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Saturday, August 6, 2022

Anthony Magnabosco and street epistemology

This post is a collection of quotes from Anthony Magnabosco in a presentation in 2021 with the Dutch Skeptic Society titled What is (And Why Do) Street Epistemology. The video for this presentation can be found at this link. I recommend listening to the presentation. There are 8 quotes listed below chronologically.


1. "I want to talk a little about how we usually interact when we're having conversations with people with whom we disagree. What do we usually we do? ...we tend to give people facts because we found them convincing... we usually will debate them, give them facts that we found convincing with the idea that they will find it convincing too, and it doesn't usually work that way. This typically leads to argumentation and sometimes even ridicule. And as you have probably have experienced this doesn't help a person reflect on their views or even change their mind." (4:04)


2. "In street epistemology, we're not so much interested in what you know; we're interested in why you think you know it. What process did you use to come to your conclusion?" (5:21)


3. "Most of the conversations where people are using street epistemology are organic, they just happen with family and friends, or maybe a stranger. But they usually naturally arise as opposed to being initiated on the street." (5:54)


4. "In street epistemology we're largely asking questions. We try to hold back on telling people what our views are or what we think their view should be." (6:39)


5. "We want to get to the person's 'epistemology', or how we're using the word: how the person concluded that their reasons are good enough for thinking something is true." (7:21)


6. "So when I talk about the 'what', this is their claim, this is the level of confidence that their claim is true, and then any definitions of words. So if they do say 'karma', I want to understand what they mean by that word." (8:38)


7. "Here's a little tip. When somebody gives a reason... for thinking that their claim is true, make sure that that really is their reason. And you can ask them something like 'if that reason could be shown to your satisfaction that its not a good reason, would you be less confident that your claim was true'. Its a really great question to figure out if you're talking about a reason that contributes to their level of confidence." (9:11)


8. "I think its also a good way to develop more careful thinkers. We see a lot of reckless thinking these days and its a real problem. And I've noticed that street epistemology has really helped the people on the receiving end of my conversations be more careful in their thinking and me as a result too." (11:48)