Re: Are Beliefs Like Clothes?
Sat, 16 Aug 1997 16:56:55 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 8/16/97 7:15:50 AM, Robin D. Hanson wrote:

>>Robin D. Hanson wrote:
>>> I don't see the evolutionary function of just wanting to argue
>>> for argument's sake.

>Eric Watt Forste writes:
>>Many people have the experience (possibly illusory) of being able
>>to think more clearly, and particularly of being better able to
>>detect flaws in ideas, when they are in an argumentative frame of
>>mind. Argument also represents an opportunity to invite other
>>people to find flaws in one's ideas. Possibly argument is the chief
>>means by which ideas are improved.
>The theory needs to be coupled with a theory that explains why it is
>easier to find flaws in ideas if individual people tie themselves to
>specific ideas, rather than critiquing ideas one doesn't feel
>especially tied to.

If ideas serve a role in sexual selection, then an opposing ideas espoused by
a potential rival is obviously more of a threat than one that is not. Hence
we may have more motive to find errors in an argumentative setting than
otherwise, even with a sham rivalry.

Not a theory, but a starting hypothesis.