Interpretation of a paragraph

Sextus

Senior Member
Spanish
In the following paragraph, I'm not sure that the three possibilities introduced by "First", "Second", and "However" are clear; particularly, I'm not sure that I've been able to make clear the difference between the first two.

"From what has been said about the various approaches and strategies that can be detected in S’s writings, it seems that we must draw either of two conclusions. First, it may be that those differing or incompatible approaches and strategies were already present in the sources upon which he drew, in which case he would clearly have been no more than a mere copyist as far as his use of these sources is concerned. Second, it is possible that his different sources expounded different varieties of Pyrrhonism; but in this case, too, he seems to have confined himself to reproducing what he found in them without trying to integrate those distinct brands of Pyrrhonism. However, given the differences that exist between the passages of S’s works which address the same questions, it seems that we must rather conclude that, although he heavily relied and drew upon earlier sources, at least in several cases he reworked the material he found in them, possibly in order to adapt it to various purposes."

Thanks for your help.
 
  • AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    In the following paragraph, I'm not sure that the three possibilities introduced by "First", "Second", and "However" are clear; particularly, I'm not sure that I've been able to make clear the difference between the first two.

    "From what has been said about the various approaches and strategies that can be detected in S’s writings, it seems that we must draw either of two conclusions:

    First of all, it may be that those differing or incompatible approaches and strategies were already present in the sources upon which he drew, in which case he would clearly have been no more than a mere copyist as far as his use of these sources is concerned.

    Secondly, it is possible that his different sources expounded different varieties of Pyrrhonism; but in this case, too, he seems to have confined himself to reproducing what he found in them without trying to integrate those distinct brands of Pyrrhonism.

    However, given the differences that exist between the passages of S’s works which address the same questions, it seems that we must rather conclude that, although he heavily relied and drew upon earlier sources, at least in several cases he reworked the material he found in them, possibly in order to adapt it to various purposes."

    Thanks for your help.
    Okay, maybe I'm a perfect choice to give you an unbiased answer, since I don't have a clue what this subject is really about.:) First of all, you're telling the reader that maybe those views and opinions he's presenting aren't even his, just something he "borrowed" from already established sources. I think you did that well here.

    You kind of lost me on this "Secondly" section. Are you saying that not only did he "borrow" somebody else hypotheses, he even failed to add his own signature and opinions of the theory being presented? What are you trying to say about "distinct brands"? You need to clarify that while he might have used somebody's else's original ideas, he also added his own opinions to the research.

    Now, you seem to be saying that in your "However" section. I think you stated that notion quite clearly to me.

    What you failed to do is show me why you think that in that weak middle part. Re-write and give more contrast between what he used that wasn't his, and what he did that made it his own, too.

    And personally, I like it broken down into smaller paragraphs. I like cleaner lines in the script, if you will. It shows me you're in creative control as the writer, and you're going to do my work for me, keeping your ideas and message structured and flowing.

    These are just my opinions. Let's see if you get different feedback.

    Also, I didn't rewrite your work for you here. I've only analyzed it for the purpose of seeing if it came off as logical.

    I also reserve the right to take back everything I just wrote if I totally misunderstood you! ;)

    Good luck, Sextus!

    AngelEyes
     

    Sextus

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Thanks for your answer. What about:

    "From what has been said about the various approaches and strategies that can be detected in S’s writings, it seems that we must draw the following conclusion: S. drew upon different sources which expounded different varieties of Pyrrhonism, and he seems to have confined himself to reproducing what he found in them without trying to integrate those distinct types of Pyrrhonism. If this is so, he would clearly have been no more than a mere copyist as far as his use of those sources is concerned. However, given the differences that exist between the passages of S’s works which address the same questions, it seems that we must rather conclude that, although he heavily relied and drew upon earlier sources, at least in several cases he reworked the material he found in them, possibly in order to adapt it to various purposes." ?
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Sextus,

    Are you changing the form now of your work?

    I mean, what you've re-written seems to combine first and second together.

    You added more explanation, and I like a lot of it, but I'm back to being all jumbled up in my mind again, because you're shoving it all together. Keep it very simple and direct for stupid people like me! :)

    For instance, let's take what you rewrote:

    "From what has been said about the various approaches and strategies that can be detected in S’s writings, it seems that we must draw the following conclusion:

    S. drew upon different sources which expounded different varieties of Pyrrhonism, and he seems to have confined himself to reproducing what he found in them without trying to integrate those distinct types of Pyrrhonism. If this is so, he would clearly have been no more than a mere copyist as far as his use of those sources is concerned.

    However, given the differences that exist between the passages of S’s works which address the same questions, it seems that we must rather conclude that, although he heavily relied and drew upon earlier sources, at least in several cases he reworked the material he found in them, possibly in order to adapt it to various purposes."


    Okay, now that I've divided it into smaller paragraphs, I see what you're doing. You've redesigned it and are focusing on one conclusion.

    That's fine, but what will make your project shine and sparkle is a couple of hard facts...actual examples of what he used and how he adapted it to his own version of explanation.

    Maybe you've done that in the following parts of this work. Have you?

    The more I read this one, the more I like it!

    Good job.

    Now you have to convince me, the reader, that what you're stating about S has some validity. You need to draw me in and give me facts and examples that draw me into your point of view.

    You are telling me you think he may have used previous work in his own, but that he adapted it for his unique purposes and viewpoints. If this is correct, then you've succeeded in telling your reader exactly what it is you want them to know!

    I think you're almost there!

    Once again, I'm not saying it couldn't be better expressed with more re-writing - I'm a master rewriter who doesn't know when to be satisfied, so I'm a very critical judge when it comes to tweaking - but I will say, in my opinion, you're on the right track and have a lot of good ideas here to work with.

    You've drawn me in, you've crystallized your goal. All that's left to do is to convince me of your hypothesis. With a couple examples, you will succeed.

    AngelEyes
     

    Sextus

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Thanks a lot for you detailed and critical reply. In fact, that paragraph is the concluding paragraph of a section in which I show what you're asking for. That's why I state: "From what has been said..."

    Cheers
     

    Sextus

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Thank you, Angel, for your help.

    Mally pense: well, thanks a lot for your compliment, and yes, you're right: English is not my first language. I think it's obvious, since I make lots of mistakes. :D

    Cheers
     

    mally pense

    Senior Member
    England, UK English
    You see? Even your modesty is well executed! Case proven!

    Seriously, it would be very difficult, or impossible even, for anyone to know, at least with any degree of certainty, that you were not indeed a native speaker given the examples of your writing above. The only points at issue are stylistic and presentational, and that would be no different for a native speaker. Your understanding of the structure of even complex sentences, and your understanding of, and choice of, vocabulary in this academic context is very good too. It's all too easy to use words which, though appropriate in terms of meaning, are archaeic (spelling? You tell me - lol!), outdated or obscure, and that's a trap you manage to avoid.

    Indeed, the only very minor points I would be able to find myself in your original text would be:

    1. I personally would probably have said "one of two conclusions" rather than "either". I'm not sure why that is, probably just stylistic or personal preference.

    2. I'd have used "Firstly" and "Secondly" instead of "First" and "Second", though again this is probably just a personal stylistic preference, or it may be a BE/AE difference, I'm not sure.

    3. I'd have been tempted to use a colon and semi-colons to split up the first and second options, and obviously then not use a semi-colon after Pyrrhonism. (I'm not sure this latter justified a semi-colon in any case. A comma would perhaps have been more appropriate).

    Anyway, these are all issues which a native speaker could easily have had, and I have to repeat that I'm impressed with just how good your English is. The fact that I now know for certain that it's not your native language makes it all the more impressive.

    Mally
     

    Sextus

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Thanks again!!

    Regarding "first", "second", I don't know why I use it instead of "firstly", "secondly". Have I seen it somewhere? I don't remember.

    Cheers
     
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