While I never finished my PhD, I did spend about a year and a half researching things my supervisor would describe as ‘not relevant’.
Unfortunately for my supervisor, that stuff (the non relevant stuff) was what I spent 98% of my time on. I think it’s all pretty interesting.
The headline of my PhD was to solve fake news through a web plugin. The actual project was to slightly relieve the spread of fake news through use of a self-service web plugin that helped it’s users conduct journalist-grade background research on news stories. But the other title sounds better.
The non-relevant stuff was all about the nature of truth and knowledge, and whether we can actually say something is true or not true (which is an important question when we’re looking at qualifying the truthiness of what other people have written or said).
This series of posts are all about the philosophy of knowledge and truth.