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This chapter uses the case of the measles vaccine scandal to show how we, even when provided with overwhelming data showing that the vaccine doesn’t cause autism, we may under some circumstances resist such knowledge claims and even become more certain that the data are wrong or irrelevant. Although the chapter shares the common puzzlement about such fact resistance, it also introduces the book’s critique of ‘common-sense complaints’ about fact resistance as based on a naive view of people as either irrational or as having the potential to be saved from their fact resistance if they are given even more and better facts. The aim of the book is presented here: to rethink knowledge resistance by treating it as the multi-faceted and profoundly human phenomenon it is. Such rethinking requires that we do two things differently. We have to allow ourselves to gain insights from what the broadest range of human sciences have to say about knowledge resistance. Moreover, we have to leave some of our – usually negative – preconceptions about knowledge resistance aside. The chapter ends by briefly describing what the rest of the book will cover.

Knowledge resistance

How we avoid insight from others


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