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How to acknowledge a deceased person in an academic paper? Options
rmberwin
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 1:08:36 PM

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It's easy to simply acknowledge the work of someone, living or dead. But saying, "I'd like to thank the late so-and-so for his contributions to the field," seems illogical (actually thanking the person is impossible). What about, "I owe many thanks to the late so-and-so..."?

"Great art should never be mushed up!!"
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 1:50:43 PM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hello rmberwin.

I don't think that anyone would object to "I'd like to thank the late so-and-so for his contributions to the field."
It is true that you'd like to.

However, your suggestion is also good.
You could use "I appreciate" too.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2018 9:04:53 PM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

The thing about saying "I owe X thanks....." is that it doesn't matter whethere they are alive or dead: you are indebted to (owe something) to that person.

I, for example, owe a huge debt of thanks to a woman called Margaret Cavendish because she opened up the path of academic research I went down. I shall never be able to pay the debt I owe directly to her because she died over 500 years ago. So I try to repay it through what I do.

Alive or dead, acknowledging that you owe someone else thanks for helping you is honest and forthright. There is a saying in English about any of us who achieve anything doing it "on the shoulders of giants." It means we acknowledge that if it weren't for people greater/older/wiser/more knowledgable than us we wouldn't have been able to do what we have done. So it's always appreciated when we acknowledge one or any of these "giants" by name. (And it keeps us humble too!)
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