The Internet: Vanquisher of Ignorance

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So it's pretty well established that there's a wealth of information on the Internet--from the speed and simplicity of a Google search or Wikipedia to the teaching power of YouTube. But for some the wonder never fades. At Crooked Timber John Holbo waxes rhapsodic for five hundred words about how the Internet allows him to discover information that he would have been "persistently and baldly ignorant" about before. Of course, he's aware that this isn't a new topic: "this is a flagrantly obvious thought," he writes. "The internet = important!" What he's more interested in musing about is how this information is changing people's outlook:
I don’t really know what to say about how it has made a difference, specifically, that things like serious young left-handed guitarists who don’t even know there are such things as left-handed guitars are now more infrequent occurrences. These sorts of minor epistemic follies tended to elude systematic documentation. Information now gets spread more easily and therefore efficiently. That’s for sure! But I feel there’s more to be said about the ways in which the shape of an individual’s whole view of the world used to be a lot less …(what’s the word?) … internetish?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.