The Death Of Expertise

Author: Tom Nichols
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190469429
Size: 13.35 MB
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People are now exposed to more information than ever before, provided both by technology and by increasing access to every level of education. These societal gains, however, have also helped fuel a surge in narcissistic and misguided intellectual egalitarianism that has crippled informed debates on any number of issues. Today, everyone knows everything: with only a quick trip through WebMD or Wikipedia, average citizens believe themselves to be on an equal intellectual footing with doctors and diplomats. All voices, even the most ridiculous, demand to be taken with equal seriousness, and any claim to the contrary is dismissed as undemocratic elitism. As Tom Nichols shows in The Death of Expertise, this rejection of experts has occurred for many reasons, including the openness of the internet, the emergence of a customer satisfaction model in higher education, and the transformation of the news industry into a 24-hour entertainment machine. Paradoxically, the increasingly democratic dissemination of information, rather than producing an educated public, has instead created an army of ill-informed and angry citizens who denounce intellectual achievement. Nichols has deeper concerns than the current rejection of expertise and learning, noting that when ordinary citizens believe that no one knows more than anyone else, democratic institutions themselves are in danger of falling either to populism or to technocracy-or in the worst case, a combination of both. The Death of Expertise is not only an exploration of a dangerous phenomenon but also a warning about the stability and survival of modern democracy in the Information Age.

The Knowledge Illusion

Author: Steven Sloman
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780399184345
Size: 10.83 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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“The Knowledge Illusion is filled with insights on how we should deal with our individual ignorance and collective wisdom.” —Steven Pinker We all think we know more than we actually do. Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don’t even know how a pen or a toilet works. How have we achieved so much despite understanding so little? Cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach argue that we survive and thrive despite our mental shortcomings because we live in a rich community of knowledge. The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. We’re constantly drawing on information and expertise stored outside our heads: in our bodies, our environment, our possessions, and the community with which we interact—and usually we don’t even realize we’re doing it. The human mind is both brilliant and pathetic. We have mastered fire, created democratic institutions, stood on the moon, and sequenced our genome. And yet each of us is error prone, sometimes irrational, and often ignorant. The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individually oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. But our collaborative minds also enable us to do amazing things. This book contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the world around us.

The Ideas Industry

Author: Daniel Drezner
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190264604
Size: 18.27 MB
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The concept of the "public intellectual" has a rich and colorful history. It began in the early twentieth century, when the new mass media catapulted intellectuals who were able to write for the general public to semi-stardom. The first wave included figures like Walter Lippmann - who coinedthe term "stereotype" and is widely considered the founder of media studies - and by the 1950s, public intellectuals as a species had become a powerful and influential force in the American cultural landscape. By the 1970s, the standard definition of the public intellectual had solidified: a person(often university-affiliated, but not always) able to discuss and dispute any serious issue, typically in venues like The New York Review of Books, and occasionally influence politics. The traditional definition of the public intellectual remains with us, but as Daniel W. Drezner shows in The Ideas Industry, it has been gradually supplanted by a new model in recent years: the "thought leader." In contrast to public intellectuals, thought leaders gain fame as purveyors of a singlebig idea. Also, instead of battling it out with intellectual combatants in the pages of The Partisan Review, The Public Interest, and their descendants, they often work through institutions that are closed to the public and which release information selectively. Thought leaders and their associatedideas tend to become brands - hedgehogs to the public intellectual fox. They have also proven to be quite successful, as evidenced by TED, Aspen Ideas, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the like. Furthermore, they often align with one side of a politically polarized debate and enjoy the support ofideologically friendly private funders. Drezner identifies increasing inequality as a prime mover of this shift, contending that our present-day class of plutocrats not only wants to go back to school, it wants to force "schools" - in the form of intellectuals with elite affiliations - to come tothem. And they have the money to make this happen. Drezner, however, does not see the phenomenon as necessarily negative. While there are certainly some downsides to the contemporary ideas industry, he argues that it is very good at broadcasting intellectual content widely and reaching largeaudiences of people hungry for new thinking. Both fair-minded and trenchant, The Ideas Industry will reshape our understanding of contemporary public intellectual life in America and the West.

Anti Intellectualism In American Life

Author: Richard Hofstadter
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307809674
Size: 20.46 MB
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Winner of the 1964 Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction. In this award-winning classic work of consensus history, Richard Hofstadter, author of The Age of Reform, examines the role of social movements in the perception of intellect in American life. "As Mr. Hofstadter unfolds the fascinating story, it is no crude battle of eggheads and fatheads. It is a rich, complex, shifting picture of the life of the mind in a society dominated by the ideal of practical success." --Robert Peel in the Christian Science Monitor

Republic

Author: Cass R. Sunstein
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400884711
Size: 16.52 MB
Format: PDF, ePub
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars, a revealing account of how today's Internet threatens democracy—and what can be done about it As the Internet grows more sophisticated, it is creating new threats to democracy. Social media companies such as Facebook can sort us ever more efficiently into groups of the like-minded, creating echo chambers that amplify our views. It's no accident that on some occasions, people of different political views cannot even understand each other. It's also no surprise that terrorist groups have been able to exploit social media to deadly effect. Welcome to the age of #Republic. In this revealing book, Cass Sunstein, the New York Times bestselling author of Nudge and The World According to Star Wars, shows how today's Internet is driving political fragmentation, polarization, and even extremism—and what can be done about it. Thoroughly rethinking the critical relationship between democracy and the Internet, Sunstein describes how the online world creates "cybercascades," exploits "confirmation bias," and assists "polarization entrepreneurs." And he explains why online fragmentation endangers the shared conversations, experiences, and understandings that are the lifeblood of democracy. In response, Sunstein proposes practical and legal changes to make the Internet friendlier to democratic deliberation. These changes would get us out of our information cocoons by increasing the frequency of unchosen, unplanned encounters and exposing us to people, places, things, and ideas that we would never have picked for our Twitter feed. #Republic need not be an ironic term. As Sunstein shows, it can be a rallying cry for the kind of democracy that citizens of diverse societies most need.

Not A Scientist How Politicians Mistake Misrepresent And Utterly Mangle Science

Author: Dave Levitan
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393353334
Size: 19.50 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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An eye-opening tour of the political tricks that subvert scientific progress. The Butter-Up and Undercut. The Certain Uncertainty. The Straight-Up Fabrication. Dave Levitan dismantles all of these deceptive arguments, and many more, in this probing and hilarious examination of the ways our elected officials attack scientific findings that conflict with their political agendas. The next time you hear a politician say, "Well, I’m not a scientist, but…," you’ll be ready.

Irresistible

Author: Adam Alter
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780698402638
Size: 19.94 MB
Format: PDF
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“One of the most mesmerizing and important books I’ve read in quite some time. Alter brilliantly illuminates the new obsessions that are controlling our lives and offers the tools we need to rescue our businesses, our families, and our sanity.” —Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction—an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans. In this revolutionary book, Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today's products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist. By reverse engineering behavioral addiction, Alter explains how we can harness addictive products for the good—to improve how we communicate with each other, spend and save our money, and set boundaries between work and play—and how we can mitigate their most damaging effects on our well-being, and the health and happiness of our children. Adam Alter's previous book, Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave is available in paperback from Penguin.