(Today my graduate research class begins; here is advice for new researchers.) "Son, don’t marry for money; hang around rich girls and marry for love." A joke I heard years ago from Chip Morningstar.
Bryan Caplan may be smart but his website is so much more garish than yours.
Robin, does the same caution extend to a passion for a method, a process, an activity, as for an area of personal interest? What if what you truly live for is research, methodical dissection, the questioning of assumptions, careful distinction-making, self-exposition to ideas that can change your mind, etc.? Are you then safe? Or is the caution still the same?: avoid over-relying on personal favorites and expose yourself to methods other people have found useful though you haven't. Or are the tools we develop and fall in love with exempt from such discouragements?
Two decision-making tools, in very rough terms (do I need to further define them to set up this question?): intuition and reason. If it's really not an exaggeration to say that I'm passionate about using my reasoning capacities for making decisions, should I be encouraged to set them aside in favor of gut feelings? Does it matter whether we mean coat-buying decisions or decisions about God's existence?
Or is my whole question neutralized by a badly set-up analogy: reason is that popular tool (in the relevant circles) and I've come to embrace it over what in my earlier life must have been a reliance on some combination of instinct and feeling and gut reaction? The problem is that I can't say I've ever moved away from any real passion for intuition in favor of a passion for reason; the only real zeal I've ever developed is for the latter one.
To sum up: should we be as guarded about over-reliance on our favorite tools as we should be about over-immersion in our pet topics?
I've taken undergrad courses with both Caplan and Hanson at GMU. They're both extremely smart. Debating who is the smarter of the two is really slicing hairs.
willingness to embrace uncomfortable conclusions, except on a few topics, such as free will, dualism, and libertarian ethics, where he developed strong intuitions early.
Clearly he has embraced conclusions that are uncomfortable to you!
This lunch crowd of bloggers at GMU likes to pat itself on the collective back publicly a lot, :-).
Wouldn't a more appropriate name for Ted be "Neil"?
Carl, it is easier to compare other people around me than to compare others to myself. I can identify dimensions on which Bryan is better and dimensions on which I am better, but an overall evaluation is too hard. If it were not for Bryan's claim, I'd have to go with my prior, which is that I'm unlikely to be as smart as the smartest person I know.
Robin, you wrote:
"I'm happy to report that I know of no one smarter than Bryan, and I thought that *before* he said he thought I was so smart. :)"http://econlog.econlib.org/...
Bryan has said that you are the smartest person he knows:http://econlog.econlib.org/...
Is there a disagreement here? What is your actual view?
1. You are smarter than Bryan, but 'personally know' is intended to exclude yourself.2. The two of you are sufficiently similar in apparent smartness, adjusting for self-serving bias, that you do not assign a 'high enough' credence to your superior ability to report a difference. But in this case you should be able to assign probabilities to the possibilities that Bryan is smarter, equally smart, or less so than you.3. You believe that Bryan is literally smarter than you.