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AP Language and Composition Introduction
Transcript of AP Language and Composition Introduction
limit its perception? Questions about the nature of Perception If humans are sensitive only to certain ranges of stimuli, what
consequences, including limitations, might this have for the acquisition of knowledge • What are the implications of the following claim?
‘By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy
in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies – all these are private
and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable.’
(Aldous Huxley) Limitations of Perception
• What is the role of culture and language in the perceptual process? Given the partially
subjective nature of perception, how can different knowers ever agree on what is
perceived? Do people with different cultural or linguistic backgrounds live, in some
sense, in different worlds? • How, and to what extent, might expectations, assumptions and beliefs affect perceptions?
How, if at all, can factors which bias views of the world be recognized? Is all perception
necessarily theory-laden? Do knowers have a moral duty to examine their own perceptual
• It is often claimed that information and communication technologies are blurring the
traditional distinctions between simulation and reality. If this is so, what might be the
consequences? What can be meant by ‘In the dream of the man who was dreaming, the dreamt man
awoke’? (Jorge Luis Borges) Words are more powerful and treacherous than we think. (J-P Sartre) • How have spoken sounds acquired meaning? What is the nature of the connection
between the sounds and what they are taken to represent?
• Is it possible to think without language? How does language extend, direct, or even limit
• To what extent does language generalize individual experience, classifying it within the
experience of the group? To what extent does a personal experience elude expression in
language? • How does the capacity to communicate personal experiences and thoughts through
language affect knowledge? To what extent does knowledge actually depend on
language: on the transmission of concepts from one person or generation to another, and
on exposure of concepts or claims to public scrutiny?
• How does language come to be known? Is the capacity to acquire language innate?
• If knowledge is based on an internal representation Language and Culture
• If people speak more than one language, is what they know different in each language?
Does each language provide a different framework for reality?
• How is the meaning of what is said affected by silences and omissions, pace, tone of
voice and bodily movement? How might these factors be influenced in turn by the social
or cultural context?
• What is lost in translation from one language to another? Why?
• To what degree might different languages shape in their speakers different concepts of
themselves and the world? What are the implications of such differences for knowledge A chain of reasoning is no stronger than its weakest link. (Anon) Nature of Reason
• What constitutes ‘good reason’ and ‘good arguments’? What is the value of learning to
distinguish between valid and invalid arguments?
• What constitutes a ‘good reason’ for belief? Is a persuasive reason necessarily grounded
• How accurate is the definition of logic as the study of form in argument, irrespective of
the subject matter. Is this form/content distinction found in other Ways of Knowing or
Areas of Knowledge?
• Does the nature of reason vary across cultures? Strengths and Weaknesses of Reason
• Why are informal fallacies often plausible and convincing? When, where, and how can
they be formulated?
• How do beliefs affect the capacity to reason logically and the capacity to recognize valid
arguments? How do they affect the capacity to recognize fallacies and rationalization? CORRESPONDENCE THEORY Bertrand Russell
The correspondence theory of truth corresponds to objective reality. A claim is made about the universe.
We check out the claim with observations and physical measuring devices.
While this theory properly emphasizes the notion that propositions are true when they correspond to
reality, its proponents often have difficulty explaining what facts are and how propositions are related to
• Verification involves subjective experiences as to both observations and requires interpretations.
• Claims are made about things that are very large such as galaxies and the entire universe, as to
its shape and size and duration that are beyond the ability of any human to have a direct
experience of it.
• Claims are made about things that are very small such as sub-atomic particle and small quanta of
energy, bosons, gluons, neutrinos, charm particles and the like of which no human can have a
direct experience. COHERENCE THEORY Bland Blanshard
This explains how scientists can make claims about the very large and small objects using a
system of claims already accepted to be true.
The theory is the belief that a proposition is true to the extent that it agrees with other
true propositions. In contrast with the correspondence theory's emphasis on an independent
reality, this view supposes that reliable beliefs constitute an inter-related system, each element of
which entails every other.
Truth is a property of a related group of consistent statements e.g., Mathematics, Science
Truth is a systemic coherence of propositions interconnectedness of beliefs
1.what if other judgments (statements) are false? Consistent error is possible.
2.coherence theory in the last analysis seems to involve a correspondence since the first
judgments must be verified directly. PRAGMATIC THEORY C.S. Peirce, William James, James Dewey
The theory is the belief that a proposition is true when acting upon it yields satisfactory
practical results. As formulated by William James, the pragmatic theory promises (in the long
term) a convergence of human opinions upon a stable body of scientific propositions that have
been shown in experience to be successful principles for human action.
Examines how beliefs work in practice, the practical difference.
This makes TRUTH something that is PSYCHOLOGICAL.
TRUTH is whatever has met a society's criteria for justification.
1. What is justified for one community to believe may not be true.
2. How to explain errors? Falsehoods?
3. It makes truth RELATIVE. NO ABSOLUTE TRUTH. NO OBJECTIVE TRUTH.
MANY TRUTHS AT ONCE.
There is a difference between truth and justified belief which pragmatism overlooks.
Truth = what an ideal community would believe in the long run of time REVIEW
Correspondence: Check it out using observation and physical measurements.
Coherence: Does it fit in with other accepted beliefs?
Pragmatic: Does it work? Three Theories of Truth Opinions that you have Opinions that
others have Causes for... People like me think this way! But people like you think this way! How do we know what is true and what is not? Is truth objective and unchanging? Or is there no such thing as truth? Only one thing is certain, that we must.... Summarize the Colonel's, Jack Nicholson's, argument about his actions in the military? Is he making any assumptions about the world? http://www.courses.vcu.edu/ENG200-lad/dillard.htm Copy and Paste the url from below and read the essay
titled Living Like Weasels by Annie Dillard Reflection Assignment:
In this essay, Dillard recounts an encounter she had with a wild weasel, the first she had ever seen. From this experience, she gleans some important lessons about how we live. Before reading “Living Like Weasels,” try to remember if you have ever encountered a wild animal. Write a half a page reflecting on when you encountered a wild animal or if you have not, what you think you would do if you did.
Focus on Themes:
½ a page response for each question
1. Does Dillard’s essay teach us anything about weasels? What might we gain from learning about weasels?
2. When Dillard describes Hollins pond, she is careful to point out that this small natural setting is situated right in the middle of suburbia. Think about how the setting of this pond might affect Dillard’s thinking about the weasel. Are there patches of “nature” in the areas where you live? If you visit these places, does their proximity to cities or suburbs affect how you think about them? In what ways?
3. How do we “live like weasels”? Does the idea appeal to you? Why or why not?
Focus on Writing:
½ a page response for each question
1. What effect does Dillard gain with her opening two paragraphs? As a reader, how do you react to such a strategy? Consider, too, how you might incorporate a similar strategy in your own writing.
2. Consider the ways that Dillard uses description in this essay. What does she describe? What language does she use to make such descriptions?
3. In many instances through this essay, Dillard relies on short, carefully written sentences. What effect do these short, clear sentences have on the essay?