Peter J. Schulz Plagiarizes Again—And Is Caught By Philosophy Prof.’s Class (updated)


Peter J. Schulz, who has a PhD in philosophy from Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (Germany) and is currently employed as Professor of Communication in the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the University of Lugano, and who already had four plagiarism-related retractions (and three citation-related errata) to his name, was again found to have plagiarized—this time by a class of undergraduate students.The recent accusation and the resultant retraction of Schulz’s “Subjectivity from a Semiotic Point of View” (from a 2001 volume from the Nordic-Baltic Summer Institute for Semiotic and Structural Studies), is discussed in a post at Retraction WatchSchulz was found to have plagiarized from philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny and Pope John Paul II.

I corresponded about the case with Michael V. Dougherty, Professor and Sr. Ruth Caspar Chair in Philosophy at Ohio Dominican University. He informed me that the retraction was requested by him and his undergraduate students in his “Critical Research and Writing” honors course.

“As a class, we tracked down the sources together and sent the retraction request to the publisher,” he says.

Here’s the letter they sent, along with an annotated version of Schulz’s piece.

And here’s a sample of the plagiarism:

An example of Peter J. Schulz’s plagiarism.

Related post: “Plagiarism In Philosophy: How Publishers Respond

UPDATE (1/22/2018): Schulz’s employer, the University of Lugano (also known as Università della Svizzera Italiana or USI) says there will be no new investigation of Schulz’s academic misbehavior. “The case in question—reads a note—falls within the period and in the methods already taken into consideration in the context of the investigation that the USI conducted, concluded and made public in August 2016,” reports Tio.

The University also appears to cast aspersions on Michael Dougherty, who brought the plagiarism to light and who regularly investigates and studies plagiarism in philosophy (I say “appears to” as I am not sure of the quality of the translation I’m reading): “the source of these reports is always the same: the fury with which this person proceeds requires a certain caution in acting and an accurate assessment of the good foundation of the continuous ‘complaints.'” I’m familiar with several of Dougherty’s interventions into academic integrity and I’d say his thorough and measured approach suggests not “fury” but diligence. If this report about the university’s comments about Dougherty is correct, it is very disappointing.

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