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Philosophy 111 Discussion: Facts And Falsehoods (Essay Sample)


Devoted to a discussion of what you have learned in this course. Due April 20th, 5:00 p.m. There should be a clear demarcation between entries, and a division between the first topic--facts, evidence, and falsehoods, and the second--sex and gender.
Philosophy 111 is in online, Writing Intensive course, that introduces student to basic philosophical branches of philosophy, and to conceptual tools and views indispensable for certain types of philosophical investigation. The problems we will be concerned with are of interest within philosophy, but, also in our lives outside of philosophical investigation. The two branches in question are ontology and epistemology.
Ontology pertains to what there is, and the nature of what there is. Does God exist? This is an ontological question. God exists. This is an ontological assertion. God is omnipotent. This ontological assertion pertains to God's nature.
Epistemology pertains to the study of knowledge. Epistemological questions include (not exhaustively) What is knowledge?; Do we have knowledge of the external world?; What is a belief? What is evidence? What is the relation between evidence and knowledge or evidence and true belief?
This course is concerned with two broad areas of inquiry: Facts and Falsehoods (including fake news) and Sex and Gender. Both areas require ontological and epistemological treatment. Consider some examples.
Facts and Falsehoods
Facts and Falsehoods from an Ontological View
What is a fact?
What is false proposition?
Facts and Falsehoods from an Epistemological View
How do we know that we're dealing with a fact rather than a falsehood?
Sex and Gender
Sex and Gender from an Ontological Point of View
Do sexes and genders exist?
What determines (i.e., brings it about) that someone is a female? What determines that someone is a male? What determines (i.e., bring it about) that someone is a girl or a woman? What determines (i.e., bring it about) that someone is a boy or a man?
Are there only two sexes; are there only two genders?
Sex and Gender from an Epistemological View
How do we know who is male/female?; How do we know who is a woman or a man?
So far so good. We have two branches of philosophy—Ontology and Epistemology, and two areas of inquiry. And finally, we have two instruments that we will use (in some cases) for investigation. They are objectivity and subjectivity.
Objectivity and Subjectivity take epistemic (meaning pertaining to epistemology) and ontological forms.
We shall study objectivity and subjectivity during the course of the semester. But consider the following examples, just to get an idea.
Objectivity from an Ontological Point of View pertains to ways the world is, or states of affairs, or facts that hold independently of us. We might not have existed, but those ways, or states of affairs, or facts, could have existed. We do not determine their existence by thinking about them, by defining them, or by naming them. Their existence in no way depends on us.
E.g., A square is a plane, closed figure with four equal straight sides and four right angles. This is what a square is whether or not we apprehend that this is so.
Objectivity from an Epistemological Point of View pertains to evidence, representations, or conceptions of states of affairs, or facts, or ways the world is, that do not depend on one's particular perspective.
E.g. In geometry, in high school, you might have proved that a square has four right angles. The proof (a type of representation) does not depend on your particular perspective. It depends on axioms, theorems, and rules for deriving a conclusion.
Subjectivity from an Ontological Point of View pertains to ways the world is, or states of affaires or facts that depend for their existence on a particular perspective. E.g., I just stubbed my toe. I feel pain. That particular experience of pain cannot exist without me! It is my sensation.
Subjectivity from an Epistemological Point of View pertains to evidence for representations of, or conceptions of states of affairs, facts, or ways the world is, that depend on a particular perspective. E.g., I can know that I am pain from my feeling of pain. (I don't have to check into a clinic, have my brain scanned, and come to a conclusion based on the technicians who read the brain scan say.) I feel my pain!
*Objectivity and Subjectivity, in both the ontological and epistemological senses, are matters of degree.
Finally, we will study Realism, Social Constructivism, and Subjectivism, which will help us think through ontological and epistemological problems that arise when considering investigations into sex and gender. These views are defined in “Popping It in: Gender Identity in Boys Don't Cry” in the module on Sex and Gender.


Philosophy 111 Discussion
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Philosophy 111 Discussion
As part of this course it is important to understand the various implications of the philosophical positions and areas of inquiry that we study. This is purposely because these areas of study affect the way in which we conceive and understand the world. For instance, understanding facts and falsehoods depends not only on the existence of said facts or falsehoods, but also on our knowledge of what facts and falsehoods are. In this respect, ontological and epistemological perspectives prove vital to understanding exactly what facts and falsehoods are, including fake news, and the exact issues that make some facts and others falsehoods, from both objective and subjective points of view. Understanding this differences i

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