January 24, 2017

YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR PRECONCEPTIONS:

Ways to Burst Your Filter Bubble (Tyler Cowen, 1/24/17, Bloomberg View)

So I have a second proposal and one you may find less pleasant, perhaps precisely because it may turn out to be effective. Keep a diary, write a blog, or set up a separate and anonymous Twitter account. And through that medium, write occasional material in support of views you don't agree with. Try to make them sound as persuasive as possible. If need be, to keep your own sense of internal balance, write a dialogue between opposing views, just as Plato and David Hume did in some of their very best philosophical works.

You don't have to do this a lot, but make the best case for the opposing point of view at least once a month. If you don't trust the anonymity of your chosen medium, write out your entries and then destroy or delete them.

My George Mason University colleague, Bryan Caplan, defined what he called "the ideological Turing test." The original Turing test concerned whether a computer could respond in a way that was indistinguishable from the answers of a human. An ideological Turing test is whether you could write out the views of a Trump or Clinton supporter, or of some other point of view contrary to your own, in a way that would be indistinguishable from the writings of supporters.

Give it a try. See if you can make the best case for whatever you might find to be deplorable, or at least objectionable, in today's debate. If you're feeling really secure, show it to someone you disagree with, and ask them if they can recognize their own views in there, honestly stated.

Posted by at January 24, 2017 7:10 PM

  

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