Epistemic closure is an act of will

Just reviewing what epistemic closure is…a good 2010 NYTimes article: “‘Epistemic Closure’? Those Are Fighting Words

It’s a very good read.

Reading a logical analysis of ‘epistemic closure’ — the logic topic — on http://plato.stanford.edu, there is an argument against the existence of epistemic closure: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘳𝘨𝘶𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 f𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘺𝘴𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘒𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦.

I think we MUST concede that there is a logical definition, and then there’s its non-logical application. It’s precisely 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 there is lack of analysis of knowledge that there is closure.

Or better still, you can “analyze” what you 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 is knowledge (when it’s not knowledge) and simply reinforce “truth” of what you believe (bias confirmation) or just add volume to the muck of what you believe is fact.

What we mean by closure is that new knowledge based on analysis of facts (existing “knowledge”?) or even the willingness to consider facts outside your echo chamber is non-existent or seriously (willfully) inhibited.

With epistemic closure, when there is cognitive dissonance, people “resolve” the dissonance in favor of what fits the narrative they want to believe or that fits within what they think they “know.”

The existence of “death panels” was a shining example. Without critical evaluation of facts (like actually reading the bill), you hear “death panels” from a demagogue; and no amount of presenting facts works to dissuade you from believing such a thing exists. It echoes well with both what you want to believe and what you think it fits “logically” into what you think you “know.”

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Understanding epistemic closure

Re: Epistemic closure comes back to haunt the GOP

Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion, or what we call “knowledge.” Epistemic has to do with knowledge or the degree to which to which we validate it.

When you limit what constitutes truth, even the possibility of truth, or where truth can be found, you have closed off an important part of how we gain knowledge. This is bias.

When you use ways of thinking that don’t follow implications (what is logically implied by honestly evaluating how one thing leads to another or what needs to be true for something to exist [entails]), you have effectively created an echo chamber.

Now imagine the combination. Most often what happens with his system of thought is you rationalize away a possible truth (cognitive dissonance) because it doesn’t fit what you want to believe (bias) by either distorting the implications to fit your bias or denying it outright.

This is epistemic closure.  You have built a seal around what you allow yourself to know.

Our Weakness for Agnotology

We typically think of ignorance as the absence of knowledge or education. In fact, it can be the opposite: “knowledge” that is founded on untrue information. It is what you believe is knowledge, when in actuality it was false information designed to resist the scrutiny of provable or proven fact. The resistance comes as a function of how deeply it is believed to be true: the more strongly we believe it, the more we resist data that disproves it. Cognitive Dissonance.

Meet Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association: « If HIV caused AIDS, Magic Johnson would be dead. Doesn’t even look sick to me. How about you? »

Doubt anyone?

Agnotology is the manufacture of ignorance by cognitively structuring misinformation to represent reality to support a desired narrative. Agnotology is « culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.»

For example, as Wikipedia has recorded, the tobacco industry’s constant barrage of misinformation to create what would henceforth be mistaken for actual knowledge within the culture: the doubt about cancer risk in smoking.

If you are a medical scientist, you know HIV causes AIDS because you have investigated all the invisible micro & macro factors that Joe the Plumber cannot see by simply staring at the surface of a person’s body.  You know how smoking harms the lungs and cancers develops.

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Can You Advocate Violence & Not Mean It?

Words have impact, especially on non-critical-thinking hordes & minions. People with aggressive tendencies (whether overt or just in their daydreams) are particularly susceptible. Rhetoric that borrows from the vocabulary of violence & war BREEDS thoughts of violence in these same hordes.

I often bring up how the words one chooses to convey or understand his world are from a vocabulary that aligns with how one thinks about his world.  If you believe that time comes in finite chunks and time you dedicate to yourself is holy, then giving up that time is “sacrifice.”  It’s a “frame,” a way of thinking.  Like a box.  If you’re thinking something is a war (your frame), you’ll refer to that thing in warlike terms.  And you can pass that frame along.

You cannot say “we don’t advocate violence” but imply armed conflict if you don’t get your way, blatantly say the opposition (the Left) is preparing for armed conflict against you (the Right), use images and frames of war and violence, and speak in terms of revolution.  If you do these things, you ARE advocating violence by framing your message (and, therefore, the solutions) in terms of violence. Continue reading

Alien Rhetoric

I have not happened upon a formula that can be employed in argumentation (where persuasion is a primal motive) to influence my fellow arguer’s position or thinking process to a degree that has apparent instant and lasting effects. This is not really as important to me as being able to detect that I have reached my fellow in a meaningful and positive way. I’ve been pondering this more or less since forever, but not syllogistically or systematically. Not that this note will be syllogistic or systematic, but I hope the stream of thought will be refinable and productive toward uncovering the imagined formula. Imagined because I can conjure scenarios in my head about wonderful, edifying, fallacy-free exchanges of ideas (that don’t attack the other’s character); but these scenarios always rely on an assumed level of relatively balanced Continue reading