The Rubino Emails

August 6, 2012

Professor Price,

In reply to your letter of August 3, I note that Juarrero-Rubino, Emergence, Complexity and Self-Organization: Precursor and Prototypes is a book that collects and presents the original sources and draws them together by means of a detailed introduction.  Thus my statements that "Alicia Juarrero and I were the first to do this" and that "no treatment prior to ours brings together these sources."

I would also note that a Goggle search of "precursors and prototypes," "precursors prototypes," "precursors and prototypes emergence," 
"precursors and prototypes complexity," etc immediately turns up our book and not the works you mention.

I call your attention once again to my remarks about the "pattern of argumentation" and to Alicia Juarrero's spreadsheet, which meticulously tracks the correspondences between Deacon-Cashman and our Introduction.

I am gratified that you intend to go forward with an investigation of our claims.  Your letter, however, raises concerns that you, the person in charge of conducting that investigation, seem to be acting as Professor Deacon's advocate in the matter.  That, I hope, will not be the case.

I have, as you will note, sent copies of this message to Alicia Juarrero and Michael Lissack, since their involvement in this matter entitles them to be aware of these proceedings.


Carl A. Rubino

July 25, 2012

Professor Price,

You write, "The two works in question cover very similar, nearly identical, intellectual terrain.  Hence, it is not unusual that both works would reference the same contributors to the scholarly literature on the subject, especially if their contributions were seminal or foundational.  Indeed, it would be surprising if parallel references did not occur."

In reply, I note the following:

1. Our introduction was published in 2008, three years before the 2011 Deacon/Cashman piece.  If Deacon/Cashman, as you admit, "covers very similar, nearly identical, intellectual terrain," our work, which was published three years prior to theirs and has been readily accessible on the web since then, should have been cited.

2. We are not talking here about "scholarly literature" on the subject, but, as the title of our book notes, about the "precursors and prototypes" of the notions of emergence and complexity.  To the best of my knowledge, Alicia Juarrero and I were the first to do this.  Your investigation needs to determine the likelihood that Deacon/Cashman just happened to track nearly identical terrain and independently come upon so many of the same "predecessors and prototypes."

You also write, "the mere existence of reference to the same scholarship is not plagiarism, unless it can be shown that the explication or treatment of the referenced authors in the Deacon/Cashman piece is so similar to that in your and Juarrero's chapter that the former had to be lifted from the latter.  If we are to undertake an investigation based on your claim of research misconduct you will need to show by specific reference to the texts why you believe that Deacon/Cashman's treatment of the authors you mention could not have been developed other than by appropriation of ideas from your chapter."

In reply, I note that the pattern of argumentation--i.e., the order in which the premises are presented and the examples used in those premises--is part of an author’s "explication or treatment."  Therefore I refer once again to the example of our discussion of Kant, Mill, Broad, Alexander, Lewes, and Morgan (see our Table of Contents vi-vii and pp. 10-11, 4-5, and 13-16).  The Deacon/Cashman piece meticulously tracks that discussion and duplicates our references (pp. 201-202 with reference on p. 205;  pp. 195-196, with references on pp. 204-205).  I know of no treatment prior to ours that brings together these sources--especially one that associates John Stuart Mill with the so-called British emergentists.

As I indicated in my letter, I would also recommend a comparison of the Deacon/Cashman discussions of Prigogine-Stengers (p. 198 and reference on p. 205) and Pepper (p. 196, with no reference--because, I would suggest, we did not give a full one) with ours (Prigogine on pp. 7 et passim; Pepper on pp. 18-19).

If you want a more detailed description of the parallels between Deacon/Cashman and our Introduction, I have attached a spreadsheet prepared by Alicia Juarrero that also notes some striking correspondences between Deacon/Cashman and her piece "Intentions as Complex Dynamical Attractors," in J. H. Aguilar and A. A. Buckareff (eds.), Causing Human Actions: New Perspectives on the Causal Theory of Action (MIT, 2010).

It is an established fact that Terrence Deacon is acquainted with the work of Alicia Juarrero and Michael Lissack, who is the Executive Director of Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence, which published our book.  I therefore contend that he did not come upon the correspondences with our work independently and that he failed to cite our work to in order to make it appear that it was his own.

Carl A. Rubino

July 21, 2012

Robert  Price  Associate Vice  Chancellor  for  Research
Research Integrity  Officer  (RIO)  Professor  of  Political  Science
119  California  Hall
University  of  California,   Berkeley  Berkeley,  CA  94720 

Dear  Professor  Price:

As I  wrote  to  Professor  Broughton  on  May  25,  my  charge  against  Terrence  Deacon  involves  the  Introduction  that  Alicia  Juarrero  and  I  wrote  for  our  2008  book  Emergence,  Complexity,  and  Self-­Organization:  Precursors  and  Prototypes.    A  comparison  of  our  Introduction  with  the  2011  Deacon-­‐Cashman  piece  entitled  "Eliminativism,  Complexity  and  Emergence"  reveals  parallels  that  cannot  be  written  off  as  mere  coincidence.

Both pieces  are  attached.    I  note  that  our  Introduction  and a  detailed  Table  of  Contents  have  been  readily  accessible  on  the  web  since the book's  publication  back  in  2008  (see    The  Deacon-­‐Cashman  piece  is  from­‐w-­‐deacon.

There are  many  suspect  parallels  between  Deacon-­‐Cashman  and  our  2008  piece,  which  covers  much  the  same  ground:  note  the  discussions  of  and  references  to  Kant,  Pepper,  Prigogine,  etc.    An  especially  striking  example  is  the  Deacon-­‐Cashman  discussion  of  Mill,  Broad,  Alexander,  Lewes,  and  Morgan,  which  carefully  tracks  both  our  discussion  and  our  references.    At  no  point  do  Deacon  and  Cashman  cite  our  work.

As you  know,  Alicia  Juarrero  has  already  noted  the  same  sorts  of  similarities between  our  Introduction  and  Deacon's  2011  book  Incomplete  Nature.

Deacon’s failure  to  cite  our  work  cannot  be  dismissed  as  mere  "sloppy  scholarship,”  no  more  than  shoplifting  can  be  called  "sloppy  shopping."    To  me  it  is  abundantly  clear  that  he  has  been  mining  the  work  of  others  and  passing  it  off  as  his  own. 
Your last  message  to  me  refers  to  UC  Berkeley’s  "policies  and  procedures.”    If  those  policies  condone  this  sort  of  dishonesty,  it is indeed  a  sad  day  for  the  University  of  California.

I  hope that you  and  your  colleagues  will treat  this  matter  with  the  seriousness  it  deserves.


June 5, 2012

Dear Vice Provost Broughton,

    I write to state my opinion that Professor Terrence Deacon has    intentionally misappropriated the work of Alicia Juarrero and myself    (I refer to our Introduction to Emergence, Complexity, and      Self-Organization: Precursors and Prototypes [ISCE Publishing,    2008]).

    I sincerely hope that the University of California will take the    steps necessary to deal with this matter.

    Carl A. Rubino
    Winslow Professor of Classics
    Hamilton College