An “old” Mistake

We don’t use “whence” and “whither” much any more. But when you do, be sure to get the words right!

Whence means from which, from where, or from when, depending on the context.

Whither is similar, but the implied preposition is “to.”

I enjoy Michael Shermer’s column in Scientific American (in this case, the July 2018 issue, page 73). His material is interesting and thought-provoking. But hah! I caught him in a solecism! Here’s the quote:

That is the compatibilist position from whence volition and culpability emerge. 

“Whence” already means “from where,” So he doesn’t need the “from.” I’d say that considering the rest of the vocabulary in that sentence, maybe he’s being careless; “whence” without the “from” would certainly fit.