist to the FBI as a suspect in the Unibomber search because his review of her book was suspiciously harsh. (She said: “I voluntarily went to a law enforcement agency and likened his and his collaborator’s views to that of a deranged killer when he is asked to assess my work and my life.”) This reminiscence by Errol Morris (the film director) describes how when Morris was a graduate student a professor threw an ash tray at him. The professor was Thomas Kuhn, the greatest historian of science of the last century. It occurred at the The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. The ash tray was apparently “large, heavy, and with sharp edges.” Morris says that he calls this “the Ashtray Argument.” which is that: “If someone says something you don’t like, you throw something at him.”

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