Tyler Cowen on reasons to be dogmatic

In strict Bayesian terms, most innovators are not justified in thinking that their new ideas are in fact correct.  Most new ideas are wrong and the creator’s gut feeling” that he is onto something” is sometimes as epistemologically dubious as is the opinion of the previous scientific consensus.  Yet we still want that they promote these new ideas, even if most of them turn out to be wrong. 

In this view, the so-called reasonable” people are selfishly building up their personal reputations at the expense of scientific progress.  They are too reasonable to generate new ideas.

To put it another way, there are two kinds of truth-seeking behavior:

  1. Hold and promote the view which leads to society most likely settling upon truth in the future, or

  2. Hold and promote the view which is most likely to be correct.

These two strategies coincide less than many people think.


quote tyler cowen applied epistemology rationality