Re: Pratchett on Rowling, again, sort of
- From: nystulc@xxxxxx
- Date: 5 Jan 2007 21:14:42 -0800
Troels Forchhammer wrote:
I'd say that "No one is stealing from anyone." is fairly
In this context, it is totally equivocal. He is saying that
nobody is stealing from anyone, because everyone is "stealing"
from everyone. It clearly depends on what you mean by "stealing".
I'm sorry, but that's nonsense. There is a reference to the pot of
ideas that stories are made from, with everybody both drawing from
the pot and and adding some of their own to the pot, but that concept
is clearly distinguishable from the idea of 'stealing' (i.e. writing
something where you add too much from one external source and too
little of your own).
Before I proceed, this argument is now moot, except as an abstract
exercize in logic.
I agree with you, but think you have lost track of the discussion. The
quote "No one is stealing from anyone," attributed to X, was offered to
prove that X cannot possibly believe that Y directly borrowed ideas
from X. This argument involves the fallacy of treating separate ideas
(stealing and borrowing) as identical.
The argument also takes the statement too literally, and proves far too
much. The people using the statement in this way have not only proved
that X believes there is no such thing as "stealing" (which is clearly
false), but also that X believes their is no such thing as borrowing
(when in fact, X clearly believes this is something everybody does).
Then the fallactious argument proceeds to its final step: since X
believes borrowing does not exist, X cannot believe that Y borrowed
Some confusion arises, of course, because legitimate borrowing is
sometimes loosely referred to as "stealing." That is why I
distinguished stealing from "stealing".
Nothing here contradicts those other indications that seem to
indicate he believes that JKR has indeed benefitted from his
I believe that Rowling has 'benefitted from the influence' of just
I'm sorry, but that is not correct. In order for Rowling to have
benefitted from just about everyone, she would have had to have read
just about everyone. There is absolutely no reason to believe she had
read just about everyone, and, in particular, there is no reason to
believe she has ever read Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Robert Jordan,
Terry Brooks, Roger Zelazny, Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber, George RR
Martin, Robert E. Howard, Jack Vance, Diane Duane, Robert Heinlein,
Christopher Paolini, and countless others.
She has mentioned quite a few influences -- some of which are subject
to copyright, others of which are not. These influences, in my
opinion, together with an interest in myth and folklore, are more than
adequate to explain her stories.
If you dissect Rowling's books, nearly every single
element can be shown to be derivative (i.e. taken from the pot), and
she even admits as much herself (usually citing folklore and myth
rather than other authors, but that's probably the course of prudence
for her), but the serving is nevertheless unique.
This is true, but does not contradict what I am saying. It is true
that all people have parents, but that does not prove that you, Troels,
must be my dad.
As for your seemingly indicating indications, they may exist in the
minds of the journalist and others whose arguments are meant for
sensation-mongering, but I should hope that the level-headed readers
of both AFH-P and AFP would know better.
I think the reporters inference was reasonable. I now accept that it
was mistaken, since TP has clarified the matter, but I still believe it
was reasonable. We must agree to disagree on that.