In response to a question about whether state-sponsored hacking against an American political party should go unpunished, Donald Trump grew expansive, giving his typically thoughtful perspective on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and (even) epistemology:
“I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer [sic] has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on.”
So much for contemporary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – why bother with STEM when ‘nobody knows exactly what’s going on’ anyway? Perhaps one thought that science and technology made America the most advanced country in all the world, indeed, made her a world-historical place committed to study and exploration.
But then, Trump knows because he knows that no one knows – under his view, our problems aren’t just educational; honest to goodness, a theory of knowledge, itself, is pointless. It’s one big muddled scene.
Casting this last point as Trump’s attack on epistemology gives him too much credit, of course. Saying nobody knows what’s going on has a more practical value for Trump, and is merely a pose: he insists that the truth is indeterminable whenever he wishes to evade responsibility for his own lies.
We’d best hold to our educational pursuits in spite of Trump’s suggestion, and hold as tightly to the conviction that in so many matters, truths – and the lies contrary to them – are determinable.