Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."





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Sunday, October 1, 2017

REALLY PICKY NITPICKING

When a Roman legion had performed really badly, and its commanders wished to punish it, they would line the men up and select every tenth man to be killed.  In short, they would decimate it.  That is what "decimate" means.  It does not mean that a population [or an area] has been wiped out.

Oh well.

4 comments:

Carl said...

Merriam-Webster, definition 3:

a :to reduce drastically especially in number

cholera decimated the population

Kamieniecki's return comes at a crucial time for a pitching staff that has been decimated by injuries. —Jason Diamos

b :to cause great destruction or harm to

firebombs decimated the city

an industry decimated by recession

formerly a wage slave said...

"The meaning of a word cannot change." "I forbid it."--Robert Paul Wolff

TheDudeDiogenes said...

Damn you semantic drift! (Sometimes - as with "decimate"-
I REALLY wish that linguistic prescriptivism actually worked!)

Michael Zack said...

It is good to remember how words were originally defined/understood. It helps give perspective on how it’s use changed through time and culture.