Hippocratic Oath for the Pluralist
from Critical Understanding:
the Powers and Limits of Pluralism
by Wayne Booth (1979)
i. I will publish nothing, favorable or unfavorable,
about books or articles I have not read through at least once. (By
“publish” I mean any writing or speaking that “makes
public,” including term papers, theses, course lectures, and
ii. I will try to publish nothing about any book
or article until I have understood it, which is to say, until I
have reason to think that I can give an account of it that the author
himself will recognize as just.
iii.I will take no critic’s word, when he
discusses other critics, unless he can convince me that he has abided
by the first two ordinances. I will assume, until a critic proves
otherwise, that what he says against the playing style of other
critics is useful, at best, as a clue to his own game. I will be
almost as suspicious when he presents a “neutral” summary
and even when he praises.
iv. I will not undertake any project that by its
very nature requires me to violate Ordinances i–iii.
v. I will not judge my own inevitable violations
of the first four ordinances more leniently than those I find in
to Literary Guides index