Bryan Caplan  

Persuading Tyler Cowen

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Tyler's said this before, but it still flabbergasts me:

It's funny how Bryan thinks he can cite my actions as evidence against the correct belief. That's absurd; for instance I also don't act as if determinism is true, but citing that doesn't settle the matter.
The best way to persuade people is normally to find a mutually acceptable starting point. How do you persuade a person who scoffs at the place where he starts?

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COMMENTS (5 to date)
Franklin Harris writes:

You know, if determinism is true, Tyler wouldn't act any differently, anyway. That's kinda the point of determinism.

curtis writes:

The rational response to a performative contradiction is not to embrace it but to eliminate it: either change your belief or change your practice. Tyler's refusal to do this represents an uncharacterstic lapse by an otherwise eminently rational man. He is saying, in effect: Sometimes I believe A. But because I also sometimes believe not-A, it is unfair to use my belief in A as evidence for A.

Not one of his stronger positions.

liberty writes:

It seems like a linguistic trick. Its true that what he believes doesn't prove the truth, but how he acts does show what he believes.

The fact that he wouldn't act differently depending upon his beliefs for a few cases (such as, perhaps, determinism) is not relevant to the particular case in question.

In the particular case, he would act differently if he believed differently.

Lamar writes:

Curious that an economist of Tyler's stature would maintain that revealed preference is no big thing.

Chuck writes:

It seems perfectly reasonable to me to say that people often don't live up to their aspirations and beliefs.

I believe that I would be healthier if I lost weight, and yet I do not do that. Do I actually believe that I don't need to lose weight? No, I'm just not succeeding at it.

We are not computers, we are organic beings. When you guys depart from financial transactions into human behavior (like dating) and philosophy (a subject as rediculously unquantifiable as 'alikeness') you are simply not saying anything useful.

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