HCJ Rough Notes

May 22, 2011

The Very Rough Notes I used to revise. 

1) Outline the verification principle as party of the school of thought known as logical positivism. How might this principle be applied in the day to day work of Journalists? 

The verification theory (of meaning) is a philosophical theory proposed by the logical positivists of the Vienna Circle. A simplified form of the theory states that a proposition's meaning is determined by the method through which it is empirically verified. In other words, if something cannot be empiricially verified, it is meaningless. For example, the statement "It is raining" is meaningless unless there is a way whereby one could, in principle, verify whether or not it is in fact raining. The theory has radical consequences for traditional philosophy as it, if correct, would render much of past philosophical work meaningless, for example metaphysics and ethics. It is important to note that the theory is meant to be applied only to synthetic claims (i.e. claims about the world), rather than analytical ones. The statement of the theory itself was taken by Ayer to be an analytic claim.

Journalists rely on a professional discipline for verifying information. When the concept of objectivity originally evolved, it did not imply that journalists are free of bias. It called, rather, for a consistent method of testing information--a transparent approach to evidence--precisely so that personal and cultural biases would not undermine the accuracy of their work. The method is objective, not the journalist. Seeking out multiple witnesses, disclosing as much as possible about sources, or asking various sides for comment, all signal such standards. This discipline of verification is what separates journalism from other modes of communication, such as propaganda, fiction or entertainment. But the need for professional method is not always fully recognized or refined. While journalism has developed various techniques for determining facts, for instance, it has done less to develop a system for testing the reliability of journalistic interpretation.

Truth claims.
A way of categorising true/false/meaningless.

The Vienna Circle
AJ Ayer, truth language and logic
The truth of any statement.
If a truth claim cannot be verified it cannot be true or false

Of that we cannot speak we must be silent

Verifiable? -Journalist. What can we trust?

The truth of a statement is the verification of it -Ayer

Despo Victorstein ses of any need to prove it's metaphorical truth.

People who reject the VP:
Religious, karteseon, anyone who accepts fixed truths.

2) What is Phenomenology? Can there be such a thing as subjective reality/truth. What sort of standards out a journalist apply? 

is a broad philosophical movement emphasizing the study of conscious experience.

Phenomenology, in Husserl's conception, is primarily concerned with the systematic reflection on and analysis of the structures of consciousness, and the phenomena which appear in acts of consciousness.

Such descriptions in Phenomenology were to take place from a highly modified "first person" viewpoint, studying phenomena not as they appear to "my" consciousness, but to any consciousness whatsoever. Husserl believed that phenomenology could thus provide a firm basis for all human knowledge, including scientific knowledge, and could establish philosophy as a "rigorous science" of measurable perception.
Husserl's conception of phenomenology has been criticised and developed not only by himself, but also by his students Edith Stein and Martin Heidegger, by existentialists, such as Max Scheler, Nicolai Hartmann, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, and by other philosophers, such as Paul Ricoeur, Emmanuel Levinas, and sociologists Alfred Sch├╝tz and Eric Voegelin.
In its most basic form, phenomenology attempts to create conditions for the objective study of topics usually regarded as subjective: consciousness and the content of conscious experiences such as judgments, perceptions, and emotions. Although phenomenology seeks to be scientific, it does not attempt to study consciousness from the perspective of clinical psychology or neurology. Instead, it seeks through systematic reflection to determine the essential properties and structures of consciousness and conscious experience.

Subjective reality: 
Usually, in cases where truth appears to be subjective, language has caused confusion making that appear to be so. Let's take an example: when x says that 'y is disgusting', syntactically the implication is that y has the property 'disgusting'. What it really means, however, is that x has the property of being disgusted by y. Thus, I can say 'y is disgusting', and you can say 'y is not disgusting', and we can both be objectively right.
Whether someone is disgusted upon percieving y is an objective matter, of course, since either it produces the neurological reaction of disgust in the mind or it doesn't.

Nick Davies wrote in his recent book Flat Earth News that it is becoming increasingly standard journalistic practice to conduct one’s research from a desk – he found that in only 12% of the news articles he sampled was there evidence of ‘primary’ or on-the-ground sourcing.
Davies argues that by relying on existing media stories and hearsay for generating and developing stories journalists are increasingly engaging in groupthink, which is demonstrably problematic in terms of accountability, transparency and agency. It could also be said that the new technologies available to journalists – more precisely, technologies with which journalists are expected to be proficient – are related to changing professional structures: the growing prevalence of freelance contracts, the expectation that journalists will perform supplementary tasks such as layout, photography and editing, and the ‘rationalisation’ of journalistic output, in which a single item is packaged in a variety of formats. (Bob Franklin has also observed that new communication technologies are one of the factors behind the increasing tendency for journalists to perform single tasks across a group of regional newspapers).

It is a branch of Philosophy that deals with subjective experience.

Phenomenology is your own persona reacting to something.

The origins: Kant theory of reason -All objects have a duel nature, nominal nature (the thing unperceived). 

Technical philosophy -Quantum Physics, modern experience science.

Active side of the mind summons phenomenal objects -the mind builds a picture.
Generates phenomenal things based on their nominal possibilities.

Intention: If you want to see a tree, you will see a tree -even up to self perception.
'you will the world into existence through intention of structure, intentions and decisions.

Phenomenology-existentiualism. A moral code which deals with Phenomenology,

Existentialist dilema
The future is unwritten, the past is out of you control.


Journalist, truth: If truth can only be objective.....
Objective truth: opinion.      Subjective truth.

3) Describe in broad term JM Keynes ideas on Monetary policy, which an indication of how much Keynesian 'revolution' came about. Does Keynesianism inevitably lead to social regression, moral failure and seldom as Hayek asserts? 

Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country controls the supply of money, often targeting a rate of interest for the purpose of promoting economic growth and stability.The official goals usually include relatively stable prices and low unemployment. Monetary theory provides insight into how to craft optimal monetary policy.
Monetary policy is referred to as either being expansionary or contractionary, where an expansionary policy increases the total supply of money in the economy more rapidly than usual, and contractionary policy expands the money supply more slowly than usual or even shrinks it. Expansionary policy is traditionally used to try to combat unemployment in a recession by lowering interest rates in the hope that easy credit will entice businesses into expanding. Contractionary policy is intended to slow inflation in hopes of avoiding the resulting distortions and deterioration of asset values.
Monetary policy differs from fiscal policy, which refers to taxation, government spending, and associated borrowing.
The Keynesian Revolution was a fundamental reworking of economic theory concerning the factors determining employment levels in the overall economy. The revolution was set against the then orthodox economic framework: neoclassical economics.
The early stage of the Keynesian Revolution took place in the years following the publication of Keynes's General Theory in 1936. It saw the neoclassical understanding of employment replaced with Keynes's view that demand, and not supply, is the driving factor determining levels of employment. This provided Keynes and his supporters with a theoretical basis to argue that governments should intervene to alleviate severe unemployment. With Keynes unable to take much part in theoretical debate after 1937, a process swiftly got under way to reconcile his work with the old system to form Neo-Keynesian economics, a mixture of neoclassical economics and Keynesian economics. The process of mixing these schools is referred to as the neoclassical synthesis, and Neo-Keynesian economics can be summarized as "Keynesian in macroeconomics, neoclassical in microeconomics".

There are objects.
Adam Smith: Nieve materialist.

How it came about: Due to the great depression of the 30's -the great society (50's) 'you've never had it so good'.

The Keynesian revolution the government printing unlimited amounts of money (started during the war to fund production).

One problem, inflation.

Accept inflation and lower the value of money in the need of nation employment -knock on effect is that everyone has jobs.

Money used to have to be based on gold supplies.

'the general theory of employment'.

'It's better to have people digging holes and filling them up again that to be unemployed'.

keynes- not enough gold, unemployment

critic JK Calibrate, new industrial state. The left.
It needs massive involution from the state. -It has to regulate wages (not a free markets) needs huge amounts of data (quantitate, imperial).

Pre capitalist world.

Going back to before the enlightenment.

loss of freedom -hannah aren't- need of data.

Critic- inflation
Hayek a classical economist. Supply and demand set prices, not reliable on the amount of money the economy is making.

Keynes, state set the cheese price. Dependable o the amount of money in the economy.

4) 'Facts in logical space are the world' -Wittgenstein, tractatus. Do you agree? 

he is not denying that there are things, in addition to facts. Rather, he’s saying that the totality of facts is something over and above the collection of things; even if we are given the totality of things, this does not yet determine the totality of facts.
Why would one think this? Here one plausible thought is that Wittgenstein had in mind something similar to Russell, who held similar views about facts and things. Russell said:
“I want you to realize that when I speak of a fact I do not mean a particular existing thing, such as Socrates or the rain or the sun. Socrates himself does not render any statement true or false. What I call a fact is the sort of thing that is expressed by a whole sentence, not by a single name like ‘Socrates.’ . . . We express a fact, for example, when we say that a certain thing has a certain property, or that it has a certain relation to another thing; but the thing which has the property or the relation is not what I call a ‘fact.”’ (‘Logical atomism’, 41, my emphasis)
1.13 The facts in logical space are the world.
The world, on this view, consists of facts — and consists of nothing but facts. He also adds a claim about the independence of facts from each other:
1.21 Each item can be the case or not the case while everything else remains the same.
We’ll understand the reason for this later. As with much in the Tractatus, it is initially hard to see the motivations behind these cryptic remarks. Often (though not always) later places in the text will make clearer why Wittgenstein says what he does. For now, we’ll continue to lay out his system.
2 What is the case — a fact — is the existence of states of affairs.
But this does not yet say much about what these states of affairs, or atomic facts, are. Wittgenstein then tells us

Chapter 1. -The world consists of facts not objects.

A rejection if meta physics. Plato, idealism, forms.

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:
  1. "What is there?"
  2. "What is it like?"
A person who studies metaphysics would be called either a metaphysicist or a metaphysician The metaphysician attempts to clarify the fundamental notions by which people understand the world, including existence, the definition of object, property, space, time, causality, and possibility.
A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the basic categories of being and how they relate to each other.
Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of metaphysics known as natural philosophy. The term science itself meant "knowledge" of, originating from epistemology. Thescientific method, however, transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment unlike the rest of philosophy. By the end of the 18th century, it had begun to be called "science" to distinguish it from philosophy. Thereafter, metaphysics denoted philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence.

The world is facts in our minds (independently verified)

facts- patterns of relationships.

Logic- precisely describing the relationship between on or the other.

5) Looking back at the whole course choose one thinker or movement that you believe to be particularly significant in terms of Journalism practise. Explain why.