Bryan Caplan  

Philosophical Correlations

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Public opinion research on philosophers was long in coming, but the results have been worth the wait.  Here are a bunch of tables summarizing the correlations between philosophers' positions.  Some are surprisingly low considering that they're near-tautological.  "Moral judgment: cognitivism" only has a .57 correlation with "Meta-ethics: moral realism."  But there are many substantive findings. 

A few highlights:
  • Meta-ethics: moral realism has a .42 correlation with Aesthetic value: objective, a .30 correlation with Science: scientific realism, and a .23 correlation with Free will: libertarianism.
  • Free will: libertarianism has a -.19 correlation with Normative ethics:consequentialism, a -.18 correlation with Politics: egalitarianism, and a .14 correlation with Politics: libertarianism.
Overall, my package of views matches the philosophy profession's correlations well.  The main exception: Given my other views, you'd expect me to be a theist, which has a .40 correlation with Free will: libertarianism, a -.20 correlation with Politics: egalitarianism, a .20 correlation with Normative ethics: consequentialism, and a .18 correlation with Meta-ethics: moral realism.  Tyler Cowen will likely be amused.
  

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COMMENTS (8 to date)
Jason Brennan writes:

Moral cognitivism does not imply moral realism. There are at least two types of moral cognitivism (1. error theory, 2. cognitivist expressivism) which are not realist. 2 is quite popular now-a-days.

JP98 writes:

Your not being a theist points up an issue that most libertarians seem to studiously avoid: what is the basis for the value libertarianism places on individual freedom? If it's not gounded in consequentialist arguments, then what's the source?

fundamentalist writes:

Yes, you place great value in neuro and evolutionary psychology, both of which are deterministic. How do you come up with free will?

Urstoff writes:

When the original survey came out I was surprised to find so many people accept the analytic-synthetic distinction.

Doc Merlin writes:

'Your not being a theist points up an issue that most libertarians seem to studiously avoid: what is the basis for the value libertarianism places on individual freedom? If it's not gounded in consequentialist arguments, then what's the source?'

Silly consequentialists. What is the value that consequencialists place on their consequences? Ultimately at its base all value is arbitrary and subjective (Thanks Menger). The consequencialists just try to take a few steps removed from that to convince themselves that it isn't so.

Ultimately utility functions have no basis, except for ideological evolution; individuals with bad utility functions fail to pass on their memes.

kzndr writes:

"a .20 correlation with Normative ethics: consequentialism"

based on the link, shouldn't that be "not Normative ethics: consequentialism"? which, obviously, makes more sense: theists are generally not consequentialists.

Doc Merlin writes:

@Kzndr
Consequencialists are still normative ethictists. They say "this is bad because of what it leads to" that is still a normative claim.

JP98 writes:
Consequencialists are still normative ethictists. They say "this is bad because of what it leads to" that is still a normative claim.

I wish more people (including Bryan/Arnold/David) were interested in discussing this topic. IMO it's a 300-pound gorilla sharing the room with libertarians.

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