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Sunday
Jul192009

Transparency is the new objectivity: Really good post from David Weinberger

Check this excerpt from a post by David Weinberger called Transparency is the new objectivity from Joho the Blog:
"A friend asked me to post an explanation of what I meant when I said at PDF09 that “transparency is the new objectivity.” [...snip...]"

"Outside of the realm of science, objectivity is discredited these days as anything but an aspiration, and even that aspiration is looking pretty sketchy. The problem with objectivity is that it tries to show what the world looks like from no particular point of view, which is like wondering what something looks like in the dark." (from: Transparency is the New Objectivity)

Man, this is a a subtle area. but fascinating.

Over the years I've been convinced by David, (even though he wasn't trying to convince me) by the idea that there are precious few (if any) 'facts' that are just simply 'true'. Maybe that's an observation about the world, maybe about how we think, or maybe about language, I don't know. But for any 'fact', almost, I often can produce a counter example.

My current obsession is Voting Reform, and so I've thought a lot about how we cast votes on ballots and then how they are counted. You might think that given a particular ballot or box of ballots, asking "how many votes did candidate X get" is a factual question to which there is an answer. Not so.

To see why I say this, check out my post about the 'true' result of an election.

David Weinberger's post Transparency is the new Objectivity tells a fascinating part of the story; you should read it.

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