“You’re Wrong! I’m Right! It’s Fact!”

We’ve all been in these types of “arguments.” The ones over which TV show is the best, which movie was the worst, which restaurant serves the best food. Random proofs get pulled up as evidence such as “Well that movie topped the box office so it’s obviously better” or “that watch is overpriced.” Who is right in these instances is not as easy as others. These other arguments are those like which flag belongs to a certain country, whether the girl across the room is really a shallow stuck-up, or if that suspect is guilty.

All of these are claims that can be argued. The difference is that not all claims are spoken alike. There are different types of claims that need to be treated uniquely. The factors that play into certain types of claims are what make it hard for us to agree. Not only on small scale issues like food and entertainment, but on larger issues like what is ethical and unethical.

There are three types of claims. The first one is a truth claim. Whether or not something is a truth claim can be determined by following a two-part process. First, it has to be something that is either true or false. It cannot be both. For instance whether your neighbor’s new car is a stolen vehicle or not. It either is or it isn’t. It cannot be both a stolen vehicle and not a stolen vehicle. Second, we have to be able to think of proof that would answer this question. Obviously this proof has to be rational, but it doesn’t have to be common or even extremely likely. If a statement meets these two criteria, then it is a truth claim. This means that if two people make opposing statements, one is right and the other is wrong.

Once it is established that the claim is a truth claim, we can judge it accordingly. This will determine who is right. There is only two options. True or false. It is true if it agrees with reality. The proof that has been brought forward is our ability to understand and consume reality. Perhaps one of the proofs is that there was a police report on the news describing the car the day before, or maybe there is a witness who saw him steal the car. Either way, the evidence must match solidly what the facts say.

There are three tell-tale signs that the claim is false. First, there is a lack of proof. Maybe you suspect that your neighbor stole his car, but you can’t prove it. Then you cannot rightly accuse him of doing so. Second, if you just believe your neighbor’s car is stolen but have little to no solid evidence, then your claim must be understood as false. This is the “true to me” way of thinking. The third is that it is the opinion of the masses. This does not prove anything. Just because your entire block thinks your neighbor stole his car does not mean that he did. These might strengthen the claim, but they do not provide proof. The only way to prove a claim true is to have evidence. You need facts.

The second type of claims are taste claims. These claims are drastically different from truth claims. They are more similar to the third type of claim, value claims, which I’ll discuss later on. Two people can disagree on taste claims and both be right. It is purely their opinion of the thing. For instance, say two people go to lunch. One person loves peas and the other thinks they are disgusting. Who is right here? There can also be a person who comes in and says neither is correct. Peas are just average, or they are only good in some instances. To judge who is right and who is wrong is not straightforward. Technically both, neither, or all three. It is only correct or incorrect in the mindset of the person who speaks it. I suppose this is type of claim, a “true to me” mindset is acceptable. For these, the answer exists on a spectrum. They cannot be put into a right or wrong box.

The last type of claims are value claims. Most claims fall into this category. These are the majority of the claims that are heard on the news. They are often ones that are considered controversial or debatable. These often can have complex arguments on both ends of the spectrum. Depending on the authors, there can be a wide range of value claims made on a certain topic. Something is a value claim if it hinges on a judgement of quality. These qualities are things like goodness, morality, sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. It is also a value claim if it exists on a spectrum. This simply means that there are not clear true or false boxes that you can put the claim in.

An example of this would be whether the United States spends too much on their military or not. How to judge this type of claim is to see if it is rational or consistent with the person’s other values and with the facts. It is important to include both these because values can be rooted in fact, but they themselves are not. This means that properly understanding the truth claims behind the values will help determine which claims are better than others. It needs to be judged on a spectrum. The answer is not often yes or no, but frequently must include how much, how little, or under what circumstances.

Judging claims is justifiable because you are not making superficial judgements on the author. Rather it is a sound judgement on their claim. For all three claims, it is important to judge them based off of there specific criteria and on their initial plausibility. This is how believable the claim is based off of the knowledge the listener has on the particular subject. Granted this knowledge might be flawed, but it is an important indicator. For instance, if someone tells you that there is a chest of gold buried under your house, you will probably hesitate to believe them even though you have never seen an image of the land under your house. It is not enough to decide whether they are right or wrong, but simply a starting point. From here the identifying and specific judging can begin. A lot of times this is done in your head automatically. The first reaction to the above statement would probably be “How do you know? Prove it.” This is because you have determined that it is a truth claim and you need evidence showing that it agrees with reality. When judging the claim itself, which is always the first step, it is important to separate the claim from the maker. This prevents personal bias, emotions, or impressions of the author from getting in the way of the claim.

This is not to say that you do not judge the author, because you should. Judging the author is really just checking their credibility. To do this properly, it is important to first validate their expertise. Gathering information about their background, education, employment, experience, or access to relevant information. For instance you would probably believe a fact about the reproductions habits of an insect in the amazon from your biology teacher more easily than you would your mechanic. This is because you know your teacher’s expertise in this topic is most likely greater than your mechanic’s.

The next step is to scrutinize their sincerity. The first layer of doing this is to look at how the claim was presented. This does not mean that you judge what PowerPoint format they used or how expensive their suit is. What it means is that you check for red flags that indicate they are lying. The next thing is to check their character. Do they have a reputation of integrity? or lying? or dependability? The last check is for coercion. If the person who makes the claim has a lot to lose or gain from lying or telling the truth. This is what needs to be looked for when judging a person. It is not fallacies, but morality that we should use to judge others.

Although it takes a little more effort at first to process the information we receive in this way, it allows us to have a better understanding and be overall smarter. This makes fallacies apparent, lies obvious, and provides a pathway for understanding of facts and values. It is important to take a stand when it comes to values and be consistent. Not just in our beliefs, but in our words and actions.

Hope you enjoyed this slightly long post! If you liked what you read and want to interact with me more please check out my Facebook,Instagram, Twitter, and Google+, or leave a comment down below!

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Roses, Wine Bottles, Candles, and More!

Living in a first world country, we produce alot of waste. Not only as a country, but as individuals. One of the ways that we can all reduce the amount of waste we produce is through upcycling. It saves money, reduces waste, and can add some unique touches to  your home. This is pretty easy to do, and also super fun! Here are a few ways that I have upcycled in my house.

Candle Holder

Around the holidays, I tend to get alot of hostess baskets. These are the little gift kits that usually have bottles of wine, cheese, cookies hot chocolate packets, mugs, etc. These are super cute, and I love getting them. However, after I take all the stuff out, I’m left with the basket. Sometimes I use them for hair accessories or bath product holders, but what if I already have that stuff. Well, I got one last Christmas that had all these cutouts in it. So what I did was, instead of buying a tin for my candle, I turned that basket into one. It required absolutely no craft ability, but looks super unique and welcoming.

Beauty Containers

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I’m absolutely obsessed with cute boxes. I love them, I hoard them. If you ever have parties and like to give away little gift boxes. Or if you ever go to parties and get these gift boxes, do not just throw them away. You can use them to store your beauty products in!

Flower Vases

I don’t know about you, but I love myself a good wine. Afterwards, you can put that bottle to good use. Carefully rinse out the inside of the bottles to get rid of any alcohol that remains. Alcohol is not good for flowers. Then fill it up with water and arrange!

These are just a few ways that I am conscious about my impact as a consumer. Let me know if you want more of these. Also, what kinds of upcycling do you do? I would love to know!

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Back to School Essentials: College Edition

With a mixture of excitement and dread, we all look forward to the beginning of the school year. Excitement because college is the best school experience ever, and dread because waking up early and bureaucracy are the worst.

Another thing that is much more enjoyable about the beginning of school at the college level is back to school shopping. So without further ado, let me show you what I buy to get me started at the beginning of the school semester.

I will start off with my backpack. I have a smaller bag since I try minimize what I carry around with me on campus. This one has two pouches. The main large one where I keep my books and paper, and a smaller one for my wallet, pens, etc. Just for fun I have a little owl keychain on the zipper.

I have this little zipper case from Old Navy for my pens, highlighters, flash drive, and pencil sharpener.

Pencil Case.jpg

I bought my most beautiful Kate Spade agenda. I love this so much that I actually wrote an entire blog post about it. You can read and see it in detail here.

Agenda pic 13

I also bought this binder. It is a 2″ since I am a bit of a schoolwork hoarder and like to keep all my work from the semester. This one was a super cute black binder by pink light design.

Binder

For paper I have a 5 subject spiral and a composition notebook from 5 star. I just love these dreamcatcher and feather designs that they had this year. I will probably fill up the entire spiral this semester, which is why I bought the composition. It will serve as an overflow notebook.

Taking notes is one of the biggest parts of being in class. At least it is for me anyways. Since that is the case, I am super picky about my pens. I purchased these R.S.V.P. pens in both black and an assortment of colors. I also make sure that I have highlighters on hand. I keep a pencil and pencil sharpener on hand just in case. I also have a flash drive for storing all of my work.

Pens.jpg

Then there’s the boring but necessary stuff. Like dividers and plastic protectors. Honestly, the protectors are just for putting papers that are too thick to hole punch in my binder. That may be next level lazy, but I think it’s rather clever.

Well, that’s it! I hope that this helped if you are feeling a little lost as to what to buy for college or university whether this is your first semester or 7th. Or if you just enjoy seeing what other people buy for school supplies like I do.

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The Perfect Planner!

Well, it’s that time of the year. The end of summer. In a few short weeks, I’ll have to go back to school. This also means that it’s time to buy a new agenda!! School supply shopping has become so much more enjoyable since I started college. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

I found the cutest agenda I have ever seen at Barnes and Nobles. It is a Kate Spade agenda. This one was a little more expensive than I would typically spend on a planner, but it was too adorable not to get. The thing that is useful for me is that it starts in August 2016 and ends in December 2017! That is going to last me three semesters!!

It is hard cover which I thought was unique. It has a black elastic to hold it closed.

Agenda pic 13

On the inside of the cover it has a little place to put your info as well as a pouch.

Agenda pic 7

It has a brief calendar in the front.

Agenda pic 11

There is also a place to put important dates, a list of holidays, and a space for notes.

Agenda pic 6Agenda pic 3

Now, my favorite part. This was the thing that convinced me to buy it if I am being completely honest. At the front of each month it has the month written on the right, and a lovely illustration on the right. Each month has a different illustration to go with it. I’m only going to show you a few here, but I will leave a link to the website at the end of the blog if you want to check it out for yourself.

Agenda pic 10Agenda pic 9Agenda pic 8

Inside the month, there is a monthly calendar which I can write major events and abbreviated info.

Agenda pic 5

Then, there is a weekly calendar on the next few pages. This is an absolute MUST for me. I always have a hard time finding an agenda that has enough room for me to write. This one has This one has the perfect amount of space. I like to use this space to write individual homework assignments, due dates, and appointments with more detail. This agenda has plenty of space for that.

Agenda pic 4

Here is a close up of the side tabs.

 

Here is a look at the back cover.

Agenda pic 12

Here is the Kate Spade website where you can find agendas to your heart’s content. I highly recommend getting one as I am absolutely obsessed with mine. It lacks nothing when it comes to agendas. I am so excited for it to become August so I can start using it!

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My Summer Reading List

For many of us, we have passed the halfway mark of summer. I thought I’d share one of the things that have taken up a good portion of my time this summer. That thing is reading. I am a huge bookworm. Even though summer is mostly over, it is not too late to get in a good book or two. I have compiled a list of my favorite books to read in summer.

Anne of Green Gables

This is one of my all time favorite books. I have read it countless times. I have read the entire series countless times to be correct. It isn’t a difficult read so it is great for relaxing in your favorite reading spot. I think this is one of the books that first made me cry, and laugh out loud.

This book is about a little orphan girl who is a surprise to the aging owners of a farmhouse who wrote to the orphanage. She wants to stay with them so badly, but is always getting into scrapes. It is a dream of hers to belong at the farm, and she is willing to work for it.

Twelfth Night

I know Shakespeare isn’t for everyone. It can bring back memories of struggling with the outdated language in high school. However, I think that if they let us read one of his comedies it would have been a much better experience.

This book is a comedy about a man who is suffering from unrequited love at the hands of a woman named Olivia. A shipwrecked woman, Viola, disguises herself as her twin brother, thinking he’s dead, and goes to work for him as a page. The members of Olivia’s household constantly stir up trouble for one another. Shortly after the shipwreck, Viola’s twin brother appears on the scene believing his sister is dead. Olivia soon falls for Viola in disguise and another on of her admirers challengers the disguised to a duel. Meanwhile Olivia’s household continue to cause havoc on one another. The story comes to a head when all of the characters involved in the several love triangles end up in the same room together.

Peter Pan and the Starcatchers

Yes, this is a children’s book. Just trust me on this one. My younger siblings encouraged me to read it, and I’m glad I let them persuade me. In fact, I loved it so much I rushed to the bookstore and bought the rest of the trilogy. They had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. To say that it is well written is not quite doing it justice.

This book is about Peter Pan before Wendy Darling and Neverland. The adventure begins with a group of orphans and continues to include pirates, evil kings, and of course a thunderstorm or two.

Life of Pi

This one is different from the others on the list. I am not a big fan of the man vs nature genre. I can honestly say I enjoyed the movie much better. However, it was a unique book that is easy to read through. The writer does a good job getting the reader to know the main character. It took me by surprise how much I ended up talking about the story after I was finished. I think it is important to read many different types of books.

This book is about a boy named Pi and his childhood. He searches to find God in several religions. His family decides to move to Canada and boards a boat. Pi ends up shipwrecked with a tiger. He goes through many trials, including blindness. They discover a strange island. After quite some time, they end up on the shores of Mexico.

Little House in the Big Woods

This is another one of those books that you probably read back in grade school and never looked back. I highly recommend giving it a second read (or first if you missed out on the opportunity as a child). The story is well written and the characters are endearing. It wasn’t until I was much older that I discovered all the other books that are part of the series.

Laura and her family live in a log cabin in the woods of Wisconsin. Her father and mother work hard to provide for the families needs. At times living in these woods can be scary and lonely, but there is plenty of pleasant, cozy moments to make life happy.

The Secret Garden

This is one that I have read several times. The first time was as a child. I remember sitting in my library’s garden and reading a beautifully illustrated copy of the book. Now I have a plain, small copy of the book, but the charm the words have inside is the same. It is a unique story with unusual characters.

This book is about a sickly, little girl named Mary who lives in a world devoid of love. She is sent to England to live with her Uncle. She hears about a secret garden and becomes determined to find it. She also keeps hearing strange cries in the house. She searches for the source of the cries. She makes some unlikely friends and they share adventures in the garden. They spend every day there.

Robin Hood

What is better in summer than sharing a myriad of adventures? We get to share in the infamous Robin Hood and his merry men’s adventures in this book. It is full of that old-fashioned humor and wit that thrills a book loving heart.

Robin Hood is the people’s hero who stands for social justice in the face of the tyrant Prince John and his sheriff. Robin and his friends take refuge in Sherwood forest, and cause all sorts of trouble for their enemies.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

This is another unusual pick for me. It is not really my style, but I was encouraged to read it by my high school english teacher. I was surprised to find that I had a hard time putting it down. It is really a suspenseful and fantastical story that I think anyone would enjoy.

A group of men began a voyage to get rid of a mysterious sea monster, which turns out to be a giant submarine. Held captive by the captain, they go on an adventure that holds many wonders.

So there is my summer reading list. Let me know what books you have been loving this summer as I am always eager to add to my collection.

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It’s Ok to Be the Idiot

I hate being wrong. I think this is something that many people can sympathize with. We often go around with a fear of being wrong. Of looking like an idiot. Few things are more cringe worthy to me than the moment after you are corrected on something that everyone else sees as common knowledge. As a competent human being, it does really hurt the ego. However, it is not always a bad thing.

I think that for some of us, if we are not sure of something, we tend not to say anything at all rather than risk being wrong and looking like an idiot. How many times have we heard the phrase “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” However, we still go about afraid of asking questions that will make us look stupid.

A few weeks ago this happened to me. I sat in my car for several minutes debating whether or not to ask a question, only because I knew that it was rather stupid of me. I was afraid of looking like an idiot. Now that I’ve come to think about it, that was the wrong way of looking at it. How are any of us supposed to learn if we never ask questions that might seem idiotic to those who have plenty of knowledge? How did we ever learn any of the things that we find useful or interesting? How do we grow as individuals? By asking questions!!

See, after thinking critically about my own experience I came to a conclusion. It’s ok to be the idiot. It’s ok to know the least about something. Or to admit to not knowing something. Or to be mistaken. Or to ask a stupid question. That is how we learn.

So sacrificing face and putting yourself at risk of being laughed at isn’t a bad thing. Although it is uncomfortable. However, I was surprised at how freeing it can be. After that moment of discomfort came an entirely new experience. One of more understanding and mental growth.

Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is worth it. There is nothing to fear about being the least smartest in the room. There is also nothing wrong with admitting that you don’t know something. I know that it isn’t easy, but I am trying to live this way. The more we are open to admitting we don’t know something, even if this is just to ourselves, the more we will learn. So I hope that the next time you are faced with a situation that has you feeling like an idiot, you will look at it as a moment of learning and human experience instead. I know that I will do my best to do the same.

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You don’t have to…

Millennials and the younger generation get alot of trash talk from the older generation. This is nothing new. Since younger generations have departed from their parent’s ideas, they have heard the “Back in my day…” speeches. So this is nothing unique to our generation. However, this still doesn’t make it any easier. We constantly hear about how we are addicted to our phones, live too much on social media, and have our priorities all mixed up.

Now, I agree that we could all ease up on the phone usage. Actually living in the moment is super important. However, it is perfectly ok to love Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. These are all things that are new us. They are ours to enjoy. There is nothing wrong with taking pictures of our food, flowers, or OOTD. Don’t feel guilty for enjoying these things. They are all part of our generation’s experiences. So go ahead. Say bae and lit. There is nothing wrong with that. Our parents and grandparents had their staples too. They had TV, Rock n’ Roll, surfing, and skateboarding. They could probably tell you that they got lectures from their parents.

That being said, you don’t have to like these things. You don’t have to be on social media. You don’t have to care about what is trending. You don’t have to go with any of the trends of today. There is nothing wrong with not being interested in these things. We are fortunate enough to have such a wide variety of hobbies and activities to choose from. That is an amazing part of being a young person today.

You don’t have to feel bad for loving these things. You also don’t have to feel bad about not caring about these things. Be your own unique self, with your own special interests. There is only one you. You don’t have to go with the crowd. However, you don’t have to stand apart either.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. I enjoyed writing it. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more excerpts from my brain.