From Method of Dialogue to Anti-fake Measures without Fact-checking

Decentralized Socrates (Part 11)

The Ghost in the Stereoscope, ca. 1856, London Stereoscopic Company, British

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It is a disarming of bias, after all, that is achieved by the Socratic method of dialogue. Let’s call it the “universal position,” that is, the attitude of continuing to eliminate bias or “ to cease reasoning incorrectly according to one’s community, tradition, interests, values, and position.”

The opposite of the universal position is the positional talk and fake news currently filling the Internet. These are activities that, knowingly or unknowingly, seek to spread and reinforce bias as much as possible to protect their interests or expand their power, just the opposite of de-biasing by the method of dialogue.

In this sense, the modern method of dialogue should be “ protecting irrelevant people from the influence of aggressive people who actively engage in position-talk and fake news.”

But can we do that?

Whether it is position talk or fake news, it can be avoided in principle by fact-checking if it is blatantly untrue. So, building a system that successfully automates fact-checking sounds like a good idea. The platform should provide a UI that constantly displays the level of fakeness or positional bias on the site or tweet. Such a system already exists and will continue to improve.

However, there are two problems with this system. The first is that positional talk and fake news are not always false. Elaborate position talk is unlikely to be factually incorrect.

There are various ways of rhetorical maneuvering to manipulate the reader’s impression, such as increasing the size of one’s supportive position on a matter that is open to different interpretations, deliberately erasing opposing positions, or stating opposing positions followed by abruptly ending with a positive remark about one’s own beliefs.

Such words and actions are lumped together in this article as “position talk.” This is because so-called “fake news” is an extreme form of position talk whereby a person believes in their theory so much that it contradicts the facts. In contrast, the opposite extreme of position talk, which is usual positional talk, is when the writer does not state anything contrary to the facts but only manipulates them retroactively to make the reader’s impression align with the writer’s intentions.

Try to challenge positional talk with fact-checking alone. You will be at a standstill since you cannot do anything to deal with the type of article using only retrospective manipulation. It would violate freedom of speech to warn against an article that is not wrong but leads one’s view to prevail, as anyone would do.

However, the frustration of fact-checking can lead to the stance that every opinion is position talk, after all. No matter how terrible the theory, someone will fall for it. This can lead to antinomianism, saying that it is better to say anything, or that facts and truth are not significant, and that the process of argumentation and the proof itself is a fraud.

Incidentally, almost exactly what was just noted is written in “My Struggle.” Hitler himself claimed what drove him to take such an attitude was his righteous indignation at the fact that in World War I, in which he had participated, politicians working in the background had spent all their time arguing and playing games, forcing the front line to sacrifice itself in vain.

It is worth checking facts to verify the truth. However, one could do something parallel: to exploit the fact that position talk is often a rhetorical and editorial impression.

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