Relativity

Students of even the most scientific disciplines make absolute statements at their peril. In the twenty-first century, especially since Einstein, relativity is the watchword: there is no such thing as certainty in the physical universe, and that concept has filtered, in one way or another, into every field of study. We now believe that there is more than one possible explanation, more than one possible interpretation, more than one version of nearly everything that happens. How does this apply to your writing? Quite simply, every statement you make within the academic community will be subject to question, objection, interpretation, and cross-examination; the farther you progress in your studies, the more likely it is that your ideas will be challenged. As a result, when you make academic assertions, pay attention to the qualifying words (perhaps, maybe, possibly) and tentative phrases ("Have you considered . . . ?" "It is likely " "In my judgment. ... " and "In all probability.. . ."). These phrases signify that you recognize the tentative nature of the truth. So, though you try to be objective in your work or writing, you also need to acknowledge that it is ultimately impossible.

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