(originally posted here on 13 Oct 2005)
In a comment, Julie said:
The simple fact that objectivity is an impossible achievement for any human journalist is one of the main reasons why so many people have begun to question if tranditional media outlets really do have a monopoly on “the truth.”
It reminded me of E-Prime, a dialect of English without the verb “to be”.
The “A”-type statements (Standard English) all implicitly or explicitly assume the medieval view called “Aristotelian essentialism” or “naive realism.” In other words, they assume a world made up of block-like entities with indwelling “essences” or spooks- “ghosts in the machine.” The “B”-type statements (E-Prime) recast these sentences into a form isomorphic to modern science by first abolishing the “is” of Aristotelian essence and then reformulating each observation in terms of signals received and interpreted by a body (or instrument) moving in space-time.
I have found repeatedly that when baffled by a problem in science, in “philosophy,” or in daily life, I gain immediate insight by writing down what I know about the enigma in strict E-Prime.
E-prime and blogging achieve increased objectivity by revealing the narrator’s subjectivity in the transaction.