Explain what the epistemological notion of "Justified True Belief" is:
In Epistemology, the study of knowledge and what can be knowable, a large concern is the definition of what constitutes knowledge. In this field, a popular definition is that of Justified True Belief. This definition posits that for something to constitute knowledge, it must be a belief which is both justified and true. For a belief to be justified, it must be believed for a good reason. For example, I could say that I know that John has a quarter in his pocket because I saw him put the quarter in his pocket a few seconds ago. However, if I said I knew that John had a quarter in his pocket because he has brown hair, that would not be a good reason, and thus not a justified belief. The belief must also be true. For example, if I did see John put a quarter in his pocket, I would have a justified belief that he had a quarter in his pocket. However, if I did not know that he in fact had a hole in his pocket, and the quarter fell through that hole, it would not be true that he had a quarter in his pocket, and my proposition would be a justified, but a false belief, and thus not knowledge. However, if he had a normal pocket and the quarter was indeed in his pocket, then my belief would be both justified and true. And thus, according to the Justified True Belief definition of knowledge, I could say that I knew that John had a quarter in his pocket.
Explain what Classical Conditioning is:
Classical conditioning is the learning process first studied in detail by Ivan Pavlov. In this process, an unconditioned stimulus, something biologically potent (e.g., a treat for a dog), is paired with a conditioned stimulus, something initially neutral (e.g., the sound of a bell.) The unconditioned stimulus (the food) creates an unconditioned response (e.g., salivation by the dog). Over time, this response can be elicited by the conditioned stimulus alone, here the bell. This is done by pairing the unconditioned stimulus with the conditioned stimulus on repeated trials. For example, the dog can be given a treat directly after hearing the sound of the bell, in, say, 10 separate trials. Initially, the dog would only salivate when it saw the food, but would not respond in this way to hearing the bell. However, after these 10 separate trials, the dog will associate the sound of the bell with the food. After these trials, when the dog hears the bell, he will salivate even if there is no food present. At this point, the salivation in response to the sound of the bell is the conditioned response, and after this process of learning, it can be elicited by solely using the conditioned stimulus, the bell. The dog has learned to associate the sound of the bell with food, and thus it causes him to respond similarly to if food was actually present. This process of learning is Classical Conditioning.
Describe and analyze how the film "The Thomas Crown Affair" is reflective of the post-modern culture in which it was produced
The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), directed by John McTiernan, exhibits a strong disconnect with reality, a hallmark of postmodern culture and style. The film is effectively a dance between Pierce Brosnan’s millionaire playboy character and the seductive detective played by Rene Russo. Neither character knows if they can trust the other, and both are “above” a traditional relationship. Instead, it’s about sex, charisma, and style. In a society in which gender roles are broken down, Brosnan’s character and Russo’s character are equals, and any betrayal of true emotion is a sign of weakness, a submittal to the other. This is very obvious in the ballroom scene, in which the two are tangoing with each other literally, each move a defiance of the other, and ending with the line, “Do you want to dance, or do you want to dance?” This postmodern relationship between the two of them is emblematic of the film as a whole, as well. The fast pace of the cutting, the one-liners in place of true dialogue, and the flashiness of the wealth and habits of Crown all serve to make the film sexy and attractive, but void it of true substance. Like our culture, it does not try to tackle authenticity, but rather simulates a more aesthetically pleasing version of it. It is, in this way, a reflection of the dissolution of reality, and the preference for image over substance in our culture.