Re: Anti-Capitalism

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Tue Apr 24 2001 - 21:08:12 MDT

Anders Sandberg writes

> In an ideal world, the kind that I think many mathematicians and
> would like to live in, political views would of course be entirely based on
> estimations of objective facts, with possibly some subjective values thrown
> in. People would believe in socialism or libertarianism because they made
> sense or benefitted them in some way. People would change their views
> depending on new information. We all know this picture is not true, but I
> wonder how untrue it is?

It seems completely true to me. (Let me ignore those cases where debaters
would suffer humiliation, so therefore continue to affirm some view, even
though they internally realize that they are totally wrong. Especially as
a kid, I hated to lose an argument with my brother, and sometimes this
would happen to me.)

In the remaining cases, when people are confronted with new information
that contradicts their long strongly held position, they can guess that
either the new information is only a half-truth, or that there is an
honest interpretation of it that is simply escaping them at the moment,
instead of instantly saying, "Okay, I've been wrong for twenty years".

> Psychological inertia (as below) can explain a lot of the discrepancy
> between the philosophers' world and the real world, ...

I wouldn't call what I have just described "psychological inertia"
(and maybe you wouldn't either). I would call it prudence.

Of course, one is then obligated to retire and carefully reconsider,
and be ready to perhaps admit that one had been wrong at a later time.

Lee Corbin

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