Paradoxical knowledge

“Paradoxical knowledge” is a term in psychology research that describes pretended knowledge although it is rather clear that a person doesn’t have it – because the usual qualification is missing , a former qualification is outdated and it largely contradicts accepted knowledge. PK or KP seems a good term to describe the Corona denier phenomenon as seen in Homburg, Bhakdi and Lütge.

To avoid uncertainty, people may take a shortcut to knowledge. They recognize something as unknowable, but claim to know it nonetheless.

The quote above is from the  2019 paper of Gollwitzer and Oettinger which itself is based on earlier work 2017 by Burlando

The KP provides a unifying context for the sorites and the liar paradoxes. Any concept is viewed as a sorites, i.e. it is impossible to set a boundary between what is, and what is not, the entity to which the concept refers. Hence, any statement about reality can be reduced to a liar, wherefrom the KP follows in its most general form: -If I know, then I do not know-. The KP is self-referential but not contradictory, as it can be referred to two levels of knowledge: -if I know (epistemic), then I do not know (ontic)-, where the ontic level is made unachievable by concept vagueness. Such an interpretation of scientific knowledge provides an understanding of its dynamics.

The dynamics are clear: liars get aggressive whenever you catch the lies while developing even a tendency to fanatism. Epistemic paradoxes –  they are forever young in particular in old men.

The general structure of Meno’s paradox is a dilemma: If you know the answer to the question you are asking, then nothing can be learned by asking. If you do not know the answer, then you cannot recognize a correct answer even if it is given to you. Therefore, one cannot learn anything by asking questions.