jueves, 1 de junio de 2023

Misinformation Is a Word We Use to Shut You Up. By DANIEL KLEIN


The policing of “information” is the stuff of Naziism, Stalinism, Maoism, and similar anti-liberal regimes. To repress criticism of their dicta and diktats, anti-liberals label criticism “misinformation” or “disinformation.” Those labels are instruments to crush dissent. 

This paper offers an understanding of knowledge as involving three chief facets: information, interpretation, and judgment. Usually, what people argue fervently over is not information, but interpretation and judgment. 

What is being labeled and attacked as “misinformation” is not a matter of true or false information, but of true or false knowledge—meaning that disagreement more commonly arises over interpretations and judgments as to which interpretations to take stock in or believe. We make judgments, “good” and “bad,” “wise” and “foolish,” about interpretations, “true” and “false.” 

On that understanding, the paper explains that the projects and policies now afoot styled “anti-misinformation” and “anti-disinformation” are dishonest, as it should be obvious to all that those projects and policies would, if advanced honestly, be called something like “anti-falsehood” campaigns.

But to prosecute an “anti-falsehood” campaign would make obvious the true nature of what is afoot—an Orwellian boot to stomp on Wrongthink. To support governmental policing of “information” is to confess one’s anti-liberalism and illiberality. The essay offers a spiral diagram to show the three chief facets of knowledge (information, interpretation, and judgment) plus a fourth facet, fact, which also deserves distinct conceptualization, even though the spiral reminds us: Facts are theory-laden.



Referencias: Appendix: Philosophical affinities

FWIW: My take on knowledge has affinities to the philosophizing of David Hume, Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Michael Polanyi, Thomas Kuhn, Iain McGilchrist, and many others. It also has affinities to the pragmatists William James and Richard Rorty, but I regard pragmatism—seeing one’s belief as the product of one’s choosing an idea among alternative ideas, and seeing the chosen idea’s betterness (compared to actual alternatives, not compared to the past or to hypotheticals) as necessarily the chief basis for what one shall count as true—as a phase situated on one side of a spiral, counterposed by, on the other side of the spiral, an alternate phase that we may call Humean natural belief. Humean natural belief is belief that has emerged from depths beyond the loop in which we pass between the two phases; Humean natural belief is, within that loop, not to be treated in terms of choice; it is what we would call, as we dwell within that loop, brute reality. To open such brute reality up to the pragmatist phase would mean acceding to another loop of the spiral. But the spiral is indefinite, with no first (or lower-most) loop and no final (or upper-most) loop, so certain brute realities at some loop or level remain brutish for any finite conversation. And all conversations are finite.

Selective References:

Burke, Edmund. 2022. Edmund Burke and the Perennial Battle, 1789–1797. Eds. D.B. Klein and D. Pino. CL Press. Link

Doctorow, Gilbert. 2023. The Western Media Disinformation Campaign: Fall of Bakhmut, a Case in Point. Gilbert Doctorow website. Link

Gurri, Martin. 2023. Disinformation Is the Word I Use When I Want You to Shut Up. Discourse, March 30. Link

Hume, David. 1994. Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary. Edited by Eugene F. Miller. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. Link

Iannaccone, Laurence. 1992. Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives. Journal of Political Economy 100(2): 271–291.

Klein, Daniel B. 2012. Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation. Oxford University Press. Link

Polanyi, Michael. 1963. The Study of Man. Chicago University Press.
Smith, Adam. 1982 [1790]. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Edited by D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie. Oxford University Press/Liberty Fund. Link

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