by Noah Smith
Noahpinion (September 03 2012)
Bryan Caplan is a thinker who is famous for his introspection. When he asks a question – “Why do people go to college?”, or “Why are poor people poor?”, his instinct is to carefully examine his own pre-existing ideas on the topic. Turning his own beliefs over and over, he examines them from every possible angle, mining his brain for insights.
This sounds like I’m making fun of Bryan, but really, introspection is quite a good technique for understanding the world in many cases. It can tell us much about how consciousness and reason work, about what is right and wrong (because morals = opinions), and other interesting topics. And to the degree that we accumulate knowledge incidentally or accidentally, introspection is valuable because it samples the influences we’ve accidentally aggregated. But, that said, there are questions for which introspection tends not to…
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