Neil Postman. “Media as Epistemology”

                   “The concept of truth is intimately linked to the biases of forms of expression.” (Page 22)


Literally: This quote means depending on what type of communication that is used in a culture, that type will be used to convey the truth as well as proves the validity of that particular truth. In an oral culture where is no such thing as writing, the truth is conveyed by proverbs and sayings, whereas a written culture relies on written documents or putting something in writing as a form of a truth.  Each culture view of how to express the truth of something is connected to their form of communication resulting in a bias towards any other way form of expression of stating the truth.

Intellectually:  I think Postman made a great argument about the concept of the truth being linked to different forms of expression. He supported this point well by using the African tribe and the court room as an example. Since the African tribe use proverbs and saying to convey truths, to use them in a modern day court room to prove the innocence of a person will not work.

Emotionally:  I understand Postman’s point as the media changes it affects our epistemologies. It makes me think about how we view the truth. In today’s world our new media is the internet, and people rely on it to get facts about an assortment of subjects. Since the internet gives such quick access to information,  people are quick to believe what they read on the internet and believes it to be truth, but its known that not all the information on the internet is not reliable whether it’s on a website like Wikipedia or on a social network site like Facebook.

Relationally:  This quote fits into the overall essay because Postman is trying to explain how medias influences our epistemologies. It has an effect on how we use language, how we view religion, how we behave and how we explain and control what we considered the truth.  Postman use the topic of economics as an example. He goes on to state the only way we could explain and discuss economics is through the use of numbers. Any other could be possible but it will only be accepted as the truth because of the media that was created which is numbers makes it a fact.


Lewis Mumford, “The Automation of Knowledge”

                                                                                                                                                                                 “Most of our fellow citizens, unless they are threatened with the loss of their jobs, are not ready to question the inevitability of eventual total automation. Not only do they look forward—as all reasonable men should—to the transference of much burdensome, servile labor to the machine, but they are equally eager to turn as many other human functions as possible over to machines, fascinated, indeed abjectly hypnotized, by their superior accuracy, their fantastic rapidity, their staggering productivity.” (Page 264)

Literally: This passage expresses the convenience of automation in today’s world and the general public’s lack of interest in questioning it. Because the public only focused on satisfying their short term interests, such as their phones, tablets and other gadgets, they do not think about the impact their lives will have if total automation is achieved some day in a society. The future could possibly mean a life where they can lose their job to a machine that is faster, better and more efficient than they are, but it’s not until it affects them directly will they finally take notice.

Intellectually: This passage makes me think about the study of Artificial Intelligence. Whether it’s a computer, machine, or software there are engineers, scientists, and researchers who want things to be control by artificial intelligence technology because of its accuracy. I recently read an article about radiologist using artificial Intelligence technology to help them find and correct any problems they were unable to identify. The technology is being encouraged because so many patients get misdiagnosed because of human error. In this sense it’s obvious that technology would be welcomed and be used, but then I think and raise the questions, will we get to a point where a patient won’t have to see a doctor as much? How much work will a doctor actually have? How far engineers, scientists, and researchers are willing to go when it comes to technology? Since a machine can do it better.

Emotionally:  This passage makes me think about my own actions. When I have to write a paper I don’t use a physically paper back dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia any more. I don’t take out books from the library unless it’s required in a school assignment. I do all of this because of the convenience the internet. I have my phone which I can use a map, a calculator, or a camera. Since everything is at my fingertips, I don’t learn an important or useful skill by using my devices. I do feel like the convenience is making me lazy. It’s not something myself or anyone planned to do it’s just the results of things being convenient.

Relationally: This passage relates to the overall essay because it summons up Mumford’s argument that as a society we are so focused on everything being automatic. We are forgetting to look at the bigger picture on how it’s affecting how we learn, how we obtain information, how we behave and its affecting our livelihood. Everything that makes us human is being suppressed because we are relying so heavily on all the technology that is around us, and something needs to be done before it gets out of control,


Donald Murray, “Internal Revision”

“Discovery, however, can be a frightening process. The terror of the empty page is real, because you simply do not know what you are going to say before you say it or if indeed you will have anything to say” (Page 80)

Literally:  In this passage Murray is trying to explain when you’re in the discovery part of your writing process, and trying to figure out the meaning behind your words. It can be a very daunting task. It feels this way because you’re trying to write and you are not quite sure what to say or how to begin. You’re also questioning if what you have to say is even important.  As a writer, you dread having an empty page because it just adds to your frustration.

Intellectually:  This passage makes me think about all the times I just stared at a blank piece of paper or the blank screen. I would get frustrated because I know I should be writing, but I just can’t. I’ll be sitting in a chair trying to figure out what I’m going to say. I always want to make sure what I write makes sense, but also displays that I took the time and effort to put forth a meaningful piece of work.

Emotionally:  The first sentence of this passage describes how I feel sometimes when I write. When I first read that part, I thought immediately about how I feel and how I get discourage because I have an idea of what I want to say, but I don’t know how to arrange it and put it on paper.

Relationally: This quote does not relate to the overall essay because Donald Murray is explaining how rewriting is a very important skill, and it’s a skill that students should be encouraged to do more and the same goes for expert writers as well. Because he believes so strongly about multiple revisions of ones work, throughout the essay, he creates and categorizes terms for a new way of doing the writing process which he puts doing revisions as the main points of writing. He categorizes them as internal and external revision. The quote I used was said to describe how a writer can feel when, in what he refers as the discovery stage, a stage in a writer’s work where they are trying to figure the meaning of their work. He reexamines the thought of the writing process like I mentioned before, but his version of the writing process is consist of writing through prevision, vision, and revision.

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5 Responses to Response#3

  1. Jvega says:

    your points are very clear

  2. Abigale says:

    Like Simone’s interpretation of a similar quote, I agree with you wholeheartedly. There is just something so intimidating about an empty page. It’s even more intimidating when you realize that you’re the one with the responsibility of filling it. Great job!

  3. I really enjoyed reading your response, it was very well written and all of your responses were clear and concise. I especially liked your intellectual perspective on the Murray piece, I completely understand the frustrated feeling you get when you know you’re supposed to be writing something but you just can’t. Very well explained, good job!

  4. I loved your response. I picked the same quote for ” Internal Revision” the intimidation of the empty page is real, i cant decide what’s worse having something to say and not knowing how to express it or not knowing what to say at all. I’m hardly ever speechless myself but as writers i feel like there’s an unbelievable amount of stress on us to know what to say and how to say it at all times. I felt comfort in not being looked at as “all knowing” for once.

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