Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Paper

Keywords

objectivity, emotion, pragma-dialectics, emotion in argument, feminist argumentation, baseball rationality, baseball

Start Date

18-5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

21-5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

“Objective” is a term that has a long and sometimes tumultuous history and a wide range of meanings. The sense in which I am interested here is the one that refers to ways of thinking, and especially the explicit criticism of an argument or judgment as not being “objective,” as exemplified in the following.

  • You’re not being objective.
  • You have to look at it objectively.
  • Objectively, the best choice is…
  • Being objective, I’d have to say…

Implicit in these statements is an ideology that denigrates emotion and other communicative aspects in favour of an idealized sense of fact, data and truth. The underlying idea holds there is a way of thinking, deciding, arguing that is at best impervious and at least resistant to personal beliefs, attitudes and perspectives. However, there have been suggestions that such a view of the world is not tenable. Different perspectives including feminist, rhetorical, and pragma-dialectical, question the popular ideology and suggest that the kind of objectivity does not really exist. I will rely on Bem, Lakoff, Gilbert among others. I will conclude that the examples are not without meaning and the term can, when properly understood, be useful. An example using an editorial from the Toronto Globe & Mail regarding baseball will illustrate the point of the essay.

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 21st, 5:00 PM

On Being Objective: Hard data, soft data and baseball.

University of Windsor

“Objective” is a term that has a long and sometimes tumultuous history and a wide range of meanings. The sense in which I am interested here is the one that refers to ways of thinking, and especially the explicit criticism of an argument or judgment as not being “objective,” as exemplified in the following.

  • You’re not being objective.
  • You have to look at it objectively.
  • Objectively, the best choice is…
  • Being objective, I’d have to say…

Implicit in these statements is an ideology that denigrates emotion and other communicative aspects in favour of an idealized sense of fact, data and truth. The underlying idea holds there is a way of thinking, deciding, arguing that is at best impervious and at least resistant to personal beliefs, attitudes and perspectives. However, there have been suggestions that such a view of the world is not tenable. Different perspectives including feminist, rhetorical, and pragma-dialectical, question the popular ideology and suggest that the kind of objectivity does not really exist. I will rely on Bem, Lakoff, Gilbert among others. I will conclude that the examples are not without meaning and the term can, when properly understood, be useful. An example using an editorial from the Toronto Globe & Mail regarding baseball will illustrate the point of the essay.