Thursday, August 14, 2008

Damn, People Are Smart #2

I keep returning to my "belief" project--it's something that's occupied at least a little part of my mind for a decade--and I've even gone so far as to request an information packet from OU's philosophy department so I could work on the material more formally (and, let's face it, more competently). The more I wander about the internet, engaging with aspects of my idea, the more I find that really smart people have been touching on elements of it already, and touching on them in a way that could prove really helpful to me.

At EotAW last week there was a discussion of truth and lies in politics, prompted by McCain's pathetic attack ads and the Obama campaign's more dignified response. In the comments, a guy named Matt Weiner, who's an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Texas Tech University, linked to a post he'd written a few years ago about the practical and ethical implications of lying. It's great stuff, and I'm encouraged by his final paragraph:
The idea of a social epistemic responsibility is a pretty big one that could use some more working out, but I remain somewhat optimistic that we can establish a sense in which someone who tells falsehoods shouldn't be believed.
I'm not terribly interested in the last part--I don't care too much for the notion of "should"--but social epistemic responsibility (as it relates to one's obligations regarding formation, investigation, and expression of beliefs) is a great starting point for me.

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