Truth and Representation
Drawing on the readings and lectures for this topic, identify and discuss the tensions inherent in the public representation of complex issues. Answer with reference to any one event or issue of current significance.
* Berger, J. (1972) Ways of Seeing, BBC and Penguin Books: London, pp. 7-34.
Langton, B. (1993) Well, I Heard it on the Radio and I Saw it on the Television, Australian Film Commission: North Sydney, pp. 23-44.
Pinter, H. (2005) ‘Art, truth and politics’, Nobel Lecture, 7 December, The Nobel Foundation, pp. 1-12.
Kovach, B. & Rosenstiel, T. (2001) The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, pp. 35-50.
Morris, T. & Goldsworthy, S. (2008) PR—A Persuasive Industry: Spin, Public Relations and the Shaping of the Modern Media, Palgrave Macmillan: New York, pp. 97-111.
Oreskes, N. & Conway, E. M. (2010) Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, pp. 10-35.
Howell, G. & Miller, R. (2006) ‘Spinning out the asbestos agenda: How big business uses public relations in Australia’, Public Relations Review, 32 (3), pp. 261-266.
Truth and Representation
There is speculation that over the past years, philosophers of different ages have had a hard time in dealing with the basic concept of truth. It is quite evident that as we go on about our daily lives, we often meet a given thing that is a representation of another: For instance, it is a basic idea that a flag is a representation of a particular country (Parr, p1).
From a general point of view, the idea and form of representation have been developed by humans or nature to serve a particular function. Based on the idea that one thing represents another and truth and meaning may be interpreted differently, over the years, there have been issues that have arose and raised concern but their representation has been disguised to reduce significance and impact.
Most of the studies done in the current world are done from a scientific point of view, thus, their representation will be scientific. However, given that most are theories, they leave room for doubt and their validity is questionable. This in turn impacts the basic concept of truth and representation. There are given cases where scientific research can be geared to be represented in a given manner that would sway the interested parties from the truth.
The current global issue that has gripped the world and caused distress is the issue of global warming in particular to climate change. Global Climate change may be defined as any change or alteration which may be accredited or linked to human activities directly or indirectly. There are various factors that are attributed to global warming, the primary one being the emission of gases that have over the years been destroying the ozone layer (Capoor, 57-65).
Back in the late 1970s to early 1980s, there was research conducted based on the idea that smoking of tobacco had a significant effect on global warming (Warner, 289). Although there is speculation that smoking has a negative impact on the ozone layer, the representation of the truth was that it had very minimal influence if any on the ozone layer. Different theories over time have been raised in relation to the effect of smoking, but there has never been a solid case where it has been simply put that smoking has a negative impact on the atmosphere.
Although this can be contributed to the basic idea that the tobacco industries would not want to be shut down as a result of their products leading to global warming (Buelens, Sinding and Waldstrom, 30), their truths have not been represented in the correct manner. Furthermore, there are also concerns raised on the issue of health as a result of tobacco. Their effect may be well known to the people; however, it is still represented as a cause that may have little significance in part to lung cancer. This has been the same representation from the onset of the 1950s, despite the fact that then there was little evidence on whether smoking led to lung cancer or not (‘Meaning, Truth, And Reference In Historical Representation’ 40-45).
It is evident that the idea of truth and representation may be correlated but at times, it may be presented in a manner that may be confusing. This is in particular to hiding the truth indirectly.
Buelens, M. Sinding and Waldstrom C., Organisational Behaviour. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. (2011). Print
Capoor, K. and P. Ambrosi State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2009. Washington, D.C., The
World Bank. (2009).Print.
‘Meaning, Truth, And Reference In Historical Representation’. Choice Reviews Online 50.04 (2012): 50-2207-50-2207. Web.
Parr, Hector. “Hector Parr’s Essays on Cosmology, Physics, Philosophy and organ Music”. Hectorparr.freeuk.com. N.P., 2015. Accessed Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Warner, K. E. ‘Global Warning Comes to Tobacco Control’. Tobaco Control 22(5) (2013): 289-290.
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