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Is all 'knowledge' good?

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Eduk
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Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Eduk » November 2nd, 2018, 6:40 am

I was reading a post by Steve3007 where he said
I don't think the words of people like that should be sanitised. I think those words and similar ones in previous posts should stay there, with the byline of their author clearly visible, for as long as this website exists. I think such words should be seen by as many people as possible.
And I was wondering is this true? Should these words be seen?
For example there is a film called irreversible. There is an extremely violent and realistic scene which I won't go into detail. Am I improved for having seen this? It is certainly irreversible.
By the way I am not suggesting censorship. I am suggesting simply not reading rubbish. For example after the first few weeks of Mr Trumps' presidency I avoided everything to do with him. Both everything he has written/said and everything written about him. Of course it's everywhere so I am not 100% successful but personally I feel much better for not having him as a part of my life. Again, just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that Trump should be censored, only that no one should bother to read anything he says or anything anyone writes about him.
Oh and this isn't about Trump, that was just one easy example.
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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Alias » November 2nd, 2018, 9:25 pm

The post is not really the title question.
Knowledge has no moral value: it simply is. Good if you find it helpful, useful, enlightening or pleasant; bad if misused it or it does harm.
Eduk wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 6:40 am
Should these words be seen?
Yes, I think they should be available for seeing by anyone who cares to look. Not in-your-face, but available. If there is an unalterable record of someone's words, they can't credibly disown those words. That's what Trump does. If you heard him yesterday, you know he's lying today. (Yes, I realize that in his case, this knowledge is neither enlightening nor practical and it's a long way past amusing, but seeing and hearing might have convinced some people to vote against him, so maybe not altogether wasted.)
For example there is a film called irreversible. There is an extremely violent and realistic scene which I won't go into detail. Am I improved for having seen this? It is certainly irreversible.
That's unfortunate; I wish you had been forewarned to avoid watching that. Actually, there is a significant difference between written word and cinema, in psychological effect and memory retention. Witnessing sight and sound at real-life tempo, leaves a longer, deeper impression than than hearing or reading about the same incident. But I'm not sure a movie counts as knowledge.
By the way I am not suggesting censorship.
Why not? I realize that the power to censor has been so abused as to become anathema, but let's bring some common sense to the subject. We all exercise censorship individually, at least on behalf of our young children, and collectively in regard to threats, incitement to riot, racist propaganda, the protection of state, organization and trade secrets, personal privacy --- It's a matter of kind and degree.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Hereandnow » November 2nd, 2018, 11:29 pm

"Knowledge has no moral value: it simply is."

Are you serious?? Ask Foucault.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Alias » November 3rd, 2018, 12:01 am

Hereandnow wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 11:29 pm
Ask Foucault.
Ask him what?

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Hereandnow » November 3rd, 2018, 9:19 am

Ask him about knowledge and power. Not the 2+2=4 knowledge (though you would be seriously challenged to give something like this foundational justification) which is vacuous, but meaningful empirical knowledge claims that issue from the scientific community. These are given to us through established social structures. They do not arrive to us in the classroom clear and free of bias. They are inherently biased, for the knowledge claim becomes removed from a fully contextualized world only be abstraction.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Alias » November 3rd, 2018, 12:30 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
November 3rd, 2018, 9:19 am
Ask him about knowledge and power. Not the 2+2=4 knowledge (though you would be seriously challenged to give something like this foundational justification) which is vacuous, but meaningful empirical knowledge claims that issue from the scientific community. These are given to us through established social structures. They do not arrive to us in the classroom clear and free of bias. They are inherently biased, for the knowledge claim becomes removed from a fully contextualized world only be abstraction.
In what way is any of that relevant to the OP?
I suppose if Eduk had wanted Foucault's opinion, he would have bypassed this forum.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Hereandnow » November 3rd, 2018, 8:51 pm

Well, Alias, the remark was directed at your statement and out of the context of the OP. But it has significant relevance to the latter, however: The realism of the film Eduk brings up, and the Trumpian reality that is a media phenomenon that does "irreversible" damage to one's (the public's) thoughts and feelings about what is decent and proper (that is how I take this); these go to the question of how these standards of moral propriety do and do not serve the interests of the nation's people, and if such questions have any place here at all. Foucault thinks that such a question about prevailing standards is always about the presence of some powerful institution that propagates values. Here, I think it is about the money to be made through sensationalizing things that are sordid and morally repugnant. Eduk's objection is to why such things are given to tempt us into a degenerate state of mind (as I read the post), and the answer lies in the power structures that authorize it, encourage it, endorse it, all for the love of money. Capitalism is, as a concept, free of moral thinking, and the business mentality likewise.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Alias » November 3rd, 2018, 9:47 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
November 3rd, 2018, 8:51 pm
. Eduk's objection is to why such things are given to tempt us into a degenerate state of mind (as I read the post), and the answer lies in the power structures that authorize it, encourage it, endorse it, all for the love of money.
Oh. I thought it was about whether to keep or delete an objectionable post on a locked thread.
Sorry, I must be on the forum.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Hereandnow » November 3rd, 2018, 11:06 pm

Oh, I see. It was a response to another post. I just read what Eduk wrote. But then, if you don't find foucault interesting, as opposed to this trifling, that's your business. Alas.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Greta » November 3rd, 2018, 11:28 pm

Eduk wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 6:40 am
I was reading a post by Steve3007 where he said
By the way I am not suggesting censorship.

... Again, just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that Trump should be censored, only that no one should bother to read anything he says or anything anyone writes about him.

Oh and this isn't about Trump, that was just one easy example.
The good news is that this forum has achieved what Trump and co have just five more years to achieve - a dictatorship.

Like any dictator, I prefer to treat rules as guidelines and largely use an ad hoc approach that suits me :). Since I started on the forum to chat rather than administer, I like to ignore forum roles and just talk turkey. Thus, the vast majority of post deletions stem from reports made by other users. Most users expect a bit of "noise" here and there, just as long as there aren't long tracts of content-free rhetoric and pointless ill will.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Alias » November 4th, 2018, 1:01 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
November 3rd, 2018, 11:06 pm
Oh, I see. It was a response to another post. I just read what Eduk wrote. But then, if you don't find foucault interesting, as opposed to this trifling, that's your business. Alas.
It's not a question of who finds whom interesting, or who considers what trifling - it's a question of appropriate subject matter to the current venue; staying on topic; keeping one's eye on the present ball; responding to what's being asked in this time-zone at these co-ordinates, etc.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Hereandnow » November 4th, 2018, 3:17 pm

Ok, then I'll play: If you accept censorship on the part of the parent ("it's a matter of degree" you argue), but think the general public is, I assume by your thoughts above, better than children in applying well reasoned thinking the issues plainly stated, unedited and uncensored, I believe you should reconsider: it is a "matter of degree" with these as well. Absolute freedom of speech is a dangerous thing in the hands of a citizenry as morally arbitrary as ours if we are being effectively propagandized away from a foundational set o f values that defend, among others, freedom of speech. In other words, if the playing field becomes ripe with the fruits of the freedom to lie, dissemble, exaggerate, and the like, freedom becomes dangerous, for in this case, it serves the interests of what has become a utility for the powerful to exploit the least advantaged; at least, this is what is happening now.

Foucault understood that power always already is embedded knowledge, and this knowldge could be for "good," e.g. the power that sits with socially liberal concepts, or for oppression, as with the traditional taboo on sexual freedom (Foucault was very gay). Such matters of what is good and what is not remain a mystery, but someone like myself would argue the arguments for socially liberal concepts are an easy win.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Alias » November 4th, 2018, 8:12 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
November 4th, 2018, 3:17 pm
Ok, then I'll play: If you accept censorship on the part of the parent ("it's a matter of degree" you argue)
I used parental vigiliance as one example of censorship as practiced in the private sphere.
but think the general public is I assume by your thoughts above, better than children in applying well reasoned thinking the issues plainly stated, unedited and uncensored,

There is no such thing as "the general public". There are individual persons. Children are not all the same level of maturity, and adults are not all the same level of intellectual capacity; nor are all people in similar emotional condition all the time. Another example of private censorship would be the withholding of a hurtful opinion from sensitive people, or waiting for a more propitious moment to deliver bad news. Everyone with a bit of consideration and common sense uses judgment in what to say when, what to show whom, when to remain silent.
I believe you should reconsider: it is a "matter of degree" with these as well.
Degree, type, reason, venue, medium, timing, yes.
But you've shifted from the private to the public. Agents of information dissemination have responsibilities - to the polity, to their professional standard, to the law, to their regulating authority. Governments have their own rules - as I also mentioned.
Absolute freedom of speech is a dangerous thing
Also impossible. Any absolute is impossible. Social animals set limits on the individual freedom of their members in action and expression, for the sake of stability in the group. This is understood as part of the bargain: you get the support and protection of the group and accept the limits imposed by whatever the social organization happens to be. Yes, the degree of control varies greatly from one social structure to another.
All governments forbid - and severely punish - the revelation of military secrets; they all have some laws against publishing some other kinds of information, against false alarms, threats, blackmail, incitement and so on. Degrees, yes, vary. But there is always some censorship.
It's no use being allergic to the word.
in the hands of a citizenry as morally arbitrary as ours if we are being effectively propagandized away from a foundational set o f values that defend, among others, freedom of speech. In other words, if the playing field becomes ripe with the fruits of the freedom to lie, dissemble, exaggerate, and the like, freedom becomes dangerous, for in this case, it serves the interests of what has become a utility for the powerful to exploit the least advantaged; at least, this is what is happening now.
That's not a matter of freedom and mutually agreed limits to freedom; that's about the corruption of an organization.
Foucault understood that power always already is embedded knowledge, and this knowldge could be for "good," e.g. the power that sits with socially liberal concepts, or for oppression, as with the traditional taboo on sexual freedom (Foucault was very gay). Such matters of what is good and what is not remain a mystery, but someone like myself would argue the arguments for socially liberal concepts are an easy win.
There is no escape from the values of one's culture; nor can any culture shake off its history. Deciding on the degree of liberty for individuals inside an organization is never complete: it's a continuing debate, a constant negotiation. There is always a force that wants to impose itself on aspect of its subjects' lives; there is always a radical opposition that wants to shed all constraint; there is a faction in the middle that supports control, a faction that advocates liberty; a centrist group that keeps trying to maintain balance between the two.

Anyway, there are many different categories of knowledge, and of information and of communication. Can't make one rule fit them all.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Eduk » November 5th, 2018, 4:15 am

Actually I guess this post is less about whether every post is worth reading, which it obviously isn't, and more about what to do about it.
Some people seem to be suggesting censorship?
Other people aim to educate?
I am minded of the 'you can bring a horse to water' proverb.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Hereandnow » November 5th, 2018, 10:22 am

Alias
There is no such thing as "the general public". There are individual persons. Children are not all the same level of maturity, and adults are not all the same level of intellectual capacity; nor are all people in similar emotional condition all the time. Another example of private censorship would be the withholding of a hurtful opinion from sensitive people, or waiting for a more propitious moment to deliver bad news. Everyone with a bit of consideration and common sense uses judgment in what to say when, what to show whom, when to remain silent.
I don't like generalizations either. But that is what policy does, and when it comes to censorship, say, on this forum, generalized mentality of the posters has to be considered, which is why the likes of Dashchund should never be censored, or anyone else for that matter: these are people interested in understanding issues at the basic level, and the varieties of crude thinking that has an impact on the less thoughtful has limited appreciation here. But I would take the matter to things that have a broader audience, and adults, many of them, maybe half or more, have a hard time with discerning judgment. What policy do we have for them, one fashioned for a child or for a thoughtful person? If the decision rests with age, which is competence-arbitrary, then we are stuck with a lot of people with a child's judgment who are exposed to a veritable jungle of wildly diverging ideas that encourage the worst sentiments, the worst attitudes, the worst dispositions to think and vote. I'm no Platonist on this, but there is only one solution, and that is massive liberal education, that is, we should all be philosopher kings.
That's not a matter of freedom and mutually agreed limits to freedom; that's about the corruption of an organization
Here I differ, for from whence does a a corrupt organization get its validation, its funding, its public voice? from people who are convinced of its mission, and this comes from what the Greeks called sophistry, making the weaker argument seem the stronger. It is the freedom to lie and caste the lie in reason friendly terms to create the appearance of a strong case. This is, as we are witnessing now, exacerbated by a style of living and working that already accepts lying as a common and acceptable practice, which is commercialism, the corruption inherent in the free market. Donald Trump flourishes here, all in the name of free speech.

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