What Critical Realism says about Facts

From an interview with Roy Bhaskar:

I argued against the stark polarity and contrast between facts and values. There is a dialectical interrelation between facts and values, in which we are never situated in a value free context. Values always impregnate and imbue our social praxis and our factual discourse, but at the same time, facts themselves do generate evaluative conclusions. This paved the way for the refutation of Hume’s law. * Truth and factuality are themselves norms, but that is a presupposition of all factual discourse, and on the basis of that value we can generate other evaluative conclusions.

Hume’s law separates the factual from the normative and argues that normative statements follow on from factual ones.

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Another Head Start for the Privileged

The capacity for using language articulately is, according to a study by Hart and Risley (2003), strongly influenced by sufficient conversational immersion  during the first three years of life. After that period it appears to be more difficult to develop that fluency if the conversational groundwork has not been laid out in the preceding years. With humans being inherently dispositional, and coupled with the fact that children absorb so much at that period of their lives, there would seem to be some truth to this.* What interested me the most in the Irish Times article (click link above) was the reference to the following finding:

US researchers have estimated that, by the age of three, children in disadvantaged families may have heard up to 30 million fewer words than their more privileged counterparts.

The US researchers referred to are Continue reading

A Note on Essay Writing Dispositions and Some Links to Writing Tips

Here are some links to essential tips for piecing together an essay. Some years back I tutored undergraduates in political ecology. I was blown away by the structuring of many of the assignments that I corrected. The standard was truly shocking and from conversations with my colleagues I learned that this was not limited to my tutorials. They too had some horror stories to relate. The worst has to be the use of an url address as a citation in mid paragraph. Scarier still, the address was for search results from ask.com. I get the strong impression that students were not taking the assignments seriously due to the small  proportion allotted them from the overall course results. Still the assignments surely reflect some of the bad writing habits of the students.

However, I don’t recall receiving much guidance on essay writing in my primary and post-primary years. On approaching the final post-primary exam I Continue reading