Learned a new term today: incestuous amplification

Paul Krugman taught me a new term today:

Back during the early days of the Iraq debacle, I learned that the military has a term for how highly dubious ideas become not just accepted, but viewed as certainties. “Incestuous amplification” happen when a closed group of people repeat the same things to each other – and when accepting the group’s preconceptions itself becomes a necessary ticket to being in the in-group. A fundamentally flawed notion – say, that the Germans can’t possibly attack though the Ardennes – becomes part of what everyone knows, where “everyone” means by definition only people who accept the flawed notion.

Krugman goes on to apply this to claims about what “almost no mainstream economists,” but it’s equally applicable to my observations about academic philosophy.

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