2011 Abstracts Stage 3

The Origin of Plagiarism (or Why Copying is Good)

In my project I intend to look at the historical genealogy of plagiarism and how it has come to be seen negatively in contemporary society. I will attempt at giving a counter argument to the negative nature of plagiarism.

In the first chapter I will begin by arguing that in pre-modern society copying and indeed imitation were promoted as being tools to preserve tradition, and as a way to intellectual enlightenment.

In the second chapter I will look at the way the invention of the printing press influenced society and made people more concerned with originality and plagiarism from perspectives of private property and authenticity.

In the third chapter I will argue that plagiarism as a concept has been invented and that everything anyone ever says or writes derives from something that has already occurred.

Some texts I have included in my work are: T.S.Eliot: The Sacred Wood, Matthew Arnold: Culture and Anarchy, Sartre: Being and Nothingness, Kierkegaard: Repetition, Borges: Labyrinths, Aristotle: Poetics and Hegel: Elements of the philosophy of Right