Posted: May 2nd, 2015



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Debate: Epistemology

Question: Is objectivity the best way to know the truth about (material/physical) reality?

Positions FOR Objectivity:
Science (Rationalism + Empiricism + Skepticism)
Historical materialism / Ideology Critique

Positions AGAINST Objectivity:
Existential Perspectivism (Subjectivity)
Phenomenology (Inter-Subjectivity)

Write a one page essay in which you argue FOR or AGAINST the claim that objectivity is the best way to know the truth about reality.

? Select one position for objectivity and one position against objectivity for this debate, e.g. Science vs. Perspectivism.
? State your thesis clearly, for example, “I argue objectivity, not subjectivity, is the best way to know the truth about reality.
? Briefly define “objectivity” and the oppositional position you select.
? Develop only one example to illustrate & argue for your position. State the example in the form of a truth claim, e.g. “It is true that humans are causing climate change.”
? Compare and contrast the two ways of getting at the truth about your example.
? Make an argument for your position based on the same example.
? Consider and refute your opposition’s best reply to your argument based on the same example.
? Make use of the arguments in the assigned texts.

Advice on selecting an example: Select an example from a field/discipline about which you already know something. For example: If you are studying to become a teacher, the reality which you want to know the truth about is your students’ performance on assignments.

Other Examples: Claims of truth concerning…
? Climate change, poverty, or other events/situations
? Medical or psychological diagnosis
? Use of drugs, alcohol or pharmaceuticals
? Frogs, or other animals
? A verdict, e.g. O.J. is innocent
? An artistic/literary masterpiece, e.g. Mona Lisa or Moby Dick
? Student success
? Best sports team
? “True Love”
? Or, be original… and come up with your own

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