1. On the subject of DT and his lies, I have to wax philosophical for a moment —literally. Epistemology is the field of philosophy by which we discuss and ascertain truth. Fact from opinion. Agreed upon truth based on shared information and the rules of logic.
2. When @maggieNYT expresses that it’s difficult to accuse DT of lying because he believes his own version of events - we move into a different field of philosophy - Phenomenology - focused on the isolation of consciousness and direct experience and knowledge derived from it.
3. It should be noted that most people have no concept of the field of Phenomenology - which makes it odder that we’re addressing it from the standpoint of #POTUS. Also worth noting that I’m being extraordinarily fair by categorizing pathological lying as phenomenology.
4. It’s these breeches of common sense and human psychology with theoretical philosophy that drives most people away from being philosophy majors. But, nevertheless, let’s walk down this path.
5. Epistemology tells us that things can be known. There aren’t ‘alternative facts’, - sorry @KellyannePolls. There are ascertainable rules by which something is a fact or an opinion. Think inauguration crowd size, Russian business contacts - quantifiable facts.
6. Phenomenology goes out on a different limb and argues that things can be known on an individual conscious level outside of the epistemological rules of logic and shared experience. The easiest example of this is dreams.
7. We’ve all had these moments in dreams. A boy walked up to me, but it was actually my Grandpa. How do you know? You just do. Can anyone quantify or validate this — no. But you just know. I first encountered this field of study while studying cross-cultural mysticism.
8. And in that context, it is a legitimate field of study...but trying to combine it with human psychology and the collective knowledge of an electorate is a nightmare. For the press to be applying these assessments is untenable.
9. If you’ve ever personally known a pathological liar (usually a narcissist), then you’ve experienced first hand the transformation by which a lie becomes the lying individual’s truth. They make themselves believe it...it becomes their truth.
10. Now, psychologists can weigh in at this point - they can argue it’s not the individual’s fault - that they essentially have a mental illness that changes their reality. Phenomenology even gives them that allowance - their personal truth can be different from a public truth.
11. But, if we’re going to go that route, we’re in an even greater crisis than most realize. What may be interesting philosophical discussion has a tremendously dangerous effect on a country at large.
12. Because at the end of the day DT is not a mystic—not even close. He’s a bullshit artist - a successful one. Yes, he ‘believes his lies’. It’s his modus operandi of selling hyperbole. Clearly, it’s worked for him. But, those that are paying attention see the construct.
13. Those brief moments of reporting when he acknowledges how he’s manipulating the view of his base - Demonizing the press so people will believe him over them. Developing ‘spygate’ because it will resonate as a buzz word. DT knows exactly what he’s doing.
14. If, as a member of the press, you find yourself trying to alleviate his responsibility for his lies by claiming he believes them, then you have fallen hook, line and sinker for his routine.
15. I’m quite sure DT has 0 familiarity with either the fields of Epistemology or Phenomenology. His behavior is encapsulated within the realm of psychology. He lies, he convinces himself the lie is truth, and he manipulates others to sell his lie as truth.
16. Add in a press that still hasn’t figured out how to deal with a pathological liar as #POTUS and the self-confirming bias of social media bubbles and we’ve go one hell of a problem.
17. My personal advise to the press is this: Don’t overcomplicate the matter. It’s not up to you to assess whether DT believes his lies or not. It’s not up to you to be a philosophist or a psychologist. It’s up to you to report the truth - as unerringly as possible. Please do so.
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