[ExI] Meta question

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 21 19:36:11 UTC 2016

Rational irrationality versus doublethinkEdit

Rational irrationality is not doublethink
<https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink> and does not state that the
individual deliberately chooses to believe something he or she knows to be
false. Rather, the theory is that when the costs of having erroneous
beliefs are low, people relax their intellectual standards and allow
themselves to be more easily influenced by fallacious reasoning
<https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy>, cognitive biases
<https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias>, and emotional appeals
<https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_emotion>. In other words, people
do not deliberately seek to believe false things but stop putting in the
intellectual effort to be open to evidence that may contradict their

>From the Wikipedia link provided by Dan

Now you know me, I don't mind making a fool of myself (as you may have
noticed).  I have no philosophy degree and cannot even be said to be well
read in the classics much less modern philosophy.

And yet the above paragraph makes little sense to me.  In fact, I think
it's stupid - stupid in my definition being knowing better but not doing
better. This rational irrationality seems to fit this perfectly.

But it's at low cost, you say.  Huh?  What costs?  How about self-esteem,
self-respect?  Pretty important to the moral person wouldn't you say?  To
ditch your rationality in favor of emotional appeals, cognitive biases, and
fallacious reasoning is just treason or blatant hypocrisy in the context of
a highly rational and moral person.  In my terms, it's cognitive dissonance
big time.  To say that it's not consciously done seems beside the point:  a
highly rational and moral person keeps the contents of his mind under guard
at all times - self-monitoring some call it.

I would not refuse to believe that a person could do these things, but I
would have little respect for such a person.

I respect philosophy, but it seems to be somewhat insular - staying to
themselves, publishing only in their own journals - much like psychology
does, in fact.  I think there should be much more interplay and
conversation, such as I am trying to provide here.

I'll read the rest of Caplan, but will leave my comments if any for later.

bill w

On Sat, Aug 20, 2016 at 9:24 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com>

> On Sat, Aug 20, 2016 at 5:52 PM, John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Sat, Aug 20, 2016  Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >> >
> >> Somewhere over
> >> half way into the movie (which hit number one in Germany) Hitler has a
> >> flash of insight where he says if it wasn't me it would have happened
> >> anyway with someone else.
> >
> > I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with Hitler about that.
> It's the Hitler character.  I don't think Hitler himself had that much
> insight.
> > I think if Hitler
> > had never been born WW2 would not have happened, or at least the European
> > part wouldn't have.The general population was enthusiastic when German
> > troops marched into the Rhineland in 1936 and they approved the
> annexation
> > of Austria in 1938 so those things probably would probably happened even
> > without Hitler.
> You know more about this segment of history than I do.
> > But the German people were far less enthusiastic about
> > occupying Czechoslovakia in 1939 and even less so about marching into
> Poland
> > 6 months later. Hitler really had to push for those last two and that's
> what
> > started the War and I don't think that would have happened without him.
> I suspect that eating up countries is like eating potato chips, it's
> hard to stop.
> >> The problem is much wider than Germans or Americans.  It's humanity
> >> wide that the perception of a bleak future (relative to the past and
> >> present) flips a population wide behavioral switch that puts the
> >> population on the way to war.
> >
> > But In Germany in the late 1930s the country was in a clear economic
> > upswing, hyperinflation was long over, people had jobs and they were
> doing
> > pretty well and there was every reason to believe their children would do
> > even better, but that's when Germany started a World War because Germany
> was
> > being lead by a madman. Economics certainly plays a important part in
> > history, but so do individuals.
> A madman who became Der Fuhrer due largely to the bad economics of the
> time when the Germans elected him.  History has a long tail.
> >> A rational view is that (on average) you loose
> >> wars half the time.
> >
> > If it's a nuclear was you loose 100%
> > of the time. And the Allies won WW2 but other than stopping a madman it's
> > not clear exactly what they won.
> Unfortunately rational thinking is one of the casualties of the mode
> turned on by perception of a bleak future.
> >>> >  In 2016 the richest 62 people on the planet
> snip
> >> It would help if the very rich decided it was in their interest for
> >> the bulk of the population to see that they have a bright future, but
> >> directly redistributing their wealth will not fix the problem, they
> >> don't have enough to do it.
> >
> > There is not less wealth in the world today than there was 30 years ago
> > there is considerably more,
> On a per capita basis, I wonder.  Most of the increase in world per
> capita income in the last 30 years has happened in China.
> EP/memes/War theory says that as long as they see a bright future,
> i.e., one better than the current or at least not worse, war mode
> thinking will not arise in China.  A good part of the problem in the
> US is that the average worker got used to a high and increasing
> standard of living.  Toward the end, the standard of living was held
> up by the housing bubble.  High energy prices seems to be a major
> contributor to the collapse.
> > but it is being distributed into far fewer hands.
> From an EP viewpoint, I am not sure how much of a problem that is.  We
> need to sort out how the super rich use their resources.  If they are
> using them as founding capital for new industry, that's one thing.  If
> they just sit on vast amounts of non circulating money that's another.
> I suspect that's what happened since the injection of vast amounts of
> money post 2008 does not seem to have caused inflation.  The worry is
> about deflation.
> Economies are emergent.  I don't think anyone actually understands
> them.  However, Gail Tverberg is one of the few who couples energy and
> debt into the model.
> Keith
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