Sunday, February 24, 2013

Food Chain and # 62 The Affective fallacy

Food Chain

Horse jokes abound
As I took part in our weekly shop I reflected that Shopping in supermarkets does not feel as it did only a few months ago.
Food safety and integrity is now on the agenda and It will be interesting to see how consumers have adjusted their behaviour since recent revelations around meat products. For me I feel less comfortable with processed products like pies and lasagnes than I did. What do the recent revelations teach us and how are the big chains reacting?
The following stories are reported

Asda - Now Asda bans meat from Glasgow factory from February 14th

Tesco  Tesco (where hamburgers and other products with horsemeat have been found) and the horsemeat scandal.

Morrison's -who have strong claims on their own retail meat chain:- Morrison's meat: Journey from abattoir to final package.

Sainsbury's  where the media friendly Justin King has been holding forth, Sainsbury's chief Justin King warns of 'new reality' after horse meat crisis.

The posh ones have not been immune to answering questions either but Waitrose and M&S like Morrison's are looking better bets although Waitrose have withdrawn a number of products from their shelves.
Like much in modern life there is a need for active consumers who are not merely intent on getting the lowest prices - I believe that cheap food can often mean poor quality food. Strangely we're far more careful with the food we put in our cars than with the materials we consume.

Crofton and number 62 The Affective Fallacy.

Following on from the work that William  Wimsatt Junior and Monroe  Beardsley did on The Intentional Fallacy (Number 61) in 1954 they produced a critique around how literary criticism  which is known as The Affective Fallacy.
This from the Northfield Mount Hermon School website

The “affective fallacy” refers to the fallacy, or mistake, of confusing what a work of literature does and its result (how it affects the reader). This is a highly significant term in the world of literary criticism, running back to Aristotle’s conception of “catharsis” and all the way through present day discourse over the vice and virtue of New Criticism. At heart, the “affective fallacy” results in more of a suggestion of what not to do in that it suggests that a critic not make the mistake of focusing on how a piece of work affects the reader because of how subjective these results can be. For example, a poem can affect different individuals differently due to a variety of personal reasons. The argument, then, is to avoid the “affective fallacy” so that the discourse about the poem can pursue greater objectivity by focusing on the work of literature itself. The practical application of this concept is that writers should avoid talking about the audience, whose responses to a work of art or literature are individualistic, personal, and ultimately unreliable in a objective sense.
One way of looking at the “affective fallacy” is by examining the objective of the mode of writing. If the purpose of the writing is to produce objective analysis, then avoiding the “affective fallacy” will push the piece further along these lines. In this regard, if it is an evidence-driven piece, then realizing that any mention of the affect of the poem on the audience is ultimately unprovable will help to steer the piece away from the fallacy. (Stick to what you can prove!)