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Very thought-provoking talk. I enjoyed reading it. A few questions:


<blockquote>For me, there are a few flags which might signal whether information is true or not. Firstly, does the claim seem reasonable? Secondly, does the claim require any of the natural laws of physics etc. to be broken in order for the claim to be true? Thirdly, does it come from a trustworthy source, i.e. peer reviewed studies, publications with a good track record, etc.? And fourthly, what does the claimant stand to gain from you accepting their claim as fact?</blockquote>

Here, I disagree that these things might signal whether or not a claim is true. I think you were trying to say that these things might be factors in the level of skepticism (be it cynicism or whatever) you ought to direct towards the claim, given the context of that sentence. I say that because especially the third and fourth 'flags' have no bearing on whether a claim is or isn't true. Have I got this right, or do you really mean that it can signal whether or not a claim is true?


You seem to put skepticism, cynicism and hyper-skepticism on a sliding scale, of increasing doubtfulness. We're to find the most appropriate point on that scale so that we're not too gullible but at the same time not living our lives without assenting to any claim at all. It seems that you think hyper-skepticism is always too far. Where do denialism and conspiracy theories fit into this picture? It seems to me that conspiracies have doubtful components (i.e. "I doubt that the government is telling the truth about 9/11") and credulous components (i.e. "the government rigged the WTC with controlled explosives"). With denialism, the approach seems to be towards particular claims like climate change or evolution, rather than a general approach of 'denialism' in the same way that you have 'hyper-skepticism'.


I'm not sure that hyper-skepticism is a very common position these days. Who did you have in mind when writing this? Hume? Berkeley? Pyrrho? (This isn't to claim that they were 'hyper-skeptics', with the exception of perhaps Pyrrho!) Or someone still with us?

1 year, 10 months ago on Hyper-Skepticism, Cynicism, Conspiracy Theory – Some More States of Disbelief


Great article.


<blockquote>If all we want is to feel self-righteous, and right, that’s fine. It is indeed good to know who the enemy is. But it’s also good to change the enemy’s mind, where possible, and it’s good to discover that someone you thought of as an enemy is actually simply a confused friend. Let’s be wary of making the latter two sorts of interaction impossible.</blockquote>


I agree with that, but there's also the possibility that you might change your own mind by arguing with the 'confused friends'/'enemies'. Debating and discussing isn't only about changing other people's minds, but seeking good reasons to change your own mind.

2 years, 8 months ago on Being Right Doesn’t Guarantee That You’re Not Wrong – By Jacques Rousseau