Blog cafe Ideas from dogma

Written by The Financial Express | Updated: Aug 29 2008, 03:04am hrs
Thats another request; the exact wording was The five best reasons to think you should be more dogmatic about the economic beliefs you are not dogmatic about.

Ill give one reason, namely that, somewhat counterintuitively, dogmatism can further the generation of new ideas. Yes, this does require a special meaning of the word dogmatic. Im not talking about a grouchy guy who goes harumph whenever he counters a new idea. Im talking about the person who generates the new idea! 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 creators 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. Which do you prefer and why