An epistemological essay on knowledge constructed by the media

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Satan phil
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 09:35 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;65994 wrote:
How about, every event must have a cause. No person can have parents other than the parent he has? How are those "true by definition"?


Are they true? I'm not sure that they are. The second one is also ambiguous. Do you mean that if Fred and Janice weren't my parents then I wouldn't have been born? If so, how could you possibly know that? Or do you mean that as a tautology, as in "the time is always now"?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 09:54 am
@Satan phil,
Satan;65999 wrote:
Are they true? I'm not sure that they are. The second one is also ambiguous. Do you mean that if Fred and Janice weren't my parents then I wouldn't have been born? If so, how could you possibly know that? Or do you mean that as a tautology, as in "the time is always now"?


Of course, I would not have been born, since the person who might have been born of other parents could not have had my DNA and my genetic structure. So. it is impossible that I could have had other parents. It is a necessary biological truth.
 
Satan phil
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 10:09 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;66001 wrote:
Of course, I would not have been born, since the person who might have been born of other parents could not have had my DNA and my genetic structure. So. it is impossible that I could have had other parents. It is a necessary biological truth.


I don't see why you think it's necessary. I can conceive of different parents producing a child with your exact same DNA so it's not logically impossible. It's a contingent truth based on the facts of human biology. Remember, there are two ways something can be true, based on the facts and by definition or axiomatically. I don't know how to determine if a fact is necessary or not and I don't know how you can either. I see nothing stopping every child being born from having your DNA, it just doesn't happen. How do you manage to contend that it's necessary?
 
stormmonarch
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 11:24 am
@stormmonarch,
Thank you everyone for the discussion.
The discussion is interesting but personally I feel that it is a bit off-topic. I think that it is because my description of the research is not clear enough. I sincerely apologise for that.
The focus is not on whether an event or an entity exists or not. It is more on how we know when we watch televisions or read news. The images and the sounds are the input. The knowledge we have at the end (if any) is the output. I am curious on the process in between from input to output.
Hope that it is clear enough this time. Once again, I apologise for the confusion.

[QUOTE=kennethamy;65857]I think that is substantially how we decide how much credence we should give to media reports. Of course, is it extremely unlikely (although not impossible, of course) that a major news outlet would say that there was a war going on if there were not. After all, there are lots of news outlets nowadays, and no one outlet could get away with it for even a minute, and they would have to be crazy to try to do so, don't you think? What do you think CBS would do if NBC reported a war which CBS knew did not occur? These outlets, after all, are in heavy competition with each other.But, of course, it is true that one news outlet might distort its reports, so as to give misinformation, or even disinformation. So that we always have to employ critical thinking in the evaluation of news reports. And consider, as people say, "the reliability of the source" and of course, what we know of any biases it may have. And, also, reporters make mistakes, and are often in a hurry to meet a deadline, and may skip over important facts. Someone once said that when you have no personal knowledge of what is being reported, the report is reliable, but when you do have personal knowledge of what is being reported, the report you hear and watch bears little resemblance to what you, yourself, know what happened.

By the way, one correction: The word you have in mind is, I believe, "corroboration", and not, "collaboration", which means something different.

You can call me, "Your excellency",Smile[/QUOTE]

Thank you for your insight. I will surely explore the point on competition among news outlets in my essay. On the other hand, do you remember where you get the following idea "Someone once said that when you have no personal knowledge of what is being reported, the report is reliable, but when you do have personal knowledge of what is being reported, the report you hear and watch bears little resemblance to what you, yourself, know what happened." I would like to study more on this.
You were correct about me making the mistake. I meant "corroboration". English is not my mother tongue, so please pardon my mistakes.
Thanks again, Your excellency. :a-ok:
LWSleeth;65859 wrote:
I don't think the media fabricates entire events, but without doubt the media at times attempts to shape how we interpret certain events. A good way to observe this is simply to compare the political coverage between, say, Fox News and MSNBC. Most often the difference is what facts are included and omitted, what facts are emphasized most, and even the tone of voice reporters use to describe events. There's little doubt that Fox subscribes to a conservative view, and MSNBC offers a more liberal take on things.

Regarding "knowledge," anytime we rely on reports from others we must listen with the understanding that the reports may be skewed to support some ideology of the reporting agency. Such "spin" is so common that if a subject is important to me, I make sure to read many reports. For everyday knowledge of current events, I seldom resort to that kind of rigorous study, but I also don't assume I have real knowledge.

For those reasons and others, "absolute truth" should never be expected from media reporting. In epistemology, "truth" is an exact correspondence (exact as possible) between a concept about reality and the aspect of reality the concept describes. Besides bias, even the most objective report can suffer from innocent misrepresentations where someone gives an impression they didn't intend, honestly report false facts, etc.

If it were my essay, I might start by comparing two news agencies like Fox and MSNBC, and then contrasting the relatively more neutral perspective of CNN. Possibly I'd take a world story and check out how the many news agencies online report it. Here's an interesting world news site where you can see news from everywhere: World News

Thank you for your suggestion. I think that studying how different news sources portrait the same event will help to determine the nature of the knowledge constructed by the media.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 11:55 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;65978 wrote:
So, you will be able to explain how it is possible for a person to think he exists even if he does not exist.


If the person is mistaken about his own nature.

This is one of the problems with Descartes' theory.

By definition, for thinking to occur the verb (think) must have a subject. Descartes simply reiterates conventions of grammar. But we have to wonder: when does relying on conventions of grammar cease to produce accurate models of reality and begin to reinforce conventions of convenience as reality? Are appeals to conventions of grammar acceptable arguments at all?

Obviously, this depends. On a day to day level, out of the need for clear and understandable communication between people of vastly different educational, social, and philosophical backgrounds, we can safely rely on conventions of grammar. In this common use of language as convenient communication we can rightly argue that when we use a verb, the action must belong to some subject. If we use an adjective, the description must belong to some object. To speaking of thinking existing without something to think is pretty useless in conversational language.

But philosophy is not conversational language, and some of the most celebrated innovations in philosophy have been rejections of conventional language. The subject-object problem was turned on its head when Kant proposed that subjects affect the way an object is observed. What if the basic assumptions underlying sentence structure, while being effective means for most communication, are metaphysically misleading?

Look at the way you ask the question: how is it possible for a person to think he exists even if he does not exist. The very asking assumes that a person does exist. What if the person does not exist? Instead of presupposing a self in the first place, shouldn't we reformulate the question into something like: "How is it possible for thinking to occur if a self does not exist?" We have to rephrase the question in order to avoid begging the question.

For Descartes, the self was a thinking substance, thinking being the essential characteristic of the self. A given substance exists independently of the rest of reality. Thus, the self exists independently of the rest of reality. But if we, through empirical evidence, show that thinking does not exist independently of the rest of reality then we can disprove Descartes immediately. Even Descartes recognized the trouble he faced from such an objection, which he tried to deflect by proposing his medical speculations about the pituitary gland. Today, of course, Cartesian dualism has fallen out of fashion, among other reasons, because it cannot account for modern medical findings.

Descartes made no attempt to demonstrate by logic that only a self could think, or do whatever appears to be the act of thinking. Descartes argued that identity and substance could be assumed because he thought they were inherent to thinking: he believed that when a person thinks identity and substance are immediately understood. What he does not explain is why something must be true simply because people seem to assume it to be true. Descartes was familiar with philosophers who denied a static self, but he did not seem to mind ignoring their claims.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 08:18 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;66022 wrote:
If the person is mistaken about his own nature.

This is one of the problems with Descartes' theory.



Why would that matter? Whatever his nature, if he thinks he exists, then he exists.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sat 6 Jun, 2009 01:39 pm
@stormmonarch,
A question to ask yourself might be: in a free or open society, how does the competition amongst the various media help assure a more or less accurate account of events? How does the Internet, by providing more and more information (assuming it is subjected to scrutiny) in an uncontrolled manner also contribute to accuracy?
Much of our knowledge is socially constructed. It is there before us to learn from birth. But does this mean that such is somehow "deficient" in truthfulness? And is there only one criterion for truth that we can apply to every possible case?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 09:35 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;66882 wrote:
A question to ask yourself might be: in a free or open society, how does the competition amongst the various media help assure a more or less accurate account of events? How does the Internet, by providing more and more information (assuming it is subjected to scrutiny) in an uncontrolled manner also contribute to accuracy?
Much of our knowledge is socially constructed. It is there before us to learn from birth. But does this mean that such is somehow "deficient" in truthfulness? And is there only one criterion for truth that we can apply to every possible case?


If something is "socially constructed" then it may be made up, and if it is just made up, then it is false. And if it is false, it is not knowledge.
 
Paggos
 
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 06:43 pm
@stormmonarch,
stormmonarch;65827 wrote:
Hello. I am Tempest. I am a grade 12 student who is currently writing a philosophical essay. I would love to receive your suggestion and to discuss with you about the topic of my essay to gain more insight.
My essay is about how media constructs knowledge of global events. Our knowledge is greatly influenced by the media (newspaper and televisions). Thus, I am interested in knowing how we obtain the knowledge of an event, especially a global one, through media. For instance, our knowledge of the existence of Gulf War mostly came from the media. What if the event did not happen and it were a fabrication of the media? How can we say that we know the event, if we use the principle of justified true belief?
Furthermore, I am interested in knowing the nature of this kind of knowledge. Can it be considered as absolute truth? Is it changeable?
I would love to discuss with all of you on this topic.
I would also appreciate suggestion on some reading materials.
Thank you so much for your help.


The knowledge we receive from the media is mainly void, and out of context. You could also bring up that it influences our thinking on matters. Take Michael jackson and those accusations that were placed before his death. The media was pretty much stating that he DID do it, therefore it influenced other people to believe that. I believe it was fake, and that parents wanted to get the quick dollar because michael was rich, and thats a easy dollar right there.
 
 

 
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