Wednesday, 17 November 2010

HCJ - Semester One - Lecture Four


An enquiry concerning human understanding.

In lecture four of our HCJ module we were lectured on David Hume, and were asked to read 'An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding' for the seminar that followed. In the first part of this post I will discuss my ideas and thoughts on the reading set, giving some direct quotes from it and making my own judgements.

Firstly the book begins to describe the term 'moral philosophy' and the ways in which different people treat it and how it can be perceived. Firstly it discusses moral philosophy in the terms of mankind in that the man is first and foremost 'born for action' and I think that it is trying to say that men are the most important beings, it believes that they are perfect and not to be discussed or questioned. On the other hand moral philosophy can be treated as a reasonable being, meaning that human nature can be speculated or questioned. It perhaps even asks us to study what makes mankind 'tick' - what makes us feel happiness, sorrow and excitement? This can be linked to the way in which some philosophers we have discussed believed in that they saw the human being as a 'ticking' object which was run like a mechanism, or a clock (such that can be seen on the cover of Russell's 'History of Western Philosophy' book).

The next part of the reading that stood out to me was the description it gave of a philosopher: 'a philosopher...little acceptable in the world...lives remote from communication with mankind, and wrapped up in principles and notions equally remote from their comprehension.' This is intriguing, as it seemed to describe the philosopher as someone who has no contact with the 'outside world', or anyone outside the four walls he sees everyday. His ideas also never leave the four walls as they are completely rejected by anyone that they are met by. I think this is a contradiction of what we have already studied so far this year, as it is clear that philosophers like Descartes, Newton and More all wanted their notions heard and had them published in some cases, and although they were stil rejected in some regions, they must be important ideas else we would not be studying them, up until the present day.

David Hume

Causation is the production of an effect by a cause, or something 'causing' something else. This was one of Hume's biggest ideas, in that he totally rejected it. Hume believed that nothing in the world caused anything else to happen, and that anything that seemed to be a cause is in fact 'all in our head' so to speak. I find this completely barbaric that Hume rejects causation and he thinks that it is just a coincidence that the red billiard ball with move upon the white billiard ball touching it. He says that there is not enough evidence for it to be true, to me the evidence is right there, clear as day, and I think science proves that. The force that the billiard que hits the whit ball with is passed on to the white ball, which then hits the red ball with a decreasing force, which then causes the red ball to move. I can see where he is coming from, but I think it is completely far-fetched to believe that somewhere in the world there is a sort of magnet that is causing the red ball to move at precisely the same time the white ball comes into contact with it. On the other hand, I do believe that Hume is correct in saying that just because I am hear typing this blog right now, does not mean I will be in 5 second. Well firstly I could punch in a 'secret code' into my laptop that results in all of my life's work being completed, but in fact that has not happend, but something more likely is that the world could be hit by an asteroid or one of the huge nuclear weapons on the planet could be set off.

Another aspect of David Hume that interested me somewhat was 'The Verification Principle' - so unless something can be verified or falsified it was 'un-important'. This again in my opinion is slightly barbaric, but it is his own opinion and not something he is stating as fact. In Hume's opinion God is not real as he could not be proven and therefore even discussing him was totally pointless (hence Hume being an extreme atheist). So because God can not be verified he is not real, therefore not important. On the other hand saying that a glass will break when thrown on the floor is important as it can be verified, or proven. Even though Hume has these ideas I personally feel he contradicts his atheism slightly in saying that God is not real because he can not be proven, but in the same breath it can't not be proven, so therefore can not be 'falsified', therefore there is no evidence to say that God is in fact a myth.

So that was my brief notes on Lecture/Seminar four. A bit of a tricky subject for me it has to be said, but I think my head is some of the way around it!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Haye Vs Harrison!

The eagerly anticipated boxing match between the World Champion, David Haye, and the one time Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison took place last night. What was supposed to be the fight of the year turned out to be quite a disappointment, with the first two rounds providing little, if any action, and the third seeing Haye defeat Harrison by 'technical knock-out' (TKO) after a series of heavy blows. Even though it was a great victory for Haye, I am sure that some controversy will come out of the post-fight interview.

Being a bit of a gambler myself I was shocked to hear that David Haye claimed that he 'knew' he would KO Harrison in the third round and bragged that he had piled on the money in the expectation that he would do this. He also said that his friends and family had put a lot of money on Haye finishing Harrison in the third.

I don't exactly know the ins and outs of match fixing and fraudulent gambling, but I am pretty sure that something isn't right there. Boxers notoriously brag about their capabilities and expectations so it could well be a case of 'I told you so', when in fact it was just a coincidence. This will probably be brushed under the carpet and forgotten about, but to me this was more controversial and shocking than the fight itself!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Peter Cole's view on newspapers

Cole discusses two mid-market papers: The Daily Express and the Daily Mail. From what I understand a mid-market paper is not too much of a serious paper (broadsheet) nor is it a red-top (tabloid) but it is in-between the two. Cole mentions a few statistics of which I will not go into detail, but it is important I think that we recognise the Express sells less than a quarter of what it did in 1955 than what it does today. Cole explains that the Express seems to like its controversy and conspiracy stories, for instance he talks about it's obsession with Princess Diana, and Madeleine McCan. It seems to find advancements and 'new evidence' all the time where as none of the other papers do. The Daily Mail is the other mid-market newspaper, and it's stories are evidence for this. A lot of it's stories are aimed negatively towards the welfare state and criticise it for draining tax payers money, the tax payers being the main bulk of it's readers. They often do free giveaways such as CD's and DVD's and are almost always directed at a family audience.

Tabloid newspapers are often called 'red-tops' , because they always have a red top. They are associated with the working class, and The Sun, is Britain's number one selling newspaper. They re famous for their quick read stories and they offer a lot in the form of crime, sex, sport and stars. The main target audience is that of C2DE and a more younger audience, with red-tops dominating under 35 year old readers. On the other hand, we have broadsheet newspapers which are seen as the complete opposite to the tabloids. They used to be printed on large paper, but other than The Telegraph, they have all averted to the smaller easier to manage, smaller papers. They have a lot more text and reading in them, as oppose to the red-tops. This is because the readers of the broadsheets are generally more educated and more affluent. They are often doctors, teachers or lawyers who do not have a lot of time to watch television so they get their information maybe on the train on the way to work in the morning, or on the way home. Broadsheets, like the mid-markets do adopt the scheme of giveaways, consisting of CD's, DVD's and posters. The majority of the broadsheets appeal to an older audience, however papers such as the Guardian have introduced the G2 which attracts a younger demographic.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

WINOL - 3/11/2010

A brief overview of my opinions an criticisms of this weeks WINOL bulletin.

Overall I thought this week's bulletin was done to a very high standard, with the first presenter Jake, doing his part to an exceptional standard, he seemed vert confident and did not stutter at all, similarly all the reporters seemed to be the same.

The first criticism that I have is minor, but I thought it may have been better to pick a quieter road at the end of the second report on prisoners being able to vote. It seemed that the reporter was being drowned out at times, but nothing too major.

The story about parking I thought was very good overall, and I thought that the interviews and the shots away at the car parking signs and parked cars really hit home with the issues that we are having, the one thing I would say is that Chiz could have sounded a bit more enthusiastic, sorry mate haha!

During the sports, Mikey Smith impressed with his reporting as did Will and Karen, personally I could not fund anything to fault them on.

Obviously when the second presenter came on she had a slight stutter at the start and seemed a little bit nervous, but slowly seemed to get more confident. The only other issue I had was when the camera angles seemed to confuse her, or maybe they were shooting from the wrong camera.

Overall, a good bulletin, but a few things that need ironing out. It does seem like they are getting better week by week!

HCJ - Semester One - Lecture Three

These are my notes from the reading from lecture three.

Joseph Addison - The Spectator No. 476

Addison discusses method in speech and writing throughout this piece. He firstly discusses the difference in writings: firstly writings that have regularity and method are set out to stick to a certain topic, and perhaps follow certain guidelines, therefore not straying off topic creating a clearer understanding. On the other hand, he describes the second form of writings as 'essays'. Maybe these pieces run on too long and have not set guidelines, and the meaning off these writings are often lost.

Addison points out that the writings of more methodical kind can be seen in works from Tully and Aristotle, whereas the more essay forms are found in Seneca and Montaigne.

What I also got from Addison was that people who question, or want an answer are men of great learning and genius. So what I think he was trying to say here was that people who wrote in methodical ways are not. If I am right in thinking this then he somewhat contradicts himself by saying that such work can be seen from the likes of Aristotle, someone who was clearly a man of genius.

Method writing gives an advantage to the reader and to the writer in that its is not complicate and it is easier to understand. A quote to support this from the reading was 'his thoughts are at the same time more intelligible, and better discover their drift and meaning, when they are placed in their proper lights, and follow one another in a regular series, than when they are thrown together without order and connection'.

Addison also discusses how thoughts and conversations are used in the same way. He argues that many people who have arguments or disputes do not talk in methodical terms as they steer away from the original subject quickly.

Addison gives Tom Puzzle as the prime example of the 'immethodical' man - I think what he is trying to say is that his opinions are not clear enough to make us believe in them, but they certainly plant a seed of doubt in our minds. Maybe his writings get too confusing for the reader to fully comprehend.

The Royal Exchange:

The writer of The Royal Exchange to me was discussing his love and admiration for the way that the whole world comes together to form one. It explains how we get one part of our clothing from one part of the world and another part of our clothing from another. It also discusses how we could not live without trade from around the world, and that fruits from one part of the world compliments food that we are eating from another part.