[ExI] Meta question

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Sun Aug 21 20:48:28 UTC 2016

On Aug 21, 2016, at 12:36 PM, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Rational irrationality versus doublethink	Edit
> Rational irrationality is not 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, cognitive biases, and emotional appeals. 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 beliefs.
> 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.

Just to clear something up here before others jump on the bashing philosophers bandwagon, Caplan is an economist and his rational irrationality concept, though not unphilosophical smells much like an economics explanation.

Also, he introduced the idea to a wider audience in his very popular book on voters. Though he did write two (IIRC) academic papers on it, this wasn't some idea only talked about amongst academics.

And he has been critiqued on this by others. You're coming very late to the game. His book was published in 02007 and has discussed amongst economists, philosophers, political scientists, and libertarians. I'm not saying you've nothing to add here, but it's not the fact that Caplan's idea was, until you cast your eye toward the Wikipedia entry, the purview of some intellectual monks who never venture outside the halls of academe. ;)

I think there's a widespread belief that you're under the spell of here too. This is that somehow folks who come up with and write about these kinds of ideas don't ever want or seek a wider audience. It's usually the opposite: they crave a wider audience. In Caplan's case, he was quite fortunate: his 02007 book has sold well.  


  Sample my Kindle books via:
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