Posts Tagged ‘Epistemology’

Quote note (#291)

Sailer gets philosophical (and does it well):

The technology of power is moving from the past’s emphasis on privacy and concealment toward more contemporary techniques of diversion, bias, misconception, and willful stupidity. The crude methods that George Orwell summed up in his image of the incinerator-chute “memory hole” are growing into more sophisticated devices for providing the public with misleading frameworks for mentally organizing (or rationalizations for simply ignoring) the overload of available facts, thus making it harder to remember or understand politically inconvenient knowledge.

[…] … erasing facts and even people from history could sometimes work because in the past, information was scarce since reproducing it was so expensive. […] Even without political ill will, simply maintaining the knowledge already existent was difficult: Libraries, for example, might catch fire and texts (and thus knowledge) could be lost forever. […] With the invention of the movable-type printing press in the West in the 1400s, redundancy began to win the war against knowledge decay. Eventually, there were enough copies of books that knowledge was unlikely to be fully expunged. […] In modern times, the urge to retcon reality is no doubt as strong as in the past. But information storage and communication are so cheap that old techniques such as book burnings can hardly be counted upon anymore to root out all copies of data. …

October 6, 2016admin 22 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Philosophy

Tribal Epistemology

When you know who people identify with, you generally get a full-spectrum insight into their beliefs for free.

As Fernandez puts it:

… while Western civilization pays lip service to “evidence based” policy, in practice most human beings rely on social proof to decide what to believe. … The search for “social proof” as a determinant of conviction is not wholly crazy. Few of us can say why a pharmaceutical works. But if the doctor prescribes a pill, we drink it without question. Most of the world is preoccupied with making a living and consequently have a high level of rational ignorance. “Rational ignorance occurs when the cost of educating oneself on an issue exceeds the potential benefit that the knowledge would provide.” It takes too long for us to figure things out from first principles, so we find a “smart man” and do what he tells us.

While everybody is compelled to economize in this way to some extent, skepticism — in its many different varieties — offers a measure of practical defense. (One variant is simply the heuristic, inherited by all Protestant clades, if quite commonly left idle by them, of looking things up for yourself.)

“What do you do if the Church has been hijacked by demons?” asked Harold Lee. This is exactly the same concern, raised from another angle, and escalated towards its essence. As trust in the machineries of critical truth production is eroded, in direct proportion to their Cathedralization, the primary tendency is to tribalize ‘knowledge’ (as a signal of belonging), and secondarily to promote a general nihilism, on the ever-more plausible assumption that everything we have ever been told is a lie.

This is how a civilization is burnt to the ground. By selling their souls to the New Church, all epistemologically-relevant social institutions trade authority for mere power, or the capacity to command tribal allegiance and conformity. In response, trustlessness is installed as the foundational principle of realistic socio-political analysis, or informally manifested in a spreading and deepening cynicism. What little exists of counter-knowledge is mostly sheer refusal, or opportunistic deference to the enemy’s enemy. No Antiversity exists. It too is invoked, in the interim, only as a refusal. Its entire meaning, up to this point, is that we don’t any longer believe what we’ve been told.

We remember enough about what Science once was, or what market-honed economic signals were, to know that tribal epistemology is cognitive garbage. As we slide down the slope, increasingly, it’s the garbage heap in which we all live.

July 29, 2015admin 23 Comments »
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