The following is an excerpt, pertinent to epistemic sloth, from my unpublished work. My intention is to describe, not criticize, our epistemic practices. For most of our beliefs, the near-enough-good-enough model of belief acquisition is as good as it gets, and that’s as good as it needs be. Why? It works. Any argument to the contrary is contradicted by our being here.
Few of us know whether buying fair trade coffee is good for growers, but for another’s word that it is. On that word, some of us buy fair trade coffee, happily oblivious to whether our actions might have harmful consequences because we’re satisfied we’re doing the right thing. We just don’t know it. Buying fair trade coffee is a common example of the kinds of decisions we make and the extent we go, or don’t go, past our hypotheses to examine the evidence. Some of us will read an article or two on the topic. Few will research it voraciously. Fewer still will understand the research. Most will have an opinion on the matter in any case. Some won’t care. And there are plenty of hypotheses we deem beneath our consideration, in which case we give them a hand-wave….