The chapter from “They Say/I Say” that I chose to read was chapter six called “Planting a Naysayer in Your Text”. This chapter touches on how to start your naysayer paragraph, how to introduce a naysayer, and how to answer the objections of your naysayer. I found this chapter really insightful because I feel the naysayer paragraph is an area of my essay I could work on. Specifically, I wanted to look at my transition from the previous paragraph into my naysayer. The chapter states that sentences about naysayers should be general and not be targeted at any specific person or group. However, if there is a specific view point that is used in your essay, naming a group of people can be beneficial. For example the book uses a couple templates such as, ” Biologists, of course, may want to question whether….” and “Nevertheless, both followers and critics of Malcolm X will probably suggest otherwise and argue that…” So, in my essay I decided to take the first approach since there is no specific group I am targeting with my argument. I changed the claim sentence of my naysayer paragraph from “Some individuals believe that stories of experiences in life do not impact our opinions and behavior. ” to “Skeptics may say that stories which describe experiences in our lives do not have an impact on our current opinions and behavior.” I feel the second sentence is more clear and connects more to my main argument.
The main idea my peer gave me for my paper was to find a place to introduce Beck’s article earlier into my essay and possibly connect it to another article. So my main goal is to read back over Beck’s article and see if there are any quotes or ideas that could connect into one of my earlier paragraphs. I also want to look at the other articles I’ve used and see if Beck can connect to those in some way. I think my biggest challenge is going to be to connect Beck to the other articles I’ve used. The other articles I’ve used are more science based in their ideas because they deal with neuroscience but I believe that there are ideas that are similar in all three. I could also utilize Beck in my naysayer paragraph as a way to rebuttal the ideas of Strawson. If I am struggling to find a place to put Beck I will either reach out to Professor Emerson for some guidance on how to do so and if there are any strategies I could use that I haven’t tried yet. I could also reach out to some of my peers to see how they incorporated Beck into their essays.
I feel like the term “life story” is a concept I haven’t thought about very often. This is mostly due to the fact that my life is just starting and I don’t really have a story yet. I feel once you’re much older and have accomplished most of what you’ve wanted to in life, then you can have a “life story”. One quote in Strawson’s article that really stuck out to me was when he quoted Henry Taylor and said, ” an imaginative man is apt to see, in his life, the story of his life; and is thereby led to conduct himself in such a manner as to make a good story of it rather than a good life.” When I read this quote it made me think about how people view their lives. Some individuals see it as an opportunity to do something great in the world in which they would be remembered for doing so. Others focus on their own lives, however small they may seem, and make the most out of what they have and feel content and happy with the choices they have made. If someone focuses too much on their “life story” as a way to be remembered in the world tend to lose sight of what really matters in life. This reminds me of a movie “The Fault In Our Stars” where one of the main characters, Gus, talks about how he wants to be remembered and Hazel advises him against that mindset because he should be content with what he has and live his life to make himself happy and not others happy. So, I feel that people should focus on what makes them happy and pursue their “life story” as a way to make themselves the happiest they can be and not focus on making everyone else around them happy or looking to live their life in a way everyone will remember them.
In Julie Beck’s article, there were many points she touched on that caught my eye and grabbed my attention. One of those moments was when she stated, “Stories are life, life is stories.” This quote made me really think about how people talk about their live. People explain their lives by telling stories so, in a way, life is a never-ending story that contains many short stories within in. If you think about all the times in your life you have to explain an event you always a use a story to explain who you are and how you got to this point.
Another moment in Beck’s article that I connected with when she mentioned how humans have a tendency to try and predict the future even when they have no reason to. My mom and I tend to watch a lot of crime shows and we always try to predict how the show will proceed (who killed the person and why they did it). When I thought about how I try to predict the ending of a show, it made me realize that we, as humans, have a need to know every detail about life. We want to know what will happen next because it makes us feel more comfortable because we are prepared for the outcome. However, that is not how life works. Life is full of surprises and twists, just like TV shows, and those twists are what makes life exciting and different. By guessing what will happen in the future, the excitement disappears and we may become let down by the actual outcome.
Lastly, I also connected with Beck’s quote about overthinking, “If you’re prone to overthinking, and playing out every possibly scenario in your head in advance, you can see foreshadowing in everything.” Sometimes when I am unsure about a decision I made, I overthink the possibly repercussions of my choice and I dive into those thoughts until I start to believe it is actually happening and I have to revert myself back to the reality of the situation. Most of the time, my worst thoughts never actually happen, but in the moments following my decision I feel like it is the only possible outcome. These thoughts are like a train that never stops because more thoughts build and build upon them until I arrive at a very unlikely outcome.
I chose to read through my first draft of my first paper in this course. I felt it would give me a better understanding of my habits because a lot of editing and polishing of the paper takes place. As I read through the first few paragraphs I could already notice patterns in my writing. I used the word metaphor a lot which could be considered a key term since the topic of my paper was metaphors in medicine. However, I felt like I repeated the word “metaphor” too often in my paper to a point that the repetition was not helping advance my paper. I also used pointing words quite frequently. Most of the time I used them in a proper way that the reader would still understand what I was talking about. However, a few times I did not do so. For example, In the second paragraph I said “this is not how the researchers thought the audience would understand the metaphor but it does show how everyone can comprehend the same subject or idea in a different way than someone may have intended.” The use of the word “this” in the beginning of the sentence makes the meaning of the sentence very vague and can cause the reader to become confused about what “this” is. I do use transition words when needed but I stick to a select few including, “for example”, “nevertheless”, and “therefore”. I would say I rely on pointing words more than any other device. I found myself underlining pointing words more often than transition words or key words. I would say a passage/sentence that is confusing and I could make clearer would be the sentence above. I would replace the word this and state, “The researchers did not intend for the audience to interpret the metaphor differently but this interpretation does show how everyone can comprehend the same subject or idea in a different way than someone may have planned.” I feel the wording of the second sentence makes the intent of the sentence more clear to the audience. I would not add a device into this sentence because I do not believe it needs another.
Brief outline of upcoming paper for Prompt 2. This includes ideas for my claims and thesis. Also a possible idea for a naysayer paragraph in the essay.
Interview of my mom, Lisa Cacciola, about how the death of her father impacted her view on her church and religion.
Comparison: Pinker and Lehrer
The view on the word reductionism is widely disputed because of its derogatory meaning. Jonah Lehrer, an American author, said, “…the logic of reductionism implies that our self-consciousness is really an elaborate illusion, an epiphenomenon generated by some electrical shudder in the frontal cortex. There is not ghost in the machine; there is only the vibration of the machinery” (3). Reductionism, in Lehrer’s view, is only looking at the pieces of a concept or idea and never the whole picture. The real truth can be lost because the whole picture is not being addressed. However, Steven Pinker, an American cognitive psychologist, disputes the use of reductionism to describe how scientists explain concepts. In his article, “Science Is Not Your Enemy”, he states, ” demonizers of scientism often confuse intelligibility with a sin called reductionism. But to explain a complex happening in terms of deeper principles is not to discard its richness” (4). In order to explain complex ideas from the science world it is imperative to know the basics and all the parts that make a system work. This can help everyday people understand foreign ideas because they know how the parts work together in order to make the whole. Therefore, the opinion on the word reductionism depends on the person you speak to. One may use it in a negative way to show that the bigger picture is lost or it can be use to create a better understand of a difficult concept.
Comparison: Pinker and Self-to-text
Science is used to explain and discover new ideas about our world. Ideas of science and religion have come into contact and there is a discrepancy between them. Each have their own beliefs on how the world came about and what our purpose is within it but some believe this a boundary that science should not cross into. Steven Pinker, an American cognitive psychologist stated, “Though everyone endorses science when it can cure disease, monitor the environment, or bash political opponents, the intrusion of science into the territories of the humanities has been deeply resented. Just as reviled is the application of scientific reasoning to religion: many writers without a trace of a belief in God maintain that there is something unseemly about scientists weighing in on the biggest questions” (pg.2). The biggest questions in our society include who we are , where we came from, and what is the purpose of us being here. When science attempts to answer one of these questions, for example, proposing the Big Bang Theory as a way to explain how the Universe was created, is seen as overstepping its boundaries in the eyes of religion. Most religious individuals believe there is only one way we became a Universe and that is by God. If science attempts to step into this world people of religion turn their back on the idea of another possibility on the origin of life. A friend of mine has some religious roots within her family and the conversation of how life began was a topic of conversation. Anytime I would attempt to bring up a theory of science about how this world came to be, she would dispute and couldn’t wrap her head around the idea that something, other than God, could have created this world. Science should be accepted by all as a way to explain our world’s biggest questions and it should not be shunned against based on the sole reason of it being different than our own personal opinions.