Thursday, July 23, 2009

Liar? Ignorant? Stupid? A Little Of Each?

Excellent Neo-neocon post.

1 comment:

IlĂ­on said...

Matteo: "Liar? Ignorant? Stupid? A little of each?"

There are three, and only three, general categories of explanation for why a person asserts and/or believes false propositions, or fails to know/believe the relevant truth of the matter ... or fails to understand another's claims and/or arguments (regardless of the truth of the claims or arguments). And, of course, as there may be multiple reasons for a person’s error or lack of understanding, and as these three are not mutually exclusive, a full explanation may be due to a complex (and many-layered) combination of these three.

I usually out these three in a different order, but to use the order of your question, they are:

1) Disinclination to understand/know (or speak the truth of) the matter; this includes active lying to a more passive disinterest in ensuring that one really does understand the matter.

Also, this disinterest may be quite innocuous: that is, as no one has the obligation to understand *everything,* but rather only to understand the points on which one has/asserts an opinion, no one has the obligation to attempt to understand those things regarding which one has no interest.

2) Misunderstanding (of the truth of) the matter; this is honest error: one currently lacks a correct understanding of the matter … or of a logically prior matter upon which understanding of the matter at hand rests (thus, this explanation can be recursive). And, of course, as one doesn't understand the matter, one may incorrectly believe that one does understand it.

3) Disability to understand (or speak the truth of) the matter; this includes such things as insanity, or stupidity (the inability to reason properly) ... or that the thing one doesn't understand is itself illogical or irrational, and thus cannot *be* understood.