epistemic closure

I’m going to have to  open a new category called new words/phrases and neologisms. We’ll start this off with this one from Julian Sanchez – Epistemic Closure.

One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure.


This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also renders the conservative media ecosystem fragile. Think of the complete panic China’s rulers feel about any breaks in their Internet firewall: The more successfully external sources of information have been excluded to date, the more unpredictable the effects of a breach become.

So, if “epistemology” is defined as:

The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.
And “closure” is defined as:
1. The act of closing or the state of being closed: closure of an incision.
2. Something that closes or shuts.


a. A bringing to an end; a conclusion: finally brought the project to closure.
b. A feeling of finality or resolution, especially after a traumatic experience
This phrase is a really interesting one. I think it’s safe to say that Sanchez isn’t tying the two meanings together in an effort to purify, reduce, or specifically define epistemology or the project of epistemology. What he does seem to be saying though, is  to imply that conservative thought somehow, rises up to the same ethereal level as the philosophy of knowledge itself. What a joke. Because as he also implies, the big problem with this elevated ethereal conservative philosophy of knowledge, is its propensity to fall victim to the same insular, exclusionary, and paranoid tendencies as the current Chinese State Minister of Information might have.
Nice try though.

2 Responses to “epistemic closure”

  1. BOBO Says:

    does ‘cultural relativism’ qualify? seen in Hyperion Art Journal, the gist is there but to me it somehow is like finger nails on a blackboard. Overdosing on ‘art lingo’ here.
    Great site. For your portraits do you use and printing methods and paint around it? Just wondering…again luv dah wurk…

  2. jack Says:

    thanks, the work is edition like, but i use masks/stencils instead of plate/blocks for main, consistent thematic, that allows the rest to evolve as spontaneous subtext. i like the mask as a index or vestige to the real person/thing in time as the subject. still working all this out.

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