Rami Gabriel

Associate Professor of Psychology, Columbia College Chicago

Rami Gabriel studies the philosophy of psychology and is founding fellow at the Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture at Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of Why I Buy: Self, Taste, and Consumer Society in America (2013) and co-author with Stephen Asma of The Emotional Mind: Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition (2019). His forthcoming book, A Suspicious Science: The Uses of Psychology, will be published by Oxford University Press.

Written by Rami Gabriel

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Fringe theories stack

Rami Gabriel

Thanks for another thought-provoking essay, Michael.

A couple things came to mind: one was Quine’s structural epistemology with the core of ideas massively connected and thus impervious to changes. The ideas farther out, the fringe, being less connected and thus more likely to be modified. Freud’s cathexis model also shimmers into mind here, the higher the stack the more highly cathected individuals become against the psychic disturbance of ideas that do not conform. A psychologist (and increasingly, big data demographers) may argue that the likelihood of adopting fringe positions is most pragmatically explained as the effect of emotional factors, like insecurity, anger, ressentime...

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