Thursday, May 24, 2007

We Need Better Tribes

Arnold Kling summarizes Robin Hanson:
First, he is saying that most people seek a political comfort zone. They join the tug-of-war game over familiar policy arguments. They signal which side they are on by giving out what I call trust cues...

Next, he says that if one wants to add value, one stays out of tug-of-war and instead looks for issues or positions that are outside of the standard clumps. I think that his strategy is not costless. True, one encounters less resistance by "pulling sideways." But on the other hand, having not offered trust cues to either side in the tug-of-war, one is considered a freak by both.

The academic ideal of a "community of inquirers", united more by procedural than substantive values, strikes me as a much preferable option. Intellectual honesty should be the ultimate "trust cue". A commitment to being reasonable and co-operative is all anyone should demand (as opposed to reaching a pre-determined conclusion). Why can't all the world be like this?


  1. it's not that it can't be like that - just that it is not.
    Maybe you mean propose we start an intelectual honesty click. I suggest the first thing we would beed to do is to break the libertarian marxist spectrum clicks.

  2. Well said. Tribalism in academics and worse, politics, can lead to huge problems. Methadological inquiry is necessary.

  3. I mean it isn't and thus it is quite possible that any attempt to make it so will be futile if not counter productive.

    although maybe you could be a key person in a change in the way we see things



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