Phase One

Week One:

Hi, everyone. My name is Sidney, and I am a first year English and Professional Writing student. I am from Thunder Bay, ON and hope to move to Toronto permanently in the next couple of years. I have loved reading and writing from a very young age — before I went to bed, I would always insist on reading the storybooks myself even though I could hardly read any of the words yet. Other than that, I like to paint and draw in my spare time. Unfortunately, I have had little time to do that between school and work. Like many people, I love to travel; in the last three years I have gone to Toronto and Montreal for the first time and travelled Spain starting in Barcelona and continuing along the coast into Madrid. After graduation, I would like to find a career that allows me to travel more.

Coming into the semester, I expected the material and assignments to be dry in a research course. Fortunately, I assumed wrong as I am really looking forward to working on the course project. I have just recently started listening to podcasts and like the idea of creating my own but am overwhelmed with where to begin. This course is allowing me experience in something I may have otherwise never tried on my own. I also appreciate that we are working in a medium and learning a skill that feels relevant in our digital culture.

When it comes to research, I am guilty of just googling my topic and hoping to find websites that end in “.org” or “.edu.” While I do find relevant and reputable information from these websites, it is admittedly a lazy way to do research. Throughout this semester, I hope to become more familiar with how to search databases and ultimately form better research habits.

Week Two:

Upon reflecting on whether or not all knowledge is simply “a matter of opinion,” I was quick to think no. If all knowledge is simply “a matter of opinion,” that leaves me with a very uncomfortable possibility that there are no universal truths. I desperately wanted to cling onto the idea that the things I know are objectively true, but I have concluded that the answer to this question is, in fact, a matter of opinion — you could argue either way.

On the one hand, I agree with LaBossiere in his blog post Is philosophy just a matter of opinion? when he says, “an opinion can become a fact - a belief that is adequately backed up by evidence or reasons.” I think that in many instances we are told that our reasoning is “just our opinion” as a way to try and delegitimize our claims. However, this ignores that we can develop well-informed opinions based on facts. If one has formed a view or judgement based on something irrefutable, then they must have arrived at some sort of knowledge or truth.

This line of reasoning is then complicated because, as discussed in lecture, “our access to reality is strained, and that reality itself is socially constructed . . . and changeable.” In the TED talk we watched in lecture, I was sure that the orange circles were the same shade, while the person sitting next to me asserted that the grey circles were the same. What was true to me was not true to someone else, and even more unsettling was that what was true to me was not the truth at all but only my perception of reality. If knowledge is subject to our perception of reality based on our senses, culture, lived experience, etc., then our knowledge is simply a matter of opinion.