Friday, May 11, 2018

astute reasoning and “fake news”



“Astute reasoning” is my preferred rubric for what’s normally called “critical thinking” in education. Monday, May 7, I decided to do a commentary on Stanley Fish’s NYTimes article “‘Transparency’ Is the Mother of Fake News.” But doing that became more elaborate than I anticipated, now being the development a project with several sections. Discussing that article is no longer my aim; rather, just a later section. So, parts of this little project have been made separate postings (listed below), as the project continues. I expect to finish by Wednesday, May 23.

At the Times article, I indicated in a “comment” the importance of Habermas, and the comment linked to this posting’s first version, in terms of a short description of Habermas’s career and relevant sense of communicative rationality. That couple of paragraphs is now at the bottom of this posting, Section 5.



• Section 1: expecting genuineness and discerning fakery

• Section 2: astute reasoning

• Section 3: Fake views exploit the appeal of valid drama. This is developing to have seven sections (i.e., subsections of this larger-scale project).

• Section 4: Stanley Fish’s “...Mother...” article as discursive fakery. Lastly, I want to discuss Fish’s article in detail. His article provides a good opportunity to experiment with putting to good use an opinion article for philosophical interest in furthering reasonability in education and cultural life (though his article happens to confuse issues which can be examined more fruitfully; and fails to show appreciation of readily-available research—mere Googling “fake news” would have done it!).

• Section 5: temporary gloss on Habermas, from Monday
Since the 1960s, Jürgen Habermas has made lasting contributions to political philosophy, philosophy of language, social theory, moral theory, philosophy of law, and other areas. He discursively finds reason for democratic humanity in the nature of our communicative life, but he greatly exemplifies his own interdisciplinary view of philosophy.

Interactions between individuals are implicitly socialized by shared background and overtly coordinated through speech necessarily implying commitment to truthfulness and appropriateness. If there’s really reason to formally claim that something is valid (systematically true or appropriate or genuine), then everyone concerned would, in principle, come to accept that claim, given procedurally ideal opportunity (e.g., time and competence all around)—which implies interest in enabling capability and opportunity for understanding.

Ideally, every participant sincerely desires to understand (also desiring to make oneself understood); no one is prevented from satisfactory participation (while everyone participates as best they can), and (most ideally) everyone reasons competently and appropriately, such that a plan, value, etc. prevails for activity only due to its real validity appreciated by all involved. So, particular plans, values, assertions, etc. that deserve action-orienting prevalence necessarily imply justifiability (given enabled capability and opportunity for understanding by all those questioning a matter), due immanently to internal relations of linguistic components (intentionality, performance, and propositional content) to kinds of justification (though the pragmatics of justification may require extended learning processes).