Critical Notice by McGinn
The article Critical notice by McGinn argues about Thomas Nagel’s ideology about the persistent temptation to turn philosophy into something that is less difficult that it is presently. The topic addressed in the article include Mind, knowledge and value.
The article Critical notice is basically talking about Thomas Nagel’s book that is arguing about the attempts to make philosophy an easy discipline by making it shallow than it is presently. The author of this article writes about Nagel and how he tackles some of the hardest philosophical problems. But the author of the article argues that Nagel’s Concerns are unconnected. This is true as there is he does not provide a clear way how we can conceive our own minds as one example of our many forms of consciousness. The article goes on to discuss about Nagel’s Ideologies. His use of the word subjective and objective attracts the authors attention as he thinks that there usage is not altogether consistent as his notion an ideology is haunted by ambiguity throughout the book. In his argument about knowledge, Nagel applies his knowledge in metaphysics to explain the fact that we are contained in the world and not the other way round. Therefore it is realistic that we cannot understand the world’s objective nature fully as we are limited creatures thrown up by evolution. But in my opinion, the urge to study and understand the world is the key to increase our knowledge. Therefore we should advance in studying our world and understand its nature and objectivity.
Reflection on Philosophy
#the article is primarily concerned with the systematic investigation of the most general principles of reality. This means that the author of the article is concerned on how to sort those things that are real and those that are just imaginations.
The authors starts by defining the word metaphysics. The study of metaphysic help people to be able to differentiate between myths and those things that freely exist. It provides us with the tools to investigate and build evidence of reality. For instance the author of the article says that a metaphysician does not need laboratories to build sense but only logic. In addition to that, insight and intuition are equality important skills in studying reality.
The author of the article also dtalks about ontology. This is an attempt to determine what is. Philosophers who study this discipline are mostly concerned with the question of what things do exist and if existence is the same as being. Plato developed a lot of examples to explain existence. For instance he uses the allegory of the cave to show how people are resistant to the truth even if they are told about it. As the prisoner is released from the cave, he realizes that all that he thought he knew was only a shadow of the real thing. But not all philosophers agree with the ideologies set by metaphysics. They tend to argue that the art to determine the nature of ultimate reality as useless and meaningless. But it is evident from the article that metaphysics is the mother of science and it helps in understanding things exactly as they are.
The Politics of Credibility
# Feminist epistemology has two major themes that help in building the roles of our epistemic concepts such as knowledge, rationality, objectivity and justification. They help in generating ad reinforcing authority by supporting credible norms and authorize some agents as knowers while deauthorizing others.
The author of the article addresses the question of ethics and practical epistemology. She wants to investigate how to approach a subclass of testimonials utterances. She brings up the question of how we can think of testimony as a ground for credibility. How does testifying proof the credibility of something? In cases where there is testimony, arguments are replaced and the audience can’t assess the cogency of the reasons given. The trustworthiness of informants has two components and that is respect for the truth and veracity with respect to a specific situation. But it is not often guaranteed that the testifier gives correct information. But testifiers who belong to suspect groups suffer double disadvantage as they risk being deauthorized twice as knowers on account of who they are and what they know. Therefore in the course of working out trustworthiness and credibility measures, the question of all things considered becomes obvious. In some cases, reaching a credible verdict is direct as one testifies. But in other cases, reaching a verdict may be difficult as two grounds may be pulling against each other with equal forces. In this case, reaching a final verdict will be a matter of delicate judgment and one that is not reductable by rules that can affect the decision. This article helps in understanding the politics surrounding credibility of information and how to go about in verifying if information can be considered to be credible.
Truth and Rationality
# the article is about how arguments provide reasons to believe in their conclusion or not. But for an argument to be considered to be true, it must give a good reason for its conclusion to be seen to be true.
This article covers the aspect of truth and rationality in an argument. It starts on how one should judge an argument if it reflects the truth or not. Among the factors that are considered by the article is the language used in an argument. The kind of language used in an argument is a clear reflection of the argument and the kind of conclusion that will be drawn from it. To say that the sentence is true means that the things in the sentence are really the way they are presented. A sentence is true if it corresponds to the facts as they are. This means a sentence must correspond to the current facts for it to be considered true. The next question answered by the article is what counts as a good reason for thinking that a proposition is true. The only way to come to a conclusion that an argument is true or false is by believing.
This is because a person cannot have more than one attitude towards a certain argument.it is either true of false. But one must have a reason to believe. This includes evidence provided in the argument and natural facts. But it does not mean that every time one needs to ascertain that an argument is true he or she has to consider its conclusive evidence. This is the most common error that people make when thinking about the rationality and evidence provided by an argument. Sometimes the evidence provided by a argument may be misleading. But even if the evidence changes, the rationality of a person’s believe cannot be changed. Therefore, a belief can be rational even though it is false.
The Power of Critical Thinking
# the article focuses on the reason to believe or doubt something in conflicting claims. It also analyzes cases where expert opinions conflict with claims and how such cases should be treated.
This article focuses on the reasons why we should embrace the art of critically thinking about everything and the kind of power that is vested in that. For instance, it covers cases where claims conflict with each other. In this case one should be able to understand each claim and developed good reason to accept or doubt it. On top of that, one should be able to appreciate a claim that is neither completely dubious nor fully credible. We should proportion our belief to the evidence. In addition to that, the article covers cases where a claim conflicts with an expert opinion and how we should take that. First we should be able to understand what makes someone an expert and what doesn’t.
We should be able to distinguish between experts and non-experts by using the indicators of expertise. In analyzing a claim, one should use the available evidence to ascertain if the claim is true or false. This requires that one use his own experience only if the evidence provides no good reason to doubt it. From the article also, we are able to learn on how to resist the tendency to resist contrary evidence, be able to sense the possibility of confirmation bias and be alert to the possibility of the availability of error. One should also embrace the art of critical thinking in analyzing claims in the news as sometimes news may turn to be false. This is possible when one has a basic understanding of how the news media work and what factors influence the claims that they generate. Finally, article covers the advertising and persuasion claims. One should be able to understand and apply the guiding principles of critical thinking about advertising since not all the claims in advertisements are true. This can be possible only if one is familiar with the common tricks of persuasion used by advertisers.
Gender Identity in Boys Don’t Cry.
# Gender identity is crucial for human beings as it gives them the ability to make sense in our daily lives. When an individual fails to understand his gender, people run into confusion forcing them to use various stereotypes to define a person. A typical example of a usual stereotype is boys do not cry#
From the article, it is clear that having a sense of self is very meaningful to our lives. However, one cannot have a personal identity without knowing his or her gender. Gender identity is what differentiates men and women in the society. It is significant first to understand the origin of gender identity and how people came to believe in its existence. This question has been reviewed in a film boys don’t cry by Kimberley Peirce by real events that resulted in the death of Teena/Brandon. Teena/Brandon left people confused about whether he was a man or woman since this character did not know its gender. Other people felt he was a man while others thought he was a woman. The author of the article uses various perspectives to determine the actual gender of Teena/Brandon by first exploring the theories of gender.
Using the realist perspective, people tried to use the body constitution to conclude the gender. Some argued that due to the presence of a vagina he is a woman. Contradictorily, the feminist theory asserts that gender can be subjectively determined and socially constructed. Sex and gender are not related. From social construction, one is a man or a woman if they possess characteristics deemed appropriate for males and females. From subjectivist theory, one can be a man or woman depending on what he believes he or she is. This means the existence or nature of something depends on the beliefs of an individual. The author of the article concludes by assessing both theories and posits that none of the approaches is thoroughly efficient in determining gender. Both theories are subject to criticism.
Objectivity and Subjectivity:
# the difference between subjective and objective is a matter of degree. Objective primarily consists of conceptions and not conceived properties nor facts. Subjective conceptions give an overview of a fact from a particular point of view while exploiting that given point as the representation medium. Otherwise, it will be termed as objective#
The article focuses on the observation of McGinn from the formulation of Nagel. He argues that by taking into consideration the distinction offered by Nagel, there is likely to be a confusion between the two uses. According to the author, a property or fact is subjective so long as it involves a specific point of view. He argues when a fact lacks a medium that s represented, it automatically becomes objective. Using his distinction, he comes up with four instances.
In the first instance, there is a subjective conception of a fact that is subjective. He gives an example of when one imagines of personal conscious states and others similar to them such as when you conceive of one’s pain. In this case, the medium of representation is sensing one’s pain, and the specific point of view is one’s own.
The second instance is having a subjective conception of a fact that is objective. This entails representing a primary quality using our perspectival representation. For instance, when we imagine of squareness, we do that using our view and then express it through the way it seems to us.
The third instance is an objective conception of a fact that is subjective. For example how we conceive consciousness schematically and generally. He uses science to bring his point home by revealing how it takes into account the existence of a third party. The final instance is an objective conception of a fact that is objective. He stipulates that the objectivity or subjectivity of a fact does not determine whether the fact is conceivable objectively or subjectively.
During this course I have been able to learn a lot of thing. This course is concerned with two broad areas of inquiry, facts and falsehood and sex and gender. This course has helped me to develop skills on how to approach ontological and Epistemological questions that we face in a day to day basis. We started the course by studying Facts and falsehoods. This has helped me to be able to understand what should be considered to be a fact and what should be considered to be a false proposition. To ascertain if a statement if a fact of a falsehood, one should look at it from both the ontological point of view and also the Epistemological point of view. But still that will not be enough as one has to use the instruments of investigation. This instruments are objectivity and subjectivity.
Objectivity refers to the way the world is from an Ontological point of View. This include the state of affairs and the facts that we hold belief on. This are the facts that we don’t have any control over their existence. An example is a square. It will always remain to be a closed figure that has four equal sides and four right angles. That is a fact and it will always remain to be so. But from an Epistemological point of view, Objectivity refers to the evidence and conceptions of facts, state affairs or the way that the world is. This do not depend on an individual’s personal perspective. Like the example of a square, it does not require ones perspective but instead the axioms and theorems and rules for deriving a conclusion.
Subjectivity on the other hand refers to the way the world is or facts that depend on their existence on a certain perspective. For instance when one cuts him or herself, he feels the pain. But the pain cannot exist without him or her. This is from the Ontological point of view. From the Epistemological point of view, subjectivity refers to evidence or conceptions of the state of affairs and facts. For example one can know when he or she is in pain. It does not need him or her to visit a hospital to be checked if he or she is in pain.
In conclusion, I have acquired a number of skills throughout the course. Among them is how to deal with facts, evidence and belief. This includes how to differentiate between facts and falsehoods. In addition to that, the course gave me an opportunity to understand the power of critical thinking and finally the concept of Objectivity and subjectivity.