T Nation

Are our Observations Theory Laden?

According to Hanson. Are there any philosophy experts here who care to expound upon this topic.

I am supposed to write 5 pages on this question.

All I have is seeing/observing requires the use of your mental faculties and utilizing your mental faculties demands you draw upon the theories you have of the universe and therefore your observations are implicitly biased. The end. How the hell could someone write five pages about that. I managed to spread that out into a page and half but I am at a loss for what else to include.

I am curious are there any who disagree with Hanson’s claim? I would love to hear from you.

While I’m actually somewhat curious, this is all I could think of as soon as you mentioned Hanson

Hahahaha. Thanks for that throwback. I had all but just forgotten about that song until now so thanks!

[quote]LoRez wrote:
While I’m actually somewhat curious, this is all I could think of as soon as you mentioned Hanson

http.youtube.com/watch?v=NHozn0YXAeE[/quote]

In my observation, any philosophy prof that won’t take 5 pages of “Mmmmbop” lyrics as a post modern deconstruction of the American dream can go fuck themselves with a two by four.

[quote]A-rod wrote:
According to Hanson. Are there any philosophy experts here who care to expound upon this topic.

I am supposed to write 5 pages on this question.

All I have is seeing/observing requires the use of your mental faculties and utilizing your mental faculties demands you draw upon the theories you have of the universe and therefore your observations are implicitly biased. The end. How the hell could someone write five pages about that. I managed to spread that out into a page and half but I am at a loss for what else to include.

I am curious are there any who disagree with Hanson’s claim? I would love to hear from you.[/quote]

Find Source material that agrees and disagrees With Hanson’s claim. Its sound similar to Gadamer and Hayden White. Perhaps they can be used as support for Hanson’s claim and perhaps some positivist’s could be used as an argumentation against his position. Perhaps that will help you fill 5 pages.

Links:

Hope that helps. + remember that quotes can be used to fill up pages.

Also, you can use examples of historical type decisions that were made with bias based on the individual’s world views that turned out to be wrong based on incorrect said world views.

Communism and Karl Marx comes to mind.

I’m graduating in less than a month with an BA in philosophy. Not the best philosopher per se but I’m pretty good at writing philosophy papers. Aced my exams and papers in the philosophy of science to.

What’s the prompt exactly?

Is your question whether or not Hanson thinks our observations are theory laden? I can’t answer that for you (since I’ve never read hanson but a quick google search says that he’s one of the strongest supporters of it in the 50s and 60s.

Here’s a general outline for writing a 5pg philosophy paper: 1/2pg intro and 1/2pg conclusion. 3pg of explaining the position you are analyzing, and 1pg offering an objection, or an objection and subsequent counter objection.

Here’s what I would do. Take that explanation you gave and explain it. Take each part of it and argue for it.

To start here’s a syllogism that you’ve kind of laid out:

  1. Our observations require the use of our mental faculties.
  2. In order to use our mental faculties we must draw from theories and knowledge that we have
    C) Thus our observations are theory laden.

Now, explain the premises thoroughly. Enough so that you feel like you’re over-explaining them.

Here’s an objection you might raise: the argument is circular. It states that we must understand things in order to use our mental faculties when in fact understanding is a mental faculty. In fact, the popular opinion is the opposite, that perception (observation) is the most basic of our mental functions and without perception there can be no understanding, no theories. This should be easy for you to argue for and you should be able to easily fill up at least 1 page on it.