Matt Weiner wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote: The Great Transformation, The Myth of the Birth of the Hero
Both of these were basically upscale versions of the classic Matt Bruce tossup that repeats one clue over and over again in slightly different phraseology, in this case hiding behind the fact that most people don't know the answer at all to disguise how weak and fraudable their leadins are. I would not call them good in the least.
Yeah, I thought these questions were pretty poor. I did like the tossup on "The Encantadas," but, so, let's look at that Churchlands question.
One thinker with this surname wrote a work that suggests inner ostention and operational definition lead to problems in semantically defining so-called “common-sense psychological vocabulary.” That man discussed propositional attitudes in another work that traces the decline of the term “caloric fluid” in to claim rejecting so called “folk psychology” is the correct approach to understanding the mind body problem. He also wrote an article about “The Rediscovery of Light” that attacks Frank Jackson’s Blind Mary thought experiment. The other thinker with this last name, who espoused eliminative materialism with the first thinker, wrote a tome that claims “mental states are brain states.” That work by a thinker with this surname puts forth a “Unified Science of the Mind Brain” in the titular discipline. For 10 points, give this last name of Paul and Patricia, the latter of whom wrote Neurophilosophy.
ANSWER: Patricia and Paul Churchlands
Pre-emptive disclaimer: I've probably read more actual stuff by the Churchlands than most non-Andrew Yaphe people in quizbowl. I'm not a final authority on them, but I have some plausible claim to knowledge here.
I was originally going to say that the first clue was pretty good, but then I did some research. First of all, attacks on common-sense psychology are a trademark Churchlandian thesis, so that basically helped me buzz around "propositional attitudes." That clue comes from Paul Churchland's paper "Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes," which is quite commonly read by the people who read these sorts of things. I have a bunch of the Churchlands' papers and I have searched a number of them for the word "ostention" but have come up blank. I don't know if that's a direct quote from a Churchland paper or Ike's own invention, but if it's a quote, then I don't know where it comes from. I haven't searched all of the papers in my possession but I looked at the ones that I thought were likely to contain this terminology. The rest of the question is also problematic. In my view, the clue about the response to Jackson is somewhat less-well-known. The title might be something that people know, but the content is probably not; that probably should have been the first clue. Also, there is nothing that screams "CHURCHLAND" more than "eliminative materialism," which should be the last two words in any tossups on them. It's substantially better known than the title of Neurophilosophy
. But there are problems there as well because the clues actually get more vague; lots of philosophers have claimed that "mind-states are brain-states." Sure, that's probably a direct cite of Neurophilosophy
but it's hardly helpful to anyone. Basically everything between "eliminative materialism" and "Paul," is not terribly useful, when that should be the most useful part of the question. I also find it odd to avoid mentioning some really major works, like Patricia Churchland's collaboration with Sejnowski called The Computational Brain
or Paul's The Engine of Reason, the Seat of the Soul
. I don't know if people are doing things like memorizing Churchland titles (stop it) but there's no reason why a few of these can't be dropped in the end.
Ok, that's too many words about one question. My point is not "oh this question blew so much ass." It's not a horrible question, but it's also not great, which is evident to someone who knows a bit about the topic. The way the clues are put together seems to generally make sense, but a lot of the material is either in the wrong place or not terribly useful. My impression, confirmed by a reading of some packets post mortem, is that a lot of the questions suffered from these sorts of problems. I don't deny that there were good questions in this tournament, and I think most of the ones that Ted points to were generally pretty solid. But there were also lots of downright poor or confusing questions. I'm happy to focus on the positives for a moment, but my concern is that the disparity between good and bad indicates an inability to actually distinguish good and bad question-writing practices on the author's part. In other words, I'm not convinced that Ike didn't just get lucky with some questions and unlucky with others. My goal is to point out that questions need to be structured in a certain way: a way that makes them readable and includes useful clues that are contextually meaningful. And I think that a lot of questions in this tournament failed in that regard and that made it a frustrating playing experience.
My challenge to Ted is to take what he thinks are the good aspects of the questions he outlines and generalize that to a methodology. I've offered my own view of what those criteria should be and it looks like Ted is in the process of working out his version, so I look forward to seeing that.