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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Worst Paper Title Ever

What is your most pathetic paper title ever? Here is mine:

"Plantinga Paradox in Wright's Peirce"

This was the working title of a co-authored paper of mine (for the record: we later changed the title to "Anti-Realism, Theism, and the Conditional Fallacy")

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have never published anything of my own, and I don't know if you want the worst title of a paper by me, or by anyone in philosophy. So I will maintain anonimity and welcome you to delete this comment if it is out of line. But there is one title I have always thought was awful:

"How to Russell a Frege Church"

if only because it (the title per se) implies the existence of Frege churches.

Aidan said...

Back when I was a naive undergrad, I gave a talk called 'Williamson on Assertion, or why K ain't so Special'. Not my proudest moment.

Alan White said...

Brit and Aidan--and even Anon--

I am an unapologetic lover of what some call "strained" titles, but many of my friends and colleagues would say it's a defect of mine. Example. Recently at lunch a psychologist friend shook her unruly hair and complained that it made her react like one of those dolls whose heads bounce around when shook. I said, without thinking, "Oh, that's just psycho-bobble."

So it should be no surprise that Kaplan's "Transworld Heir Lines" has always been an inspiration to me.

My personal worst? All unpublished I'm afraid. (Grad school paper: "Of Meanings and Metaphor: The M&Ms that Melt in Your Mouth, Not in Your Mind" I'm not kidding. Got an A).

I have a couple of *almost* clever published titles, but I'm actually proud of those. My record of presentation titles is much more shameless: "Did Somebody Say McTaggart®?"; "What is it Like to Bat a B-(Theorist)?)"; "Doctoring 101 Strangely, Or How I Learned to Stop Bombing and Love the Worry".

Explains my Songs Page I guess.

What I'm truly ashamed of is never matching anything like Russelling up a title worthy of worship, or especially Kaplan's flighty masterpiece.

Duncan Pritchard said...

I've always fancied writing a paper entitled 'On the Very Idea of Donald Davidson', though I'm not sure what it would be about exactly. (I can't remember if it was me or Tim Kenyon who came up with that one). I know a guy (and I'll refrain from naming names on this one) who had all his paper titles related in some way to Madonna songs. For example: 'Living in a Material World'.

Bryan Frances said...

Nathan Salmon's "How to Become a Millian Heir" and 'A Millian Heir Rejects the Wages of Sinn" are either among the best or among the worst.

Mike said...

Graham Oppy has a response to Salmon in 'How to Parry a Millian Heir'. That's a little painful, I think Graham would agree.

Tim Kenyon said...

I've always fancied writing a paper entitled 'On the Very Idea of Donald Davidson', though I'm not sure what it would be about exactly. (I can't remember if it was me or Tim Kenyon who came up with that one).

Belatedly: Duncan, it was me that said it to you, but it was Rob Stainton that said it to me first.

Kris Rhodes said...

Early in my (still unfinished) graduate education, I declared that I would like to write a paper called "On What What There Is Is." This would be a paper in response to Quine's "On What There Is," though as to what the response would have been, I had no idea.

But there's more. I declared my intention to later undergo a hermeneutic turn, and write an essay titled "On What 'What What There Is Is' Is," which gives some kind of literaro-philosophical criticism of my previous paper.