Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Epistemic closure

Did you hear the one about epistemic closure?

I find this little introduction, in the NYTimes online at

"The phrase is being used as shorthand by some prominent conservatives for a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement, a development they see as debasing modern conservatism’s proud intellectual history. First used in this context by Julian Sanchez of the libertarian Cato Institute, the phrase “epistemic closure” has been ricocheting among conservative publications and blogs as a high-toned abbreviation for ideological intolerance and misinformation.
Conservative media, Mr. Sanchez wrote at — referring to outlets like Fox News and National Review and to talk-show stars like Rush Limbaugh, Mark R. Levin and Glenn Beck — have “become worryingly untethered from reality as the impetus to satisfy the demand for red meat overtakes any motivation to report accurately.” (Mr. Sanchez said he probably fished “epistemic closure” out of his subconscious from an undergraduate course in philosophy"
Funny they should mention the National Review, where you can read a critique of Epistemic closure as represented (according to the reviewer) in "Mark Levin’s massive bestseller Liberty and Tyranny". But then, "Many of Mr. Manzi’s colleagues attacked him for his takedown of Mr. Levin." (says the NYTimes review).

The NR "The Corner" review is at

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