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Enzo Rossi

On the fetish of 'smartness', I was reminded of this old post of Schwitzgebel's on implicit bias:

"Seeming smart is probably to a large extent about activating people's associations with intelligence. This is probably especially true when one is overhearing a comment about a complex subject that isn't exactly in one's expertise, so that the quality of the comment is hard to evaluate. And what do people associate with intelligence? Some things that are good: Poise, confidence (but not defensiveness), giving a moderate amount of detail but not too much, providing some frame and jargon, etc. But also, unfortunately, I suspect: whiteness, maleness, a certain physical bearing, a certain dialect (one American type, one British type), certain patterns of prosody -- all of which favor, I suspect, upper- to upper-middle class white men.*"


* I'd add of northern-European, preferably Anglo-Saxon descent. There's also research showing that things said in a foreign accent are less likely to be believed.

Charlie Huenemann

Great post, Eric. I read the Unger interview earlier, and found it utterly convincing. Meaning: if this guy passes for one of our best and brightest, our discipline is in need of rudder, sail, and compass. On a somewhat related note, have you ever written on Dreben's claim that philosophy is garbage, but the history of garbage is scholarship?

James Camien McGuiggan

Thanks very much for this. The generality of the not-wanting-to-know stuff totally passed me by in reading the article, but you're absolutely right about it.

David Wallace

A narrow point: in 1912 the quantum revolution was well underway (Planck's constant was introduced in 1900; Einstein wrote on the photoelectric effect in 1905), and Einstein was searching for general relativity precisely because Newtonian gravity was incompatible with special relativity. In 1912, everyone scientifically informed knew convulsive change in physics was underway.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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