Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Responses (Nov 2012) — Summary

The list of topics for November 2012 (with some of my responses) is summarised in this post.
  1. Can we have beliefs or knowledge which are independent of our culture?
  2. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. — Arthur Conan Doyle. Consider the extent to which this statement may be true in two or more areas of knowledge.
  3. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand. — Albert Einstein. Do you agree?
  4. What counts as knowledge in the arts? Discuss by comparing to one other area of knowledge.
  5. Habit is stronger than reason. To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?
  6. The ultimate protection against research error and bias is supposed to come from the way scientists constantly re-test each other’s results. To what extent would you agree with this claim in the natural sciences and the human sciences?
For #1, I would attempt to define culture first, and then get ready for a philosophical argument.

For #2, I would consider the extent to which facts precede theories in different disciplines — and whether facts are required at all in the first place.

For #3, I would think about the concept of 'importance', and after working that out, consider the concepts of 'imagination' and 'knowledge' and what they imply.

For #4 and #5, I'd just look at some of my previous posts and work my dogged way through the obvious arguments.

For #6, I'd get a large sheet of paper ready and start to draw a large map of human knowledge...

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