only as a problem among others

SAIP0

Senior Member
Latvian
Dear all,

I doubt understanding the following phrase correctly (source: Genres in Discourse, Tzvetan Todorov (trans. by Catherine Porter)):

"Psychology arouses his interest only as a problem among others, a mystery to unravel; as an object, not a method of construction."

Could you, please, help me?

Does "only as a problem among others" mean "no more than other problems"?

So, could I read the phrase as follows:

Psychology arouses his interest no more than other problems, for him it is a mystery to unreveal; it arouses his interest as an object, not a method of construction.

Am I right?

Thanks in advance.

Regards
Saip0
 
Last edited:
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I doubt that I am understanding the following phrase correctly. :tick:

    The problem is that "others" is ambiguous, it can mean "other people" or it can mean "other problems." I tend to agree with your interpretation but if this is the case, I would have expected to have read: "Psychology arouses his interest only as one problem among others,"
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Does "only as a problem among others" mean "no more than other problems"?
    No. The writer is drawing a distinction between (a) psychology as an object of study, a target of enquiry, and (b) psychology as a method of construction, a mode of creating (I presume) meaning.
    The author is saying that 'he' (whoever that refers to) is interested in psychology only as (a), not as (b).

    Edit: corrected.
     

    SAIP0

    Senior Member
    Latvian
    Thank you so much guys. So, I have a grammatical problem... How would you rephrase the sentence so that each proposition gets very explicit for a non-native speaker?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    There are difficulties in that.
    Is the original sentence part of the translation? If so, it would be very problematic to rephrase it without knowing the original version. Besides, this is not a translation forum.

    Even if it is not part of the translation - if it is part of an introduction to the translation, say - then it still remains problematic to rephrase it. It appears to be a discussion of modes of discourse: in other words, language used to discuss language. That is a subtle business, even for a well-educated native speaker. Hence any change to the writer's choice of words may alter the meaning.
     

    SAIP0

    Senior Member
    Latvian
    Well, the original is in French (but gramatically it looks 100% the same as the English one!)

    By asking to make it more explicit, I was not asking for an explanation with other words. I was willing to see what really corresponds to what in this sentence, i.e., I was asking if it should be read as something like this: psychology arouses his interest no more than other problems, for him it is a mystery to unreveal; it arouses his interest as an object, not a method of construction. :)

    Regards
    Saip0
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Well, I cannot avoid referring back to my earlier comment, I am afraid:
    No. The writer is drawing a distinction between (a) psychology as an object of study, a target of enquiry, and (b) psychology as a method of construction, a mode of creating (I presume) meaning.
    The author is saying that 'he' (whoever that refers to) is interested in psychology only as (a), not as (b).
    It is not about comparing one problem to other problems and saying 'this one (psychology) is more interesting than those ones', but about distinguishing between two possible ways of seeing psychology.
     

    SAIP0

    Senior Member
    Latvian
    Well, thank you wandle - I will continue to try to understand this phrase in my context, looking from your perspective.

    Regards,
    Saip0
     
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