A few posts back I mentioned Patrick Wilson’s 1983 book Second-Hand Knowledge [link], in which he argues that librarians ought to pay more attention to cognitive authority. I started writing a book review last week but I quickly realized that Wilson’s discussion is actually pretty weak. I mean, for a guy with a PhD in philosophy from Berkeley, it’s surprising how philosophically sloppy and under-researched his arguments are. But, there are a couple of interesting positions he takes and I’d like to quickly outline one that I think might be a bit polarizing.
The general argument of the book goes something like this:
- Most of what we believe comes from the testimony of other people (which includes texts, video, etc.)
- But, we don’t count all information sources as equally reliable: “some people know what they are talking about, others do not. Those…
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