philosophy meta-forum

Two ships in the night: unsuccessful attempts to engage

Anne

126 day(s) ago

I wish I knew how to describe responses to a critique of one's work that go like this (brazenly assume reviewer does not know anything, realize he does, give up/ reveal unfamiliarity with basic economic terms in process): http://peasoup.us/2017/06/ndpr-discussion-forum-jason-brennans- democracy/

Christine

126 day(s) ago

Christiano wins that one.

Alison

126 day(s) ago

reveal unfamiliarity with basic economic terms in process/

Anne

Which terms?

Anne

126 day(s) ago

Institutional economics. Some kind commentator tries to help him out. But don't ever show an actual economist his "work" on adjunct pay.

Nijaz

125 day(s) ago

Brennan is comically arrogant. Thag made him rich and famous but has now cost him his reputation as a philosopher.

Anthony

125 day(s) ago

I don't think anyone should engage with Brennan or discuss his work unless he's paying for their time. That includes us, by the way.

Ian

125 day(s) ago

I see the appeal of very, very simple argumentation. The public likes it. The press likes it. Eighth graders get it. They can understand it and it makes them not feel uneducated. Fine. It's like Ayn Rand's appeal. (I worry it has similar harms, like making its fans confident about their ignorance.) But the way Brennan hides tail each and every time he gets challenged by someone who knows more is fascinating. What does he think he is doing then? He is the only philosopher I've seen (maybe McGinn? Searle?) who will publicly announce how smart he is, which is fascinating. Yet he cannot engage with other philosophers. Not for a bit. I have wondered if writing for hobbyists on a blog gives you an imagined guru status, and maybe that has become his problem. I don't begrudge him a business school salary, but if he is aiming for rich or famous he has a lot further to go. I realize he must not think so, but that is what is so funny. Keep it up, Brennan. Enjoy!

Stephan

125 day(s) ago

You guys better watch it, or Lauren's going to come here and give you all a good talking to.

Fredric

125 day(s) ago

Christiano wins that one.

Christine

Brennan says democratic theorists don't know much political science. He cites a bunch of major political scientists who agree with his model of democracy.

Christiano comes in and just gainsays mainstream political science.

Brennan gets irritated.

How is that a victory for Christiano? Isn't that Brennan's whole point?

Theodor

125 day(s) ago

Christiano wins that one.

Christine

The last lines in that exchange are also funny, because it as if Brennan thinks the only interesting thing about Christiano's critique is whether it gets his view right, as if that is all that matters. Very guru-like. Fredric, that's quite an unusual read. Irritated at engagement? I'll go with how the OP put it. How about this, too: reliably, when someone knows what they are talking about they can explain where a critic went wrong. Reliably, when someone is BSing, they just say critics are ignorant and don't explain why. When a critic is easily shown to not be ignorant of two books in political science, and makes points as obvious as those Christiano makes, you would think someone interested in argument would relish the chance to defend his selective use of just voter ignorance data*, rather than the data on how democracies fare compartively. That is a simple and direct challenge. You would especially think someone bent on applying his theorizing to the extent that he floats the idea that specific groups of people should be disenfranchised would be sensitive to objections and be eager to address them, both for the sake of improving his own view and just for the sake of figuring out what is actually the case, given such high stakes. Why no arguments back?

*Why the political scientists ought to be able to speak for themselves: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/10/dissecting-a-professors-argument-against-dumb-people-voting.html

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