Let’s talk about Epistemology.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Epistemology is the study of “knowledge and justified belief.” How can you know that you know something? What things (if any) must be true to give you confidence that when CNN/Fox/MSNBC reports something, it’s actually true. It helps answer questions such as…
Is Lebron James actually a Laker? Perhaps he’s not. Follow my logic with me.
- I sat down on the couch, ESPN was on, the headline read something like “Lebron to the Lakers”
- I did not question that he was in fact now a Laker, but rather I thought about what I felt about him being a Laker
- I believe to know that Lebron is a Laker because ESPN said so
- I trust ESPN for 2 reasons:
- I personally and don’t know anyone else that ESPN has lied to
- ESPN has a lot of reasons to not lie mostly because their success (financially and reputation which is tied very closely to their financial) depends on people believing that their content is true to what really happened
***NOTE: at this point, all that we can feel certain about is that ESPN has not let me or anyone else that I know of down. Like UVA being the 1st #1 seed to fall this past March, could this be the 1st time that I’m aware of in which ESPN has lied/deceived its consumers?
So, because I trust ESPN due to their track record of truthfulness and the fact that a major reason why they’ve made a ton of $ and made a huge impact on society today is due to the good business “principle” which is that most successful companies since creation adhered however intentionally or not to the idea that part of what keeps people coming back to your product/service is that your content describes/conforms to reality; therefore, I do believe that Lebron is in fact a Laker…but why does this principle seem to be true? Just like if you don’t like the rise of strikeouts and homeruns in MLB, don’t buy a ticket. I think it all comes back to people value truth. So, my question in later content is…why?? Why does it seem that forever people have significantly valued truthfulness whether it’s a businesses or your friend’s, it matters to us.
But, in conclusion…
I believe Lebron to be a Laker because I’ve never known ESPN to lie and this weird but seemingly true cultural value which likes content that conforms to reality.
It’s just so interesting thinking about why we believe “unquestionable” things like whether or not what ESPN puts out can be trusted. Another “rule” simply based on observation seems to be that it takes almost no time to lose a reputation (however big). All of these sexual misconduct scandals come to mind. It’s unfortunate in a way because of the “rule” that for those that do truly desire and change their ways/clean up their act, there will be time in which they’ve “changed,” but it takes more time than is in fact accurate to rebuild their reputation to match their actions, so people’s perception of them is not true. Where might this “lag time” be adversely affecting how you see the world?
- I’m assuming that how I defined Epistemology is true/correct. This rests on the fact that I trust Stanford as a source. I’m above-average confident that Stanford can be trusted because of their reputation. This! would be a fascinating conversation. I’m confident in Stanford’s reputation because I worked in Admissions at Wake Forest University and those people, people closer to sources such as US News & World Report college rankings, ascribe a similar, in terms of degree, reputation to Stanford. The fascinating conversation would be: how do you contain an institution’s reputation? Like, how in the world can you describe in as full a way as possible something that’s so inanimate? Email me (email@example.com) if you’d like to discuss this very question on my podcast.