Yale, Blair, and DeRose

Just saw today that Tony Blair will be on the faculty at Yale. Too bad it wasn’t earlier, when attending to Keith’s contextualism (or the pragmatic encroachers more generally, such as John and Jason) could have done some good. Think about the epistemology behind charges about possession of WMD’s. Apparently, Blair and Bush didn’t get the point about Keith’s high and low stakes bank case, and didn’t appreciate the significance of Jason’s motto that the more you care, the less you know.

Not that we defenders of the pristine purity of central items of our subdiscipline, unsullied by practical concerns, would come to a different conclusion. We would have just pointed out the idiocy of the following inference: apparently if you look long enough and hard enough and find nothing, they must be hiding something–something really really big! But there’s something neat about applied epistemology in service of responsible government. Maybe Keith will convert Blair, who will then spread the news in the UK…

I can hear Obama now, “In matters of foreign policy and the kind of intelligence community we need, I endorse the DeRosian approach: the more it matters, the harder it is to correctly say you know…” 🙂


Comments

Yale, Blair, and DeRose — 6 Comments

  1. “Apparently if you look long enough and hard enough and find nothing, they must be hiding something–something really really big.”

    Do you really think they actually believe this inference? Is it not rather something they say just to persuade those people who are idiots? I think they employ whichever argument is useful to achieve their goals.

  2. “didn’t appreciate the significance of Jason’s motto that the more you care, the less you know”

    But of course, at least some where sensitive to this because as we know

    There are known knowns.
    There are things we know we know.
    We also know
    There are known unknowns.
    That is to say
    We know there are some things
    We do not know.
    But there are also unknown unknowns,
    The ones we don’t know
    We don’t know.

    From the collected poetry of DH Rumsfeld

  3. “There are known knowns.
    There are things we know we know.
    We also know
    There are known unknowns.
    That is to say
    We know there are some things
    We do not know.
    But there are also unknown unknowns,
    The ones we don’t know
    We don’t know.”

    Apart from the cleaning up the language he uses to replace knowns with something like facts in some places and his the line (we know we know) might be a strong version Rumsfeldian internalism that I’d probably disagree with I just can’t much to disagree with here. But perhaps my Rumsfeldian exegesis is somewhat lacking.

  4. A cleaner comment; hit submit accidentally:

    “There are known knowns.
    There are things we know we know.
    We also know
    There are known unknowns.
    That is to say
    We know there are some things
    We do not know.
    But there are also unknown unknowns,
    The ones we don’t know
    We don’t know.”

    Apart from cleaning up the language he uses to replace knowns with something like facts in some places and his line (we know we know) could be a strong version Rumsfeldian internalism that I’d probably disagree with I just can’t find much to disagree with here. But perhaps I’m missing something or perhaps my Rumsfeldian exegesis is somewhat lacking.

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