In fact, labor and plagiarism were entwined from the start. The word derives from the Latin plagiarius, referring to "kidnapper." Around the first century A.D., Roman satirist Martial gave us its modern sense when he wrote an epigram complaining that another man (whom he labeled a "plagiarius") had kidnapped his writings (which he metaphorically labeled his slaves) and was passing them off as his own. What had been a metaphor for a slave-stealer—someone who got labor for free—became a symbolic expression for the theft of words.The academic sin of plagiarism is only partially described by this framework. From a teacher's perspective, plagiarism destroys the ability to assess a student's work, making meaningless half the labor of teaching.
Jan 12, 2007
plagiarism and labor
Long-time reader and all around good guy Josh sends a link to this Slate piece on why we don't like plagiarism. The demands of originality are addressed first. Especially in creative contexts, we like our authors to be original. "Distribution of labor," the plagiarist as slacker, is discussed second.