Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A new approach …

… Malcolm Gladwell's 'Talking to Strangers' Doesn't Say Much - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Gladwell has often built his arguments from other peoples’ sketchy statistical manipulations and the far-fetched results he’s managed to cull from social science journals. The data, taken uncritically, served to buttress anecdotes that were intended to dramatize some general truth about the human animal. What’s new in Talking to Strangers is that Gladwell doesn’t use these bits of pseudo-science to point to any larger lessons. It seems he’s no longer trying to explain much of anything. By book’s end, the best he can do is counsel a sense of realism about what we can and cannot know—a kind of epistemological modesty.  

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