Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Maverick Rational Holism

I don't often agree with the Maverick Philosopher, but this short post is a gem:
It it unwise to second-guess oneself. The later moment of doubt almost always lacks the clarity of the earlier moment of decision; the later moment has no right to judge.

Cf. Global Rationality. (Though I suppose local rationality could cope with this, with a little help from meta-coherence.)


  1. good old meta-coherence!

    You could argue it is most productive to not re-think things you have already thought - not because you are going to get it wrong (that depends on a vast amount of variables) but because you are pretty smart (we will assume this anyway) and you were probably right the first time... But those things you haven’t thought of well - you’re probably doing them totally wrong!

    so potential gain is low for the first set of thoughts but high for the second set even if the first set has some of the more important decisions in it.

    Therefore maybe the most productive use of your awesome but still limited brainpower is to move almost automatically onto new topics.

    Some might see a danger here. but I might overlook that...

  2. I think the point of second-guessing is to reafirm the decision was correct.

    We second-guess for a reason, this reason is designed for a benefit. For those who don't like doubt, dismiss them as you please, for those who search for truth, second-guess away :)

  3. Given that the "clarity of the earlier moment of decision" is often a result of biased, motivated reasoning, I'm not sure the former moment has much of a right to judge, either. Of course, the later moment of doubt has no more claim, because it's just as likely to be biased.


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