verbalism

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In universities I always felt the presence of a cottony wad of verbalisms between the poet and the poem--the constant presence of all kinds of extraneous and far-fetched theories and explanations of poems.
The inescapable dilemma at the heart of curriculum and instruction must, once and for all be made clear: either teaching everything of importance reduces it to trivial, forgettable verbalisms or lists; or schooling is a necessarily inadequate apprenticeship, where "preparation" means something quite humble: learning to know and do a few important things well and leaving out much of importance.
Aquinas, however, and most medievals with him refused to equate nonexistents with mere fictions and so dismiss them as empty verbalisms.
Putting verbalisms to one side, Rakove and I are at one in understanding the Federalists as revolutionizing the mainline of Anglo-American constitutional theory and practice--and revolutionizing it in the direction of popular sovereignty.
We taught Ito to establish a mind set - accept the whistles, boos, and verbalisms as compliments.
In the category of questions that were unduly simple we may also include some that were more in the nature of tests of vocabulary, or mere verbalisms, than tests of true mathematical competence ('what is the ratio of the length of the side of a square to its perimeter?