In order for Montag's society to get to the point where books are being burned, it was a slow, steady process of change. It was people's changing attitudes towards books, intelligence, and other people that led the process about. Beatty explains the steps that led to the firemen's existence (as known in Montag's society). He states that one reason that books becamae unpopular is because they had content that offended the "minorities" in their civilization. Everyone was offended by something in the books, so, burning them made it so that people don't have to read "offensive" material. Beatty states,
"Someone's written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book."
So many people found something offensive that all books should just be burned so that people can be happy; and that is where the firemen come in.
Beatty also stated that their society burned books to try to make everyone equal, so as to make everyone feel better about themselves:
"the word 'intellectual' became the swear word it deserved to be...you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally 'bright'...and wasn't it this bright boy you selected for beatings...after hours?"
So, books made people feel stupid, because other people read them and were smarter as a result; so, burn books in order to create "equality" in intelligence so that no one has to feel stupid.
There are other reasons that Beatty stated for burning books; one is because people simply stopped reading them at all out of laziness. Books got condensed and shortened so people could "read" them faster; pretty soon, they just disappeared because people didn't want to make the effort.
The government went along with all of this because a non-reading society is a non-thinking society that is easier to control. They jumped on society's tendency to not think and used it to keep them in control and unrebellious. I hope all of those explanations helped!
This volume collects together eleven essays in epistemology, written during the past three years. They are mostly unpublished, just four of them having appeared previously (numbers two, three, four and eleven). Detailed acknowledgement of prior publication is made in the notes to the relevant chapters. I am indebted to the editors of the several publications involved for their kind permission to use this material. And I am particularly grateful to my friend, Professor Mario Bunge, for his interest in my work and for his willingness to include this sample of it in his 'Episteme' series. NICHOLAS RESCHER Pittsburgh, PA December, 1986 xi INTRODUCTION The philosophy of knowledge covers a vast and enormously diversified terrain. Within this broad area, the essays that comprise the present book deal specifically with the following issues: 1. The moral dimension of inquiry - in particular, scientific inquiry into the ways of the world (Chapter 1) 2. The epistemic status of such cognitive 'values' of inquiry as - coherence (Chapter 2) - consistency (Chapter 3) - completeness (Chapter 4) 3. The cognitive bearing of probabilistic considerations (Chapters 5 and 6) 4. The epistemic status of certain ideal desiderata of cognition, such as - totality (Chapter 7) - precision (Chapter 8) - exactness (Chapter 9) 5.