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Saturday, April 27, 2013

When Locke met Hobbes

Lest you become convinced that I'm encouraging the overthinking of academic frauds at the expense of delighting in them, I should add that what impostors also do is give us ideas for own careers when, due to our slowness of dissertation progress, we, like A.D. Harvey, fail to ever get an academic job and are forced to live, scorned, in the shadow of the academy. Should this eventuality befall me, do not be surprised if the following series of events unfolds:

An article will appear in the Journal of the History of Political Thought about Hobbes's theories of optics. In the sixth* paragraph, passing mention will be made that Hobbes at the end of his life secretly met Locke on several occasions, and record was kept of these meetings by the young third earl of Shaftesbury. The third earl was then becoming proficient in Locke's famously indecipherable shorthand, so the notes were unnoticed until a graduate student came across them while browsing an obscure Bodleian collection that included some items from the third earl's correspondence with a minor Irish clergyman. He first mistook them for Locke's own notes until he realized that Locke was being described in them, but the graduate student was then tragically killed in a mountaineering accident, but not before he showed his research to his advisor at the University of North Baffin Bay, who began preparing it for submission and received a revise and resubmit from the British Journal of Timely Snipings at Academic Nemeses, only to die shortly thereafter of smallpox. And then I found it! Only my name might look different at that point. In fact, it is also possible that it will have multiplied into several names, one or two of which will be the exclusive authors of high-brow, nipple-heavy erotica. However, that is beside the point, which is that, in these notes on the meetings between Locke and Hobbes, the third earl mentions among other commonalities that both men vigorously agreed about the excellent understanding of their thought demonstrated in the doctoral dissertation of a 21st century graduate student named Miss Self-Important. But don't let any of that distract you from the import of this revelation - Hobbes and Locke met directly and even exchanged ideas!

If this fails, I will take a job at "the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic: the Institute of History, Philology and Philosophy." If they reject me too, then I will take up a collection of plastic shopping bags.

*Numerology in action.

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