Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Making judgments: practical exercises

This morning I gave a test to my Second Year BPh class on 'reflective understanding.' We were trying later to clarify how it is that we make a judgment, and I said: judging, in very simple terms, is checking whether experiencing and understanding have been done properly. 'Experiencing properly' is a question of experiential objectivity: have I been attentive? Are the 'conditions' fulfilled in the data? 'Understanding correctly' is arriving at an invulnerable insight, making sure that the 'link between conditions and conditioned' is correct.

I forget exactly how, but we got on next to the difference between playing football well, and being able to coach; it is, I said, the difference between apprehensive abstraction and formative abstraction. It is freedom from the book. It is a question of understanding so well that I am able to 'say it in my own words', to change the examples.

That got us on to finding new examples of judgments. Someone suggested the prospective judgment, "Thomas is selfish." This then is the 'conditioned.' What might be the link between conditions and conditioned? In other words, what kind of If-then premise do I usually employ? We became aware that all of us employ such premises (though without formulating them), and, further, that each of us have different premises - depending on our personal histories. We also became aware that we were not all willing to share these premises: so generalized empirical method is a 'revealing' thing - a constant interaction between subject and object. But some did share: "If X usually takes three helpings of anything, then X is selfish." "If Y does not help me, then Y is selfish."

The next question: are these 'links' sound? Are they correct? Take the second example: is that correct? No, someone said, because it might be that Y does not have the time to help me just then. So there are questions arising here, and relevant ones; the insight is not invulnerable.

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