[comment]: # (Compile this presentation with the command below) [comment]: # (mdslides docs.md --include dist) [comment]: # (...or by running the Makefile with "make") ### Street Epistemology 1. [**Find a good tone** & get informed consent](#/1) 2. [**Pick a claim** & clarify](#/2) 3. [**Ask for confidence** on a scale & calibrate](#/3) 4. [**Identify main reason**](#/4) 5. [**Explore & assess** epistemology & reliability](#/5) 6. [**End on aporia**, a question, a good tone](#/6) 7. [Consider & prepare](#/7) 8. [Learn more & share](#/8) \ [👇 What is this?](#/0/1) — [👉 Proceed](#/1) Note: * What is SE? * A way, through civil conversation, to help one reflect on the quality of one's reasoning. * Epistemology? * The field of Philosophy concerning **how we know what we know**. * Introducing.SE? * A **practical introduction** and overview of Street Epistemology (SE)
#### What is Introducing.SE? * This site is a *practical introduction* to [Street Epistemology (SE)](#/0/2). * …optimized for your phone, with useful tips and reminders for practicing SE. * …a continuously improving resource for both new and seasoned SE practicioners. * …a way to [Share SE](#/8/2) with anyone interested. \ **👉 Swipe, or use arrow keys to navigate!** \ [👇 What is SE?](#/0/2) — [👉 Proceed](#/1)
#### What is Street Epistemology (SE)? * A way, through civil conversation, to help one reflect on the quality of one's reasoning. * A way to have friendly dialogue about contentious topics. * A framework for exploring ideas and beliefs. * A community that practices Street Epistemology in a friendly environment. * A way to introduce [Epistemology](#/0/3) into everyday conversations. \ [👇 Epistemology?](#/0/3) — [👉 Proceed](#/1)
#### What is Epistemology? The field of Philosophy focusing on **_how_ we know what we know**. \ *«How do we determine if something is true?»* \ *«Which methods and tools can we employ to determine this?»* \ [👉 Proceed](#/1)
### 1. Find a good tone & get informed consent * Establish [**friendly rapport**](#/1/1), and maintain it. * [Share your intentions](#/1/2) with them, so they may consent. * **Avoid** [topic rebuttal](#/1/3). * [Be tactful](#/1/4) in what you say. * Extra: [Be mindful](#/1/6) of their time & needs. \ *«Stay civil, listen and enjoy the conversation!»* \ [👇 More](#/1/1) — [👉 Proceed](#/2) Note: * Rapport * Keeping a **friendly tone is critical for success**. * Politeness * *Share, describe, be respectful, charitable*. * Topic rebuttal < Technique rebuttal * **Don't offer facts**. * Be **tactful** * Ask for **consent**
#### Establish rapport *Keeping a friendly tone is critical for success*.
* Show your genuine interest by paying attention. * Withold judgement, and adopt the [principle of charity](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_charity). * Indicate your understanding by reflecting and repeating key points. * If you can, [steel-man](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man#Steelmanning)! * Share what you have in common. \ *«Let's solve this mystery together, shoulder to shoulder.»* \ [👇 More](#/1/2) — [👉 Proceed](#/2)
#### Show politeness & intentions * Share [your intentions](#/7) upfront. * [Describe](#/0) or explain this method, and ask if they are open for exploring! * If they consent, show your curiosity. * Be respectful, be charitable. \ [👇 More](#/1/3) — [👉 Proceed](#/2)
#### Avoid topic rebuttal * *Don't offer facts* (*topic rebuttal*), unless asked. Instead focus on the methods (*technique rebuttal*). * *Stay cool* – Avoiding *topic rebuttal* often requires practice. * *Practice* – [SE may at first be easier with strangers](#/8). * *Be patient* – You may need to have a few «harmless» conversations before proceeding with a contentious topic. \ [👇 More](#/1/4) — [👉 Proceed](#/2)
#### Be tactful in what you say * ✅ *«Can you help me understand what you mean with…»* * ✅ *«Do I understand you correctly…»* * ✅ *«How do I explain to someone else…»* * ❌ *«Don't you think that…»* * ❌ *«Are you saying that…»* * ❌ *«How do you justify…»* \ [👇 More](#/1/5) — [👉 Proceed](#/2)
#### Recording & timing * Recording? **Ask for their consent**. * Taking notes is a good alternative. * Embrace their pauses, allow them to think! * But also, respect their time. * Offer to set a timer if they are busy. \ [👉 Proceed](#/2)
### 2. Pick a claim & clarify * Find a [claim to explore](#/2/1). * [Clarify](#/2/2) terms. * Ask «why» questions to turn [normative claims](#/2/3) factual. * Avoid [«Safety Nets»](#/2/4). * Extra: What is [a good claim?](#/2/5) \ *«__What__ do you believe?»* Note: * Find a claim * **Single, factual** * **Specific, important, positive** * Clarify terms * "True for me", qualify, use **their definition**, take notes * Normative caims * **Ask "whys" to turn into factual claim** * Safety Nets * "If it was not for my belief, I would drink myself to death"
#### Find a claim to explore * *«Do you have a topic you want to explore?»* * *«…you wish more people knew of?»* * *«…or agreed with?»* * Aim for a [**single topic**](#/2/5). * Re-phrase the topic as [a factual claim](#/2/3). * Don't rush when considering claims! \ ⚠️ Stop if the claim is part of a [Safety Net](#/2/4)! \ *«Would you mind if we explore this together?»*
#### Clarifying terms * In *your own* words, **repeat** what you hear. * Have them **confirm** if you understand correctly. * Identify, clarify & qualify confusing words. * Use *their* definitions. * Take notes! \ *«What do you mean when you say …?»*
#### Normative vs. factual *Normative ought;
* «Is» claims are often easier to explore. * «Ought» claims often require extra clarification. * Asking «why» can help you get closer to a factual claim to explore! \ *«If everyone agreed with the [normative claim], what would change in the world?»* \ *«…[How confident](#/3) are you this change would happen?»*
#### ⚠️ Avoid «Safety Net» claims A *Safety Net* is a belief that prevents an individual from doing harm to themselves or others. \ *«My Belief helped me become sober, and without it I would probably drink myself to death.»* \ SE is not always the right tool to use, and **SE is not for therapy**. Please do no harm. Pick another claim!
#### What is a good claim? * ✅ Claim is specific, clear & terse. * ✅ …Phrased as a positive: *«I believe…»* * ✅ …Relevant to us both: *«True for us»* * ✅ …Foundational or important to them. * ❌ Not phrased as a negative: ~~*«I don't believe…»*~~ * ❌ …Trivial or obvious.
### 3. Ask for confidence on a scale & calibrate * Ask how [confident](#/3/1) they are the claim is true. * Use a scale, to help further exploration. * [Explore](#/3/2) their confidence. * Respectfully [challenge](#/3/3) their confidence. * Extra: Are they [pre-contemplative](#/3/4)? \ *«How __confident__ are you this is true?»* Note: * Ask for confidence * Avoids polarization, **use a scale**, ask for up, down, what would change mind * how important is it to **believe in true things**? * Explore confidence * Evidence, why not other arguments? **why not extremes**? * OPTONAL: Pre-contemplative? * 0 or 100? trust? tribe? * If room for >100%, calibrate? postpone? is evidence important?
#### Ask for confidence *Use a scale to help reduce polarization.*
* *«How **confident** are you X is true?»* 0–100% * *«How important is it for you to believe in true things?»* 0–100% * *«Why is this the right number for you?»* * *«What would move you up just a bit?»* * *«What would move you down a little?»* * *«What could change your mind?»*
#### Explore their confidence * At 100%, *«Would anything increase your confidence even higher?»* * *«How would physical evidence change your confidence?»* * At 0%, *«What reasons do you think others have for being higher?»* * Above 0%, *«Why not lower?»* * Below 100%, *«Why not higher?»*
#### Respectfully challenge their confidence *«Can you imagine something that would make you even more confident?»* \ *«If there is still room to become more confident, what would you recalibrate your current confidence to?»* \ *«If you value evidence, what evidence would change your mind?»* \ *«If your community or tribe changed their mind, would you also?»*
#### Pre-contemplative — or not? *«I am 100% confident, and nothing can change my mind»*
* 100% or 0% confidence may indicate they are pre-contemplative. * Build trust by exploring a topic with «shades of grey» first? * Is their confidence a shibboleth (signal of membership) of their tribe? \ *«Is there anything you can think of, or learn, that would lower your confidence?»* \ *«Under what conditions could this claim be false?»*
### 4. Identify main reason * What is [their most important source](#/4/1), experience or reason for their confidence? * Are there any other [underlying reasons](#/4/2) supporting this? * [Many small reasons](#/4/3), or a few large? \ *«__Why__ do you believe this, and what makes you this confident?»* Note: * Asking for source/reason * **What makes it good?** better reason? * Underlying reasons * What if reason is unavailable, confidence change, yes: how? no: what else? switch topic? * Many small/few large reasons * Commonalities? influence how – adds/multiplies? take notes!
#### Asking about reasons *«How did you arrive at this conclusion?»* \ *«What makes this particular reason a good one for you?»* \ *«If you could learn of a better reason to support this belief, what would it look like?»* \ *«How do you figure out if a reason is a good one?»*
#### Exploring underlying reasons * *«If this reason was unavailable to you, would it change your confidence?»* * *«…if so, how would it change?»* * *«…and if not, **what else** is keeping you at your confidence level?»* * [Switching topic](#/2) or focusing on a [more important reason](#/4) is fine! \ *«Claim 2 seems to be important for your confidence in claim 1. Would you mind if we explore it instead?»*
#### Many small, or a few large? *Explore to understand their background.*
* Are there any commonalities between the reasons? * With many small, ask how each influences their confidence. * Does this influence add (and may surpass 100%) or multiply (and never reach 100%)? \ *Take notes!* \ *When you're done, restate & summarize their reason(s).*
### 5. Explore & assess epistemology & reliablility * This is [the key goal of SE](#/5/1)! * [Explore the epistemology](#/5/2) of the reasons for their confidence. * [Assess the reliability](#/5/3) of these reasons. * Extra: [How to recognize unreliable reasons](#/5/5). \ *«__How__ did you conclude this reason was so good? What methods did you use?»* Note: * Goal: **reliability**, **how** > why > what * Epistemology: **arrive**, rule out, soundness * Reliability: **Outsider test** * Consultant, double standard Conformity, status quo, selective skeptic * Fallacies * Appeal to authority, ignorance, tradition * Biases * Confirmation bias, availability heuristic, motivated reasoning * News, Publications * bias, misleading, fact check fails, naïve realism * C.R.A.A.P test
#### The key goal of Street Epistemology *Explore the reliability of methods used when forming a belief.* \ ***How*** questions are better than *Why* & *What.* \ *«If you learned that you came to a conclusion using an unreliable method, how would this change your confidence?»* \ *«How would you expect unreliable methods to influence someone else's confidence?»*
#### Exploring Epistemology * *«How did you arrive at the reason?»* * *«How did you rule out other reasons that could explain the same?»* * *«What methods did you use to assess the [soundness](https://iep.utm.edu/val-snd/) of this reason?»* * *«How can we determine if these methods are reliable?»* \ *«If a method is unreliable, how does this affect our assessment?»*
#### Assessing reliability I **The outsider test**
– *«Would someone using your reasons, but coming from a different starting point reach the same conclusion?»* \ **The consultant test**
– *«How would you evaluate this claim if it was **not** your own?»* \ **The double standard test**
– *«Am I judging other people’s reasoning by a standard I wouldn’t apply to myself?»* \ ([continued…](#/5/4))
#### Assessing reliability II **The conformity test**
– *«If other people no longer held this belief, to what extent would you still hold it?»* \ **The status quo bias test**
– *«If your current claim was not the status quo, would you still actively choose it?»* \ **The selective skeptic test**
– *«If the same reasoning supported a different or opposing conclusion, how credible would you judge it to be?»*
#### Recognizing unreliable reasons * ❌ [Informal fallacies](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies#Informal_fallacies), like *[Appeals to authority](https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-authority)*, *[ignorance](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance)* or *[tradition](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition).* * ❌ [Cognitive biases](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias#List_of_biases), like *[Confirmation bias](https://yourbias.is/confirmation-bias)*, *[Availability heuristic](https://yourbias.is/the-availability-heuristic)* and *[Motivated reasoning](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivated_reasoning).* * ❌ News sources that are [biased or misleading](https://adfontesmedia.com/interactive-media-bias-chart/). * ❌ News sources that [fail fact checks](https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/). * ❌ Academic publications that don't pass [the C.R.A.A.P. test](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/CRAAP_test). \ *«If a source only offers ideas I agree with, how do I know it is truthful?»*
#### Recognizing good reasons A good reason or explanation has… * *Coherence* – internal consistency. * *Parsimony* – the fewest assumptions. * *Consilience* – compatibility with other established explanations. * *Fertility* – the ability to make new predictions. * *Testability* – falsification criteria. Note: Also, *Economy*, *Accuracy*, *Unification power* and *Elegance*.
### 6. End on aporia, a question, a good tone * Try [ending on aporia](#/6/1) or with a question. * Good sign: They are *«looking for the spider on the ceiling»*. * Offer them [reasons to return](#/6/2). * The best endings offer food for thought! \ *«I've never thought about that!»* Note: * Ending * With **aporia** or **question**, both **happy** * Returning * Necessary? look forward to it, **make one think** * Aporia: * The Greek word aporia refers to a physical location blocked off by obstacles where there is no way out; by extension, it means, in philosophy, a mental perplexity, an impasse, a paradox or puzzle that stoutly resists solution. ([Source](https://iep.utm.edu/aristotle-logic/#H14))
#### Ending the conversation * Try to end on a positive note, with *wonder* or *[aporia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aporia#Philosophy)*. * Success? – You have it when **both are happy** to have had the conversation. * If you can, offer to [continue the chat later](#/6/2). * Maybe offer them a printed [Introducing.SE card](dist/media/introducing-se-card-2022-09-06.pdf)?
#### Create reasons to return Some conversations may require several sessions. \ Offer your conversation partner reasons to look forward to them! \ *«That was a good question. You're making me think!»* \ *«Thanks for the conversation. You're really good at listening and asking good questions!»*
### 7. Consider & prepare * Consider [your intentions](#/7/1). What do you want to achieve? * Adopt a [learner's attitude](#/7/2). What can you learn? * Be aware of [their expectations](#/7/3). What do they want? * Extra: Do any necessary [practical preparations](#/7/4). Note: * What are _your_ intentions or goal? * To learn or to change someone's mind? Share! * Learner's attitude * curiosity, open-minded, focus, connect ideas * Their expectations * AVOID: Scripted, interviewing, **leading**, messaging, embarrassment, cornering * Practical * Bring note-taking equipment, a friend, recorder, timer, Introducing.SE cards
#### Consider your intentions *Before engaging in SE, decide for yourself…*
* What's your goal? To learn, empathize or help them change their mind? * Are you also open to learn and change your own mind? * Decide, and consider sharing your intentions upfront. * As you proceed, expect your goals and intentions to reveal themselves.
#### Adopt a learner's attitude *Find ways to be…*
* …**Self-directed** – ask about what you find interesting, curious or confusing. * …**Open-minded** – there's always something to learn! * …**Single-minded** – focus on one topic until you grasp it. * and **Thorough** – don't just acknowledge, but try to *actively connect ideas*.
#### Expectation awareness *Expect them to dislike…*
* ❌ *scripted* conversations. * ❌ …«interviewing». * ❌ …leading questions. * ❌ …overt «messaging». * ❌ …being embarrassed. * ❌ …made to feel cornered.
#### Practical preparations *Depending on your situation, you may also…*
* Bring something to take notes with. * Bring a friend! Let them listen in without participating, so they later can offer feedback. * Optionally, bring an audio recorder for your own reviewing or for sharing. * Optionally, bring a timer. * Print some [cards](dist/media/introducing-se-card-2022-09-06.pdf) to give away!
### 8. Learn more & share * Practice, learn and improve with a friendly community! * Find SE practitioners on [Discord](https://discord.gg/streetepistemology) & [elsewhere](https://streetepistemology.com/community). * SE videos, blogs, books, tutorials and more on [streetepistemology.com](https://streetepistemology.com/). * Share your experiences with the Street Epistemology community, so we can improve together! * …And when you meet someone that may benefit from SE, [share this site](#/8/2)! Note: * Books * **How Minds Change** by David McRaney * **How to Have Impossible Conversations** by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay * **The Scout Mindset** by Julia Galef * **Mental Immunity** by Andy Norman
#### Other SE resources Looking for another take on Street Epistemology?
* Check out the [Street Epistemology Basics](https://streetepistemology.com/blog/street-epistemology-the-basics). * Prefer videos? Check out LiveWell.Coach's [SE Tutorial](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKr_phSSzes&list=PLEBCyAR7MPxk6fRihp-Op9UN2Tw_qI6FJ) on YouTube. * Also, there's an awesome [SE poster](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QNgN7HyzWE2AYm5VxaaRy9lqKQ6Y-zUm/view?usp=sharing)!
[![Street Epistemology Logo](dist/media/street-epistemology-logo.png)](https://streetepistemology.com) #### Street Epistemology ![QR Code image to introducing.se](dist/media/to-this-site-qr.png) #### Introducing.SE
Salve J. Nilsen
#### Contributing 🚧 This site is a collaborative work in progress. [Report issues](https://github.com/sjn/introducing-se/issues) to help us improve! \ Source code, content, attributions and issue tracker is hosted on [Github](https://github.com/sjn/introducing-se/). \ [🔙 *to start*](#)