Under what circumstances can modifying our assumptions of the social world result in more valid models of human behaviour?
In Ideas Roadshow’s TOK clip called A Supreme Example, Tufts University philosopher Brian Epstein describes how many people’s perspectives on the social world are prejudiced by a hidden assumption that he takes issue with and uses the example of The Supreme Court to illustrate his point.
“…. So if you look at the example of the nine people on the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court is a lot more than those nine people. There’s a way of doing a kind of thought experiment in philosophy where you try to understand, ‘Does this object just consist of these parts?‘. What you do is, you take those parts and you move them to a remote environment and you see if that object still exists or still behaves in the same way. It’s obvious – if you take those nine people and you move them somewhere where there’s not this enormous United States infrastructure, then they’re powerless. The power of the Supreme Court: the fact that they’re making decisions, even the actions of the Supreme Court, for instance striking down a law, voting in a certain way, that consists of a lot more than just those nine people.”
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