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OntologyRecapitulatesPhilology

Add one more entry to the "There's nothing new under the sun" file: after free-associating intermittently for months on variations of Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny (a factually-inaccurate polysyllabic aphorism of biology that says embryonic development mocks evolution) a few days ago I managed to come up with Ontology recapitulates philology (which maybe says something about knowledge and language, but I don't know precisely what).

But alas, the "Ontology recapitulates philology" schtick was too good not to have been invented already. A quick search on the 'Net shows that it appeared in published papers and web pages at least several years back. When search engines get around to indexing clay tablets and cave art, no doubt the phrase will turn out to have been used millennia ago.

In a parallel case, ca. 1991 my wife Paulette Dickerson invented the proverb "Libraries will get you through times with no money better than money will get you through times with no libraries!" and used it in a library-advocacy speech she gave in 1991. It was her riff on a classic Gilbert Shelton "Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers" underground-comix line from the 1960's about how drugs can substitute for cash. And, like my ontological/philological phrase, others have used it elsewhere, with and without attribution.

That doesn't make it any less valid --- particularly in an age of constant library budget cuts ...

(see also RedundancyRedundancy (23 Apr 1999), GotLibrary (17 Sep 2003), ...)


TopicLanguage - TopicLibraries - TopicHumor - TopicScience - TopicPhilosophy - TopicPersonalHistory - Datetag20050406



(correlates: GotLibrary, NaturalPhilosophy, ChurchOfOntology, ...)