Re: Are Beliefs Like Clothes?

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 15 Jul 1997 12:01:38 -0700 (PDT)

I wrote:
>I'm afraid you've completely lost me here. I was making an analogy to
>clothes, where one might have to trade off functionality, such as
>tennis shoes might provide, with social roles such as fashion, such as
>high heels might provide. There can be similar tradeoffs in choosing

Sarah Marr writes:
>But in the case of clothes one could argue that what was occurring was a
>trade-off of functionality: the functions of grip, support, etc. against
>the functions of leg-enhancement, attractiveness, etc. Or one could argue
>that what was occurring was a trade-off social roles: tennis shoes which
>allow one to be a part of tennis-playing society, against high-heels which
>allow one to be part of fashion-conscious society. Therefore, there is not
>necessarily a tradeoff between functionality and social role.

I agree that with a liberal definition of "functional", social roles
are also functional, and that with a liberal definition of "social"
all functions serve some social goal at some level. But while I may
not have chosen ideal terms to denote it, isn't there a distinction
here worth making? If you grant this, please suggest better terms, or
grant me the license to use my not-perfect terms.

Robin D. Hanson