Rejection letters, correspondence, and miscellanea from the otherwise empty annals of the Journal of Universal Rejection.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Readers Reject IV: Universalism

Dear readership, here is your fourth opportunity to reject an abstract submitted to JofUR, and your first opportunity to reject two people from Harvard, one from Belgium, and someone from some mag known as Science, all in one fell swoop.  Please post your rejection letters in the Comments section.  Be careful, they are tricky.

What’s wrong with universalism?

 Abstract : In this paper, we argue against universalism. There are innumerable examples of exceptions to the rule. This, in fact is a rule. We look at the consequences of this important finding for publication ethics. Our finding is that, despite the weather, if the problem is proving that there are always exceptions to the rule, then proof depends on you. Were this paper to be (unfairly) rejected, it would support our secondary hypothesis that not every rule has an exception. 

Content : The proof is in the pudding (or in the abstract)


Axel Gosseries (Louvain University) 
John Bohannon (Science magazine) 
Nir Eyal (Harvard University)  
Leah Price (Harvard University)


  1. Rather than rejecting it straight away, I would suggest finding the names and postal addresses of suitable referees (they could, of course, be anywhere in the universe). Then place the submission in a suitable place in the filing system for further consideration.

    When you (eventually) re-find it, it should be sent by snail mail to the referees. Ensure that the snails are cleared for intergalactic travel, if appropriate.

    Upon receipt of your referee comments, you'll need to check that they either haven't colluded in writing their reviews, or alternatively you should resolve any conflicts. Either way, this may mean sending the manuscript out to another referee. Or seven.

    One of the referees may die during the process, but you really have to give them all the time they need, just in case. So wait 100 years or so to make sure that they are dead, rather than (say) busy marking essays.

  2. Pretentious IlliterateJune 23, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    I gather that your argument against universalism constitutes your support of particularism. If this assumption is correct, then kindly allow me to take a particularist approach to your paper's imminent rejection.

    If, per the particularist approach, the "rule" communicates a starting point for an agreement, then we may indeed agree that exceptions to the "rule" of universality exist. If - also according to the particularist approach - as circumstances change, so too should the terms of the agreement, then we may define a circumstance under which we agree that no exceptions to the "rule" of universality exist. Therefore, were this paper to be rejected (necessarily fairly, I might add), it would support the secondary hypothesis that the "rule" of universality has no exception under the defined circumstance.

    Please try to rework your thesis within a universalist, rather than a particularist, context. Looking forward to your corrected manuscript.