Learning for yourself requires attention to disagreement, and suspension of judgment (epoché)

I wrote this tonight in response to someone equating the unmooring-from-reality of reptilian-conspiracist Icke-followers with sound money activists (End-the-Fed and Paul boosters), someone whose dismissal of the Austrian economists indicated he didn’t know a thing about them besides a number of falsehoods. But, I think it’s a point worth sharing more generally:

Certainly, it’s easier to think you have a clue about a subject when you only read a limited set of views, or people you already agree with, instead of some of the many others who disagree. It’s easier to presume they’re all clueless, crazy, weird, or poorly educated, instead, without actually finding out.

Reliable knowledge is obtained by admitting that disagreement is not indicative of stupidity. Learning is a process that occurs not when we absorb information like a sponge, but when we allow ourselves to consider other points of view by taking them seriously on a provisional basis, and attempt to sort out and reconcile contradictions and disconnects. Otherwise, everyone will continue to defend whatever points of view about a subject were first imparted to them, no matter how skewed, or incomplete.

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