About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Massimo's Picks

by Massimo Pigliucci
* Philosophy: is it relevant to everyday life? How?
* What the Norway massacre has in common with Amy Winehouse, philosophically speaking.
* Rarely the title of a newspaper article has better summarized an ongoing idiocy.
* Should religion play a role in politics?
* And yet I keep being skeptical of crowd sourcing...
* The CERN, Rebecca Watson, Richard Dawkins, elevatorgate and the misogyny of the skeptic-atheist communities.
* Obama vs Bush when it comes to increasing the deficit, all in one easy graph...
* Journalists: lovable rogues or human-rights crusaders? Or what?


  1. I'd like to know why you're skeptical about crowd sourcing. I am too though I haven't formed enough thoughts and language to express why.

  2. More thoughts:

    We can, of course, problematise the concept and practice of crowd sourcing. The ideological notion is that the crowd decides what's best. A simplistic explanation but let's keep it for now. The problem is that that veils much of the underlying process of power and veils the politics of power in play. Does everyone get an equal say? Who is being asked? How are they being selected or chosen? How does the crowd select its members to be "the crowd"?

    The notion of crowd sourcing to me seems to veil the underlying politics of power and access. Perhaps once we unpack this for each specific situation that is labelled as "crowd source", we'll begin to see that this crowd is not as neutral and non-selective as we think. That, I think, is one reason I am skeptical about so-called "crowd sourcing".

    Some preliminary thoughts...

  3. Regarding Oullette's article on misogyny, for an alternative perspective (from women in the skeptics community), see:

    Much ado about wait... what? (Jennifer Keane's blog)

    Feminists can be bullies too (Miranda Celeste Hale's blog)

  4. Thibault,

    Good question, at some point I should do a post specifically on crowd sourcing. I suspect the applicability of the concept is much more limited compared to the hype. Also, if you read the linked article, it turns out that at some point the author of the study wants to out together a crowd of experts. Well, hum, we already have those, they are called scientific teams, and they are not crowds of everyday people...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.