Re: Understanding Academia

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Fri May 05 2000 - 10:47:22 MDT

steve-nichols wrote:
>... I have always refused to submit any of my MVT (Median Vision Theory)
>material to any academic journals ..... mainly because they don't pay
>much but expect all the reproduction rights. Since I am not a "career
>academic" publishing in these journals and playing the silly game you
>detail, always seemed pointless to me. I prefer to retain my own copyrights.
>...In my case, MVT offers a solution to the hard/ mind problem in philosophy,
>which reduces all the second-order theorising and "made-up names" that
>comprises the "Analytic" school of philosophy. Academics want to perpetuate
>problems, not solve them ... it simply isn't in their interest to shorten
>their "philosopher's debate."

It seems to me that you *are* playing in the academic game, even if you
don't realize it. Academia has succeeded across many centuries as remaining
the most authoritative source people turn to when asking abstract questions.
You can see this by seeing who reporters ask, or policy makers ask, when they
want to ask a question about an area they don't know very well. And you
can see by who people give money to in order to help abstract questions get
better answered. Although we might think we see lots of inefficiencies in
how it works, we must acknowledge that it has so far beat most competitors
hands down in the niche it competes for.

If you are trying to convince the world you have a better approach to the
mind body question, you are most certainly competing most directly with
academics. You may be choosing a different strategy from they, but you
are playing the same game: convincing people you are an authority on an
abstract topic.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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