'...surely you’ll agree that our loss of epistemic empathy is a problem'


Only within the confines of a specific, and quite narrow, frame can this contention be formulated.

According to this frame, there was once an idealized (mythic, truth be told) arena of, dare I say, gentlemenly debate, where the concerns of the day were subjected to the crucible of informed discourse between interlocutors accorded mutual respect, in the spirit of open inquiry and shared purpose to improve the state of the polity. In the most important instances, individuals (those of merit, at least) could be relied upon to set aside their biases and petty interests, and engage in sound reasoning, all conscious and logical-like. Rational, even.

There's a catch, unfortunately. That proverbial fly in the ointment.

This frame, and with it the claim of status quo rationalism, have no basis in reality.

Never once in this society (nor any I'm acquainted with) has such an elysian realm existed, although this mythos of an intellectual paradise lost to the corrupt and base rantings of the hoi poloi (perhaps of the highly suspect postmodernist cohort) is popular among an oddly aggrieved band of otherwise highly privileged speakers.

Hidden motives abound in the efforts to pronounce rationalism victorious, hidden (ironically) even to many who most loudly proclaim its triumph. No ground is more fertile for motivated reasoning and self-deception than the mouldering soil of the rationalist project (except perhaps in the sandbox of Large Language Models):

"Self-serving beliefs can also be generated ad hoc through contrived cover stories, as shown by Kunda in a series of elegant demonstrations (Kunda 1990). In one case, subjects were asked to evaluate the credibility of a (fake) scientific study linking coffee consumption and breast cancer. Female subjects who also happened to be heavy coffee drinkers were especially critical of the study, and the least persuaded by the presented evidence. This is only a sample of the literature documenting how evidence consistent with the favoured hypothesis receives preferential treatment (Ditto & Lopez 1992; Dawson et al. 2002; Norton et al. 2004; Balcetis & Dunning 2006). Moreover, this phenomenon occurs largely outside of awareness (Kunda 1987; Pyszczynski & Greenberg 1987; Pronin et al. 2004). No one questions the reality of motivated reasoning or perception. The critical issue is whether motivational biases are sufficient to explain self-deception." (Mijovic-Prelec and Prelec, 2010) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2827460/)

For a comprehensive dismantling of the rationalist paradigm, and scrupulous history of the horrifying sociopolitcal products of the rationalist project, see Peter Sloterdijk's 'Critique of Cynical Reason'.

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Jul 5Liked by Kevin Dorst

Isn't thinking that Trump supporters are dumb and have been duped into supporting him *more charitable* than thinking they are intelligent and knowingly support his behavior and policies?

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