24 April 2010

Epistemic Closure

looks like the left has a new catch phrase...

so anyway, it's been less than 48 hours since the left side of the pundit-sphere started this whole "epistemic closure" meme and I'm already sick of it. Noel over at Cold Fury sums it up:

"Obama has a version of this shopworn liberal favorite, as well. He’s quite fond of decreeing that ‘the tired, old arguments of yesterday are over’–oh, and by the way, they were all resolved in his favor. How convenient!

It is a pre-emptive dismissal; “Sit down and shut-up, conservatives; your opinions are old, unnecessary and illegitimate.” Or, condensed: “I won.” Which is a funny kind of “open-mindedness” when–and if–you think about it." (emphasis mine)

Expect to hear this phrase repeated ad nauseum for the next week, or until some lefty pundit thumbs through a thesaurus to find the next "new" word or phrase and puts out the talking points memo.

I have a challenge for Stephen "VodkaPundit" Green and PJTV's Hair of the Dog team: count the number of times the phrase "epistemic closure" is used during the Sunday talking head shows. Anyone want to start an over / under pool on how many times the phrase is used?

more soon


At 24 April, 2010 14:14, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll see if I can keep a count of this new catch-phrase. might be fun :)

At 25 April, 2010 00:16, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate to stomp on your dreams, but I'll force myself.

The "epistemic closure" did not start in the left blogosphere, but with Julian Sanchez, a libertarian blogger affiliated with the Reason foundation.

And, it has nothing to do with rejection of the other side's arguments. If you read Sanchez, he was quite specific: it is the tendency for those in a movement to believe and listen information only from sources that are part of their own movement.

All movements devolve in that direction, to some point, but it has become particularly acute among modern American conservatives.

So, Sanchez argued, the right listens only to the right, and dismisses all other sources of information and opinion. And that allows them to continue to believe and promote such fantastical beliefs as the non-citizenship of our president, the creation of death panels in the the health care bill, and the certainty that Acorn organized voter fraud sufficient to tilt the 2010 election.

Because all information sources from outside "the bubble" are discounted and disdained, the movement begins to occupy its own self-contained universe, in which the presentation of factual information is discounted because it's not from one of the elected.

That's epistemic closure.

And, as it happens, the vast majority of the discussion of the topic is in the center-right (i.e. among non-movement conservatives): E.g. Meghan McCardle, David Frum, Noah Millman, Conor Friedersdorf, etc.

At 04 May, 2010 10:41, Anonymous Noel said...

"And, as it happens, the vast majority of the discussion of the topic is in the center-right (i.e. among non-movement conservatives): E.g. Meghan McCardle, David Frum, Noah Millman, Conor Friedersdorf, etc."

Thus proving that the Right is open-minded.

As to the general point, limousine liberals consider themselves open-minded by definition, as they drive through fly-over country with the windows up.

Or is it 'fly over drive-through country with the windows down'? Either way. I'm open-minded like that.

At 31 May, 2010 10:26, Blogger Jersey McJones said...

Even if epistemic closure does refer to the finalizing of an argument before it is ended, the argument is ended! Modern American conservatism, for the past thirty years, has been an unmitiagted failure in every conceivable way! I can't think of anything good that's come of it! Supply-side economics, in a demand side economy, where the wealthy take far less risk than the non-wealthy, is a failure! Our nation is worse for it, no matter how you look at it. Deregulation has devolution have led to more corruption, more white-collar crime, less acountability. Period. The president is right. That's not a matter of epistemic closure. That's just bare-faced fact.



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