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Is all 'knowledge' good?

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Hereandnow
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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Hereandnow » November 5th, 2018, 10:36 am

Eduk:
ctually 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.
When it comes to free speech here in this forum, I have no problem with any idea that is duly defended, or at least there is the resemblance of a defense; or is interesting and intellectually provocative (don't want to get restrictive, after all, minds should be largely left alone to explore, or just wander through ideas. I don't appreciate the call to get thematically back on track very much. If someone says something interesting and something else not so much, then go with what is interesting, and hang the intent of the OP). Most of the "horses" here are thoughtful ones, bound to inquire and understand.
But when it comes to people in general, censorship and education does become an issue of a different nature altogether.

Remember Skinner in Beyond Freedom and Dignity: we are, all of us, conditioned. Why not ensure that we are conditioned properly? Hate the sound of that? So do I, but then, I was conditioned to despise authoritative control, dogmatic insistence.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Steve3007 » November 5th, 2018, 11:42 am

Eduk wrote: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.
That might be workable if you weren't talking about the president of the most economically and militarily powerful country on Earth. We can ignore him, just as we can ignore all of the News, if we please. When I've had enough of it I sometimes do. And, after listening to Radio 6 Music instead for a little while, I usually feel a lot better for it. But, I suppose, as a citizen of an approximate democracy, I probably have a duty to try to keep at least reasonably well informed. So I have to keep up, if only just a iittle bit, with what the influential people are saying and doing.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Eduk » November 5th, 2018, 12:02 pm

But, I suppose, as a citizen of an approximate democracy, I probably have a duty to try to keep at least reasonably well informed
Well I didn't want this to be about Trump. But I wasn't saying we should ignore him. I guess I have two points really.
1. Does the media actually inform? In my opinion it largely doesn't. Therefore by watching the news or reading the papers I don't feel more informed. Actually it's probably the opposite on balance. Certainly at this point I can't really imagine reading a story about Trump which was informative to me.
2. I can exert roughly zero influence on Trump. I feel like my efforts would be best placed elsewhere. For example I could wear a badge which said 'war is bad' but am I really influencing anything?
Unknown means unknown.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Hereandnow » November 5th, 2018, 12:12 pm

Influencing?? Yes! You learn, you know, you argue, influence others. I once knew a professor of Logic who resigned himself to the worthlessness of a single vote, so why vote? He didn't see that it is not a single vote if you share your vote with others. Even mentioning that you voted at all, reminds others to vote. But the opinion that is behind it that you are willing to share can make that single vote into a complex and influential phenomenon. I tell people how I vote and why. It becomes a form of activism.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Eduk » November 5th, 2018, 12:21 pm

Well regarding Trump I'm in the UK so it's not a vote I can make :)
I also have concerns about the blanket 'voting is good' and encouraging everyone to vote. I actually think this is harmful. All the major parties encourage everyone to vote so therefore logically it must be wrong to do so. Actually what we want to do is make an informed vote. But here I am still stuck as reputable political information is, as far as I can work out, something which doesn't exist.
I tell people how I vote and why. It becomes a form of activism.
This I like. I have done this also. Although I have so far been I am 49.9% against this party and 50.1% against this party because I am largely uninformed. So it's rarely been a good conversation. And even when I am informed it has, so far, proven to have no value.

For example during Brexit I made the argument that asking our government, which no trusts, to do something very complicated, which no believes they have the competency for, to do something they asked us not to ask them to do, it's rarely a good idea to employ someone to do something they don't want to do by the way, was almost certainly a bad idea, irrespective of the pros and cons of actually leaving the EU. This argument made no difference to anyone.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Steve3007 » November 5th, 2018, 12:48 pm

Eduk wrote:Well I didn't want this to be about Trump. But I wasn't saying we should ignore him. I guess I have two points really.
1. Does the media actually inform? In my opinion it largely doesn't. Therefore by watching the news or reading the papers I don't feel more informed. Actually it's probably the opposite on balance. Certainly at this point I can't really imagine reading a story about Trump which was informative to me.
2. I can exert roughly zero influence on Trump. I feel like my efforts would be best placed elsewhere. For example I could wear a badge which said 'war is bad' but am I really influencing anything?
1. The argument about accuracy in various sections of the media is a whole different topic. But "the media", in the widest possible sense of the term, is all we have to inform us of the state of affairs outside our own immediate lives. So, imperfect as it might be, I guess it's better than nothing. On watching the news and reading the papers (or their modern equivalents) I think I feel more informed than I would be if I didn't. Don't you?

2. You may not be able to exert any democratic influence on the leader of a powerful foreign country but it's still worth having some information on where he stands on various issues so that you can make decisions about your own country's leaders as a result of their relationship with and attitude towards him.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Alias » November 5th, 2018, 4:47 pm

Hereandnow wrote:
November 5th, 2018, 10:22 am
What policy do we have for them, one fashioned for a child or for a thoughtful person?
That's not up to me. Every site, like every work-place and family home, has a management - not an elected legislature.
[That - ie. the mangled metaphor to which this was a response is 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?
Still off-topic. The thread wasn't about Trump or the degradation of US democracy.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Eduk » November 6th, 2018, 4:22 am

Steve
1. Yes some information is a lot better than no information. I think though that for important decisions the media, alone, isn't enough.
2. I feel informed enough about Trump.

I am really arguing not that attention spent on the media and Trump has no value whatsoever but rather that more value can be gained elsewhere. A cursory glance at the headlines would be appropriate in my opinion.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Greta » November 6th, 2018, 5:14 pm

Eduk wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 4:22 am
... some information is a lot better than no information.
Although it can be a "dangerous thing".

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Eduk » November 6th, 2018, 5:48 pm

Good point Greta.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Greta » November 6th, 2018, 7:03 pm

As seen with much dodgy pseudoscience.

I did admin in a scientific institution for the best part of a decade so I have zero problem trusting scientists in their field. I would not trust many of them with admin, though, nor me :) However, when a scientists claim things, they aren't pulling web factoids out of their bums, but have formed their views after a depth of analysis that would be incomprehensible to others.

That's the price of specialisation - you have to trust because only the experts really know what they are talking about in their subject matter. This trust is what's broken down in the US and why the nation now appears to be sleepwalking its way towards partition.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Atreyu » November 6th, 2018, 7:16 pm

No, not all knowledge is "good". For knowledge to be "good", the person receiving it must be able to do something "good" with it. If the person cannot make use of the knowledge in any practical or positive way, then it cannot be said to be "good", and, in fact, it must be called "bad" if the person in question could only do something "bad" with that particular knowledge.

A good example might be teaching a 3 year old how to operate a machine gun. Only bad things could result from it.

Perhaps another example would be the knowledge of how to make a super bomb which could obliterate everyone on the planet instantly, although this might be debatable.

The point is that knowledge must be judged by any potential results of one receiving it, and this depends on the nature of the recipient in question. So the same knowledge can be good or bad depending on who is digesting it (or attempting to digest it)....

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Alias » November 7th, 2018, 1:14 pm

Atreyu wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 7:16 pm
No, not all knowledge is "good". For knowledge to be "good", the person receiving it must be able to do something "good" with it. If the person cannot make use of the knowledge in any practical or positive way, then it cannot be said to be "good", and, in fact, it must be called "bad" if the person in question could only do something "bad" with that particular knowledge.
So, you don't differentiate between the properties of a datum and the condition of its recipient. You treat "knowledge" as the function of a specific bit of information entering a specific brain at a specific time.
I suppose that function can be valuated objectively - but not by you or me.

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Atreyu » November 8th, 2018, 7:52 pm

Alias wrote:
November 7th, 2018, 1:14 pm
So, you don't differentiate between the properties of a datum and the condition of its recipient. You treat "knowledge" as the function of a specific bit of information entering a specific brain at a specific time.
I suppose that function can be valuated objectively - but not by you or me.
I was merely answering the question: "Is all 'knowledge' good?", and answering it does not require one to consider the definition of "knowledge" (as the OP denoted in quotes).

The point is that in considering whether or not all knowledge is "good", one must consider the practicality of having knowledge, in general.

For how could a certain knowledge be considered 'good' (in the moral or practical meaning of the term), if the end result of knowing it is something one would say is 'bad' or 'wrong' (again, morally or practically)?

Perhaps knowledge in general is 'good', since it can be used to do 'good' things, but not all knowledge.

For example, assuming no good argument can be made to wipe out all life on Earth, how could the knowledge or how to kill all life on Earth be considered 'good'?

Or, assuming we agree that some knowledge is better than no knowledge, how about the knowledge of how to wipe out all knowledge?.....

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Re: Is all 'knowledge' good?

Post by Alias » November 9th, 2018, 12:11 am

Atreyu wrote:
November 8th, 2018, 7:52 pm
I was merely answering the question: "Is all 'knowledge' good?", and answering it does not require one to consider the definition of "knowledge" (as the OP denoted in quotes).
I thought I needed a working definition to formulate an answer. I just wondered whether you had one.
For example, assuming no good argument can be made to wipe out all life on Earth, how could the knowledge or how to kill all life on Earth be considered 'good'?
Not sure about all life on earth, but if I wanted to prevent someone blowing up the post office, I would need to first anticipate how they would go about attempting it. Knowing how it could be done is a prerequisite.

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