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You Think You Want Media Literacy… Do You? – Data & Society: Points
The funny thing about education is that we ask our students to challenge their assumptions. And that process can be enlightening.
media  literacy  pedagogy  epistemology 
2 days ago by wlanderson
Epistemic extremism – UseOfReason
Contra Internet ("shoe") atheism: I don't need to be able to prove a thing to you before I can rationally believe it.
philosophy  belief  epistemology  Atheism  proof 
5 days ago by pw201
Jean-René Ladmiral - an interdisciplinary anthropology ... - Meta - Érudit
Jean-René Ladmiral is a philosopher, linguist and Germanist, translator and theorist of translation. If he is known in the world of translation both as a translator and translator of German philosophy (especially Jürgen Habermas and the Frankfurt School, but also of Kant and Nietzsche), as a philosopher, he has worked on the epistemology of translation in an interdisciplinary perspective. More generally, the horizon of his research profiles an interdisciplinary anthropology of translation. In summoning the contribution of the psychological sciences, and particularly of psychoanalysis, he examines here the epistemological bases of research in translation studies.
translation  epistemology 
5 days ago by tonyyet
You Think You Want Media Literacy… Do You? – Data & Society: Points
For the last year, I’ve been struggling with media literacy. I have a deep level of respect for the primary goal. As Renee Hobbs has written, media literacy is the “active inquiry and critical thinking about the messages we receive and create.” The field talks about the development of competencies or skills to help people analyze, evaluate, and even create media. Media literacy is imagined to be empowering, enabling individuals to have agency and giving them the tools to help create a democratic society. But fundamentally, it is a form of critical thinking that asks people to doubt what they see. And that makes me nervous.

Most media literacy proponents tell me that media literacy doesn’t exist in schools. And it’s true that the ideal version that they’re aiming for definitely doesn’t. But I spent a decade in and out of all sorts of schools in the US, where I quickly learned that a perverted version of media literacy does already exist. Students are asked to distinguish between CNN and Fox. Or to identify bias in a news story. When tech is involved, it often comes in the form of “don’t trust Wikipedia; use Google.” ...

In 2017, sociologist Francesca Tripodi was trying to understand how conservative communities made sense of the seemingly contradictory words coming out of the mouth of the US President. Along her path, she encountered people talking about making sense of The Word when referencing his speeches. She began accompanying people in her study to their bible study groups. Then it clicked. Trained on critically interrogating biblical texts, evangelical conservative communities were not taking Trump’s messages as literal text. They were interpreting their meanings using the same epistemological framework as they approached the bible. Metaphors and constructs matter more than the precision of words....

We’re not living through a crisis about what is true, we’re living through a crisis about how we know whether something is true. We’re not disagreeing about facts, we’re disagreeing about epistemology. The “establishment” version of epistemology is, “We use evidence to arrive at the truth, vetted by independent verification (but trust us when we tell you that it’s all been independently verified by people who were properly skeptical and not the bosom buddies of the people they were supposed to be fact-checking).”
The “alternative facts” epistemological method goes like this: “The ‘independent’ experts who were supposed to be verifying the ‘evidence-based’ truth were actually in bed with the people they were supposed to be fact-checking. In the end, it’s all a matter of faith, then: you either have faith that ‘their’ experts are being truthful, or you have faith that we are. Ask your gut, what version feels more truthful?”...

Let’s be honest — most of us educators are deeply committed to a way of knowing that is rooted in evidence, reason, and fact. But who gets to decide what constitutes a fact? In philosophy circles, social constructivists challenge basic tenets like fact, truth, reason, and evidence. ...

In many Native communities, experience trumps Western science as the key to knowledge. These communities have a different way of understanding topics like weather or climate or medicine. Experience is also used in activist circles as a way of seeking truth and challenging the status quo. Experience-based epistemologies also rely on evidence, but not the kind of evidence that would be recognized or accepted by those in Western scientific communities....

Right now, the conversation around fact-checking has already devolved to suggest that there’s only one truth. And we have to recognize that there are plenty of students who are taught that there’s only one legitimate way of knowing, one accepted worldview. This is particularly dicey at the collegiate level, where us professors have been taught nothing about how to teach across epistemologies....

Many progressive activists ask whether or not the US government commits terrorism in other countries. The ads all came down because they were too political, but RT got what they wanted: an effective ad campaign. They didn’t come across as conservative or liberal, but rather a media entity that was “censored” for asking questions. Furthermore, by covering the fact that they were banned, major news media legitimized their frame under the rubric of “free speech.” Under the assumption that everyone should have the right to know and to decide for themselves....

In their book, “The Ambivalent Internet,”media studies scholars Whitney Phillips and Ryan Milner highlight how a segment of society has become so well-versed at digital communications — memes, GIFs, videos, etc. — that they can use these tools of expression to fundamentally destabilize others’ communication structures and worldviews. It’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fiction, what’s cruel and what’s a joke. But that’s the point. That is how irony and ambiguity can be weaponized. And for some, the goal is simple: dismantle the very foundations of elite epistemological structures that are so deeply rooted in fact and evidence....

Perhaps you want to encourage people to think critically about how information is constructed, who is paying for it, and what is being left out. Yet, among those whose prior is to not trust a news media institution, among those who see CNN and The New York Times as “fake news,” they’re already there. They’re looking for flaws. It’s not hard to find them. After all, the news industry is made of people in institutions in a society. So when youth are encouraged to be critical of the news media, they come away thinking that the media is lying. Depending on someone’s prior, they may even take what they learn to be proof that the media is in on the conspiracy. That’s where things get very dicey.

Many of my digital media and learning colleagues encourage people to make media to help understand how information is produced. Realistically, many young people have learned these skills outside the classroom as they seek to represent themselves on Instagram, get their friends excited about a meme, or gain followers on YouTube. Many are quite skilled at using media, but to what end? Every day, I watch teenagers produce anti-Semitic and misogynistic content using the same tools that activists use to combat prejudice....

One of the main goals for those who are trying to manipulate media is to pervert the public’s thinking. It’s called gaslighting. Do you trust what is real? One of the best ways to gaslight the public is to troll the media. By getting the news media to be forced into negating frames, they can rely on the fact that people who distrust the media often respond by self-investigating. This is the power of the boomerang effect. And it has a history. After all, the CDC realized that the more news media negated the connection between autism and vaccination, the more the public believed there was something real there....

when you start to empathize with worldviews that are toxic, it’s very hard to stay grounded. It requires deep cognitive strength. Scholars who spend a lot of time trying to understand dangerous worldviews work hard to keep their emotional distance. One very basic tactic is to separate the different signals. Just read the text rather than consume the multimedia presentation of that. Narrow the scope. Actively taking things out of context can be helpful for analysis precisely because it creates a cognitive disconnect. This is the opposite of how most people encourage everyday analysis of media, where the goal is to appreciate the context first. Of course, the trick here is wanting to keep that emotional distance. Most people aren’t looking for that.

I also believe that it’s important to help students truly appreciate epistemological differences. In other words, why do people from different worldviews interpret the same piece of content differently?... What’s common about the different approaches I’m suggesting is that they are designed to be cognitive strengthening exercises, to help students recognize their own fault lines, not the fault lines of the media landscape around them. I can imagine that this too could be called media literacy and if you want to bend your definition that way, I’ll accept it. But the key is to realize the humanity in ourselves and in others. We cannot and should not assert authority over epistemology, but we can encourage our students to be more aware of how interpretation is socially constructed. And to understand how that can be manipulated.
media_literacy  epistemology  pedagogy  propaganda 
7 days ago by shannon_mattern
How and why to study folk epistemology | OUPblog
Folk epistemology may be roughly characterized as the (mostly tacit) principles, presuppositions, and principles that involve epistemological notions such as knowledge, evidence, justification etc. Folk epistemological notions have not been as empirically well-studied as folk psychological notions such as belief, desire, and intention. Consequently, epistemologists and psychologists have until recently worked in relative isolation. As explained in On Folk Epistemology: How we think and talk about knowledge, the rapidly changing dynamic of the study of folk epistemology has raised methodological questions.
15 days ago by altoii
Conference Programme | Failure in the Archives
How do we respond to the resistance, or worse, the silences and gaps, that we find in the archives? Scholarship tends toward success stories, but this conference seeks presentations from a range of disasters that arise when navigating the depths of the archive: damaged, destroyed, mislabelled, misrepresented materials, forgeries, exaggerated significance, and gaps in the historical record. Overall, the experience of failure in the archive is truly interdisciplinary, skewing the warp and woof of close reading and big data alike, not to mention posing everyday problems for archivists and librarians working on the frontlines to make their collections accessible

We welcome proposals on any aspect of early modern archival work, manuscript or print, covering the period 1500-1750. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Materials which challenge cataloguing standards
Uncatalogued material – how to find it, how to access it, how to use it
Inaccurate cataloguing – tensions between past and present.
Broken or dispersed collections
Damaged, destroyed, or compromised collections
The ethics of maintaining archives
The ethics of archival research – especially when working with sensitive material
Absences and silences in the archive
Difficulties conserving and preserving materials
Conflicts of information between archival sources
Digitisation and its discontents
Agents in the archives: collectors, archivists, researchers
archives  silence  gaps  absences  epistemology  uncertainty 
18 days ago by shannon_mattern
Engaging Absence | Thomas Padilla
How might data driven scholarship be conducted in a manner that centers data absence?...

Amalia S. Levi shared Lauren Klein’s The Image of Absence: Archival Silence, Data Visualization, and James Hemings. With this piece, Lauren (1) demonstrates how Digital Humanities techniques can be used to address archival silence (2) and frames challenges that an archive of slavery poses for the Digital Humanities.

Scott Weingart referred to absence as, “more a creative wellspring than a lacuna”, and shared a concise presentation on Fidelity at Scale. Scott raised the notion of a workshop or conference focused on productive explorations of archival absence at scale. I am all in for that. I’d guess that others would be to.

Jer Thorp shared Mimi Onuoha’s On Missing Datasets. With this project, Onuoha calls attention to, “blank spots that exist in spaces that are otherwise data-saturated.” Onuoha is careful to emphasize that “missing” should be understood as, “a lack and an ought: [a space where] something does not exist, but … should.” Onuoha goes on to introduce social factors that can be used to understand why data might not be accounted for. It should come as no surprise that these factors are arrayed against the most vulnerable among us. As a speculative exercise in seeing what isn’t there, Onuoha provides “an incomplete list of missing datasets.”

Ryan Dunn introduced the work of Andy Kirk. Andy shared a presentation on The Design of Nothing. In this presentation Andy provides a principle driven exploration of how to produce data visualizations where, “what is not happening is just as relevant as what is“. It is a kaleidoscopic presentation.

Jacqueline Wernimont shared Morris Eaves The Editorial Void: Notes toward a Study of Oblivion. Eaves presents a lengthy discourse on how to work with a history that, “even in the best imaginable circumstances, comes down edited by the harsh disciplines of purposeful and accidental forces.”

Mitchell Whitelaw flagged the notion of “intrinsic / representative incompleteness” raised by Tim Sherratt’s Seams and edges: Dreams of aggregation, access & discovery in a broken world. In this piece, Sherratt works against the perception of a seamless experience on the web in order to help us see how various people, data, and systems come together to constitute it – an exercise in finding the seams.

Clemens Neudecker shared his and Alastair Dunning’s Representation and Absence in Digital Resources: The Case of Europeana Newspapers. Clemens and Alastair present challenges they encountered addressing absence in the context a large scale historic newspaper digitization effort. How might a user interface for newspapers visually represent absence? How might the user ascertain the representativeness of a subset of digitized newspapers relative to all known holdings – digitized and not digitized?

Cole Crawford and Karl Grossner both reminded me of the amazing work of Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA). CESTA tools like Breve and Palladio help users identify absence in data. This interaction also offered occasion to give a shoutout to Karl’s work with representation of indeterminate temporal data.
archives  interfaces  data  absences  erasure  uncertainty  epistemology 
19 days ago by shannon_mattern
Tech Envisions the Ultimate Start-Up: An Entire City - The New York Times
In the maddening gap between how this place functions and how inventors and engineers here think it should, many have become enamored with the same idea: What if the people who build circuits and social networks could build cities, too? Wholly new places, designed from scratch and freed from broken policies.

Mr. Huh leads a project begun by the start-up accelerator Y Combinator to explore the creation of new cities. Hundreds applied to work on what looked like “the ultimate full-stack start-up.” Last October, Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company, announced it would team up with a government agency in Toronto to redevelop a stretch of the city “from the internet up.”

For others in tech — intrigued by word of a proposed smart city in Arizona, a big Bitcoin land grab in Nevada, a special economic zone in Honduras — fantasizing about newly built cities has become a side gig. They dream of utopias with driverless cars, radical property-ownership models, 3-D-printed houses and skyscrapers assembled in days.

While some urban planners roll their eyes, it is true that America’s cities have always been built on someone’s hubris, whether the characters who plotted Manhattan’s street grid, or those who imagined the Golden Gate Bridge.

“Who were these guys who were thinking so big? Then the question is, where are those people now?” said Paul Romer, the former chief economist at the World Bank, whose ideas (and TED talks) on new “charter cities” have influenced some in tech. “Tech types — as much as people might talk about the parochial way they’re approaching it — deserve credit for thinking bigger than anybody in government right now.”

Their interest has an internal logic to it. The tech industry tries to produce better versions of familiar things — cheaper phones, smaller computers, faster chips. But cities like San Francisco don’t seem to be evolving into more efficient versions of themselves. And if you take literally the economist Ed Glaeser’s assertion in “Triumph of the City” that cities are our greatest invention, it ought to be possible to reinvent them....

To planners and architects, all of this sounds like the naïveté of newcomers who are mistaking political problems for engineering puzzles.

Utopian city-building schemes have seldom succeeded. What we really need, they say, is to fix the cities we already have, not to set off in search of new ones....

“It’s very easy to get a sense of déjà vu,” said Nicholas de Monchaux, a designer and Berkeley professor who describes this history in his book “Spacesuit.”

Technologically optimized cities, he says, failed then for the same reason they would be unsuccessful now. Technology can help reduce traffic, or connect you faster to a ride home. “But a city is not at its fundamental level optimizable,” he said. A city’s dynamism derives from its inefficiencies, from people and ideas colliding unpredictably.


It’s also unclear what you’d optimize an entire city for. Technologists describe noble aspirations like “human flourishing” or “quality of life.” But noble goals come into conflict within cities. You could optimize for affordable housing, but then you may create a more crowded city than many residents want. You could design a city so that every home receives sunlight (an idea the Chinese tried). But that might mean the city isn’t dense enough to support diverse restaurants and mass transit.

These trade-offs demand political choices. And so technologists hoping to avoid politics are bound to encounter them again.

Of the techno-urbanists, Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs seems to be closest to actually creating something. The company, run out of New York City by the former deputy mayor Dan Doctoroff, concluded after a year of study that it needed a not-quite-blank slate to truly innovate.
smart_cities  methodology  epistemology 
21 days ago by shannon_mattern
The Circle of Epistemology of Economics
Formed in 1988, the Circle of Economic Epistemology is a research seminar devoted to the issues of economic epistemology, economic philosophy and the history of economic thought. It meets once or twice a month at the Maison des Sciences Economiques in Paris, Thursday from 18h to 20h, around an external speaker, responsible for presenting a new area of ​​research or defending the thesis of an article or from a book he or she recently published.

The seminar brings together advanced students (M2R and doctoral students) as well as researchers from disciplinary horizons - and academic institutions - varied: the economy of course, mainly, but also the philosophy of science, political philosophy, sociology , intellectual history, history of science, sociology of science, economic history.

Its purpose is to present, discuss and contribute to the advancement of research on the analytical and methodological foundations of the economy. Special attention is thus given to recent developments in economic theory and its related disciplines (statistics, econometrics) and issues of disciplinary boundaries between economics, psychology, demography, sociology and philosophy.
epistemology  economics 
23 days ago by tonyyet

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