(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Wise Old Goat

It can be comforting to do your own research even if that research is flawed. It feels good to be the wise old goat in a flock of sheep.

Maggie Koerth-Baker, “Why Rational People Buy into Conspiracy Theories,” (NYT, May 21, 2013)

This in discussing the psychological factors involved with conspiracism. Cassam, in a seeming corollary to this, asserts: “It’s important not to fall into the trap of thinking that what counts as good evidence is a subjective matter.”

On a personal note, the passage is a good reminder that logic and its requisite labors (i.e., research) are not vacuum-sealed from the vagaries of human nature. Logic is an abstract, but its application is always embedded psychologically, ideologically, culturally… As such, its application is subject, as Koerth-Baker suggests, with emotion. It can feel good to practice logic, to perform research, to make connections, to be “intellectual.” But feeling good, even satisfied, about it does not prove in itself that you are doing it correctly, ethically, or reasonably.


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This entry was posted on August 16, 2015 by and tagged .
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