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Principles of Applied Epistemology (APPLIED EPISTEMOLOGY)
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Grant



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Surely Hitler’s biggest mistake was making it clear that in the brave new world he was creating the Slavs were going to be slaves. At least he admired the Jews in a funny old way! He managed to unite the whole of Russia against him
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Mick Harper
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This was Goebbels' view. He pleaded with Hitler to be nice (or at any rate not tremendously nasty) to all the Russian minorities who, the evidence suggests, would have taken the Nazis over the Commies any day of the week. But he lost out to Frank due (on my reading anyway) to the froideur between Adolf and Joseph over Magda (Goebbels). On the other hand Herr Hitler (to you, squire) didn't need a lot of convincing.

Would it have been enough? I don't think so. The (Great) Russians -- I speak technically not approvingly -- did win in a canter in the end. If only Hitler had been like Napoleon and created a true Grande Armée. But we are just coming to that...
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Mick Harper
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[Out of sequence]

The Russians deliberately attacked Germany’s allies, namely Romanians, Hungarians, and Italians, because they predicted that they would not have the strength of the Germans. The attack took place on November 23, 1942, encircling the Sixth Army.

This is a bit misleading. The Germans used their allies in quiet sectors and the Russians attacked the quiet sectors. As in any encirclement battle.

About 250,000 Romanian soldiers, poorly equipped and fed, grouped in two armies (3rd and 4th), flanked the German 6th Army to the north and south.

Like I said.

At the end of the battle that turned the tide of the war, 158,854 casualties were recorded by Romania (dead, wounded, missing), representing two-thirds of the troops. It was the greatest disaster in the history of the Romanians, and the Germans blamed the Romanian Army for the failure at Stalingrad.

More than misleading (of the Germans, not the author). If the Germans had used their own troops to man the quiet sectors who would they have left to fight the war? The Romanians, by the way, vied with Germany's other main ally, the Italians, as the worst soldiers of the war. The Hungarians were terrific soldiers when fighting for Austria-Hungary in 14-18 but not when fighting for Hungary in 41-44. Perhaps being the only land-locked country in history to have an admiral (Horthy) leading them had something to do with it.

The fourth of Germany's allies, the Finns, were the best soldiers of the war but were not involved in Stalingrad. Being a democracy, (oh yes, there were dictators and democracies on both sides) they chose their own wars. And they chose not to be of any help to Germany once they had got their land back in 1941 (lost to Russia in the Winter War 1939-40). Stalin uncharacteristically forgave them though they did have to give their land back, if you see what I mean.
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Mick Harper
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History is often a matter of identifying goodies and baddies and Hitler is a baddy.

Hitler, who believed himself to be a military genius...

So did Churchill and Stalin. The only leader who left everything to the military was Roosevelt and that meant decisions that were even worse.

...ordered the Sixth Army not to withdraw, even if it was to be completely surrounded. This boldness of Hitler (from the comfort of his own office, far from the front and reality) made the generals unable to take action depending on the context on the front.

The other leaders lived in tents in the middle of the fighting. But the Battle of Stalingrad is all about this one decision. And it was a completely normal decision. The Germans had just done it with complete success earlier that year, the British did it at Imphal, the Americans did at at Bastogne. It was the wrong decision, that is true, but ordering a withdrawal would have meant conceding defeat in that year's main offensive. That could only mean one thing for the eventual outcome of the war. Staying put meant it would be seen as a success with everything still to play for. What would you have done?
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Mick Harper
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A couple of nice illustrations of the AE principle "Is it true of you?'' from today's offerings from Medium.com. The Out of Africa theory that dominates all discussions about human origins, needless to say more for political reasons than evidential ones, breaks the rule in the form of THOBR's dictum: people always seem to come from places they would not ordinarily go to. This sort of applies to Africa as a whole but definitely applies to the Great Rift Valley, the current fave, but which may be replaced by the even more God-forsaken swamps of Botswana: https://medium.com/the-atlantic/has-humanitys-homeland-been-found-d35cc161f6f6

That was culled from the devastatingly respectable The Atlantic but this one seems to be entirely Medium-grown and is significant because nobody has or will bat an eyelid. The clue is in the URL https://medium.com/lessons-from-history/what-we-do-with-our-spare-time-isnt-nearly-as-strange-as-what-our-ancestors-did-5a18d136cec4 It divides into two halves: things we would find so strange they are obviously bogus history, and things that are so familiar they are not in the least strange.
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Mick Harper
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The basic mechanism of epistemology is "we believe that which makes us happy". It follows then that the basic mechanism of Applied Epistemology is ... um ... '''believing that which makes us unhappy"? Hardly. Perhaps something like "believing that which makes other people unhappy"? That would be mere contrarianism. Besides you can't force yourself to believe anything.

All this arises from my recent experiences of the 'clap culture' on Medium.com (and I observe the same phenomenon with Hatty's battles on Facebook and Twitter). If I say something arresting I get no claps, everybody else gets massive numbers of claps just for repeating what the original person says. So that's the first point: what is it that makes people want to go the extra mile, not by agreeing with someone, but actually affirming publicly that they do. That's pretty weird because they are not being asked, they just have an urge to. They are not tipping a balance, they must know everybody in the whole wide world disagrees with me (and Hatty).

This is topical with the US election upon us with its long queues of people wishing to vote even though nothing is achieved from the vantage point of the individual. The same candidate will win whether they cast their individual vote or not. It seems important for human beings to express agreement even when it is pointless. We must think on't.
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Grant



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Have you read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari? He makes the point that human beings were more successful that Neanderthals and other human species because we formed larger tribes. In those days tribes of hundreds but now millions. We managed to keep the tribe together by telling each other stories and believing in things like religion.

This only works if we enjoy believing what everyone else believes in. And we love kicking those who stand out from the herd. People like me are weird because I like telling people how wrong they are. That's why I don't have any friends and a wife who tells me I'm a tinfoil hat-wearing nut job!
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Grant



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Incidentally, how many "basic mechanisms" of applied epistemology are there? You really must write them down
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Mick Harper
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He makes the point that human beings were more successful that Neanderthals and other human species because we formed larger tribes
.
Actually I make the point in Megalithic Empire but unlike these popularising tossers, who just wish large tribes into existence in order to say, "Hey, it was because of large tribes," I point out that it cannot have anything to do with 'human beings' because loads of human beings live in a similar state to 'Neanderthals and other human species'.

It was because learning how to exploit the infinite herds of reindeer meant that you could have infinitely large tribes. I haven't read him but I bet Yuval Noah Harari doesn't even mention this. These twats always ignore the Lapps because they are backward! But otherwise are super-keen on 'hunter-gatherers'.
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Ishmael


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Grant wrote:
Incidentally, how many "basic mechanisms" of applied epistemology are there? You really must write them down


That's my job.

If you're reading the Weather Underground thread, you'll shortly be in for a treat. Leastways I think so. Mick will sourly disagree when we get there.
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Mick Harper
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On the subject of reindeer-people and their role in the early development of human beings, here are some 'reindeer stones'

Deer stones (also known as reindeer stones) are ancient megaliths carved with symbols found largely in Siberia and Mongolia. The name comes from their carved depictions of flying deer. There are many theories to the reasons behind their existence and the people who made them.




When these appear in the west, they are always called 'cult objects' of some kind or another, so unless our early selves had the same cult as early Siberians, I suppose any fair-minded observer would conclude that M J Harper and H L Vered's Megalithic Empire was correct after all, and they are navigational signposts made by people associated with reindeer.
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Mick Harper
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A nice illustration of an AE principle is to be found here https://medium.com/publishous/the-secret-camera-stores-dont-want-you-to-know-73d7f8fc4d8e

Human beings would rather be duffers all their lives so long as a) their peers are equal duffers and b) they don't have to go the extra mile and really apply the rules of their chosen activity. This last seems counter-intuitive but notice the bloke handing the equipment to a real professional, and this seemingly having no effect on him. Why? Because he wants to be a duffer. Not in the sense of producing duff photos but to go out there snapping away like a lunatic.

You can be sure the professional's photographic life is one of boring painstaking work. And no doubt the writer senses that he wouldn't be able to compete even if he did knuckle down and apply the rules. There's nothing worse than being a duff professional.
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Mick Harper
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This is an interesting account (I've only skimmed it) of how one set of 'experts' have reacted to someone who has beaten them at their own game. You have to judge quite who are the charlatans. https://medium.com/@Soccermatics/how-swedes-were-fooled-by-one-of-the-biggest-scientific-bluffs-of-our-time-de47c82601ad
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Mick Harper
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Two notifications from my Google checker. I don't think we've got much to worry about from this little lot

AEGEA – Applied Epistemology Research Group
AEGEA: Applied Epistemology Research Group (Autonomous University of Madrid) has specialized in the last years in several fields of epistemology, understood in a broad way, as the systematic study of the practices of knowledge production and distribution. Its most significant lines of research include fundamental issues in epistemology (theory of virtues and epistemic normativity) and social ...
http://aegea.polytropon.es Rank 27

On the other hand...
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Mick Harper
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applied epistemology | My Weblog
Applied epistemology should help us develop strategies for armoring ourselves against these PSYOPS. I wrote a brief essay on the idea here . What most people don’t realize is that PSYOPS aren’t just deployed in the battlefield, but they are currently being deployed in our day-to-day lives, and I don’t just mean via advertising and public relations.
https://thenonsequitur.wordpress.com/tag/applied-epistemology/ - Rank 21

is more interesting, albeit seven years old. (I'm not a premium subscriber.) I'll dispense with the boxes

------------------------

Interesting read over at the Leiter Reports (by guest blogger Peter Ludlow). A taste:

Yesterday some friends on Facebook were kicking around the question of whether there is such a thing as applied epistemology and if so what it covers. There are plenty of candidates, but there is one notion of applied epistemology that I’ve been pushing for a while – the idea that groups engage in strategies to undermine the epistemic position of their adversaries.

In the military context this is part of irregular warfare (IW) and it often employs elements of PSYOPS (psychological operations). Applied epistemology should help us develop strategies for armoring ourselves against these PSYOPS. I wrote a brief essay on the idea here. What most people don’t realize is that PSYOPS aren’t just deployed in the battlefield, but they are currently being deployed in our day-to-day lives, and I don’t just mean via advertising and public relations.

This very much seems like a job for fallacy theory, broadly speaking. Here’s an example from the article referred to above:

One of the key observations by Waltz is that an epistemic attack on an organization does not necessarily need to induce false belief into the organization; it can sometimes be just as effective to induce uncertainty about information which is in point of fact reliable. When false belief does exist in an organization (as it surely does in every organization and group) the goal might then be to induce confidence in the veracity of these false beliefs. In other words, epistemic attack is not just about getting a group to believe what is false, it is about getting the group to have diminished credence in what is true and increased credence in what is false.

One obvious mechanism for this goal is the time-honored art of sophistry. Thanks Phil Mayo for the pointer!
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