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I've just read this paragraph:

It remains to Husserl' s credit that he did not give in to the superficial pessimism which repeats itself in every age but which grew to a crescendo in the 1920's, nor did he simply pronounce solutions.

The word "but" is seemingly used without its usual contrasting. Is this OK or I'm missing something?

  • Always present to some extent but present to an unprecedented extent in the 1920s. Think of a graph: relatively flat, then climbing abruptly in the 20s. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 2 '18 at 11:51
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Nope, there's contradiction there. This "the superficial pessimism which repeats itself in every age but which grew to a crescendo in the 1920's," could be rephrased as

"There is a superficial pessimism which repeats itself in every age. However, this repetition didn't repeat as normal in the 1920s, it grew to the strongest level it had ever been ("grew to a crescendo")."

So, the contradiction is in saying that the repetition wasn't normal.

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Correctamundo on the hidden contrast between "steady state" and "crescendo." But ... there's another red flag here, and one of my pet peeves Crescendo (portmanteau from Italian, by the way) means the process of rising in volume or intensity, not the fortissimo final loudness level. (The term is originally a musical one, but has expanded to mean any ballooning increase in metaphorical "size".) You don't "reach a crescendo" any more than you reach a footrace. Call me a prescriptionist curmumudgeon if you will, but definitions do avoid confusion and growing is not full size.

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