January 31, 2013

UC-Berkeley Exonerates Anthropologist Who Was Accused of Stealing Ideas

By Tom Bartlett


[Updated (1/31/2013, 10:10 a.m.) with a response from Michael Lissack.]

Terrence Deacon did not commit plagiarism. He did not steal anyone’s ideas. Instead, he was the victim of a “relentless e-mail and Internet campaign” that unfairly damaged his reputation.

Those are the key findings of a report released late Wednesday by the University of California at Berkeley, which investigated allegations that Mr. Deacon, a professor of anthropology at the university, borrowed and then failed to cite much of the material in his 2012 book, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged From Matter.

In the report, an investigative committee determined that, while there was “considerable overlap in the issues discussed” in Mr. Deacon’s book and Alicia Juarrero’s Dynamics in Action,published more than 10 years earlier, it found no evidence of pilfering. The committee instead concluded that Mr. Deacon “pursues, independently, a line of thought which is, at a very general level, similar to that pursued by Juarrero.”

Read the rest of the article (from the Chronicle of Higher Education) here:



Terrence Deacon