Gresham's Law in Philosophy?

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Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 02:17 pm
I have been wondering lately whether something analogous to Gresham's Law also applies in philosophy: Bad philosophy drives out good (philosophy).
 
PappasNick
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 04:49 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;140350 wrote:
I have been wondering lately whether something analogous to Gresham's Law also applies in philosophy: Bad philosophy drives out good (philosophy).


I didn't know what Gresham's Law was so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Here's how they state it:

"Bad money drives out good under legal tender laws."

So what would be the equivalent of legal tender laws for philosophy? In other words, as I understand it, what makes us accept both bad and good philosophy as having similar face value?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 05:21 pm
@PappasNick,
PappasNick;140384 wrote:
I didn't know what Gresham's Law was so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Here's how they state it:

"Bad money drives out good under legal tender laws."

So what would be the equivalent of legal tender laws for philosophy? In other words, as I understand it, what makes us accept both bad and good philosophy as having similar face value?


I don't think there are legal tender laws in philosophy. But there is certainly a difference between good and bad philosophy. One criterion is between those who argue to sustain their views, and those who merely assert what they believe, expecting others to believe what they assert as well.
 
PappasNick
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 05:47 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;140387 wrote:
I don't think there are legal tender laws in philosophy. But there is certainly a difference between good and bad philosophy. One criterion is between those who argue to sustain their views, and those who merely assert what they believe, expecting others to believe what they assert as well.


I don't think this is what you mean, but it calls to mind what would amount to a legal tender law in philosophy. I assert. You assert. We all assert. As long as we are merely asserting and not arguing to sustain our views we will be accepted as legal tender, as it were. It can also work the other way around. If we all are only arguing to sustain our views we are to be accepted as legal tender, the coin of the realm.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 07:06 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;140387 wrote:
I don't think there are legal tender laws in philosophy. But there is certainly a difference between good and bad philosophy. One criterion is between those who argue to sustain their views, and those who merely assert what they believe, expecting others to believe what they assert as well.


Do you have any evidence of what you call bad philosophy driving out good philosophy? And when you say "philosophy" are you talking about philosophy in general or a specific good or bad philosophy?
 
mickalos
 
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 08:25 pm
@de Silentio,
"It is certain that the easy and obvious philosophy will always, with the generality of mankind, have the preference above the accurate and abstruse; and by many will be recommended, not only as more agreeable, but more useful than the other. It enters more into common life; moulds the heart and affections; and, by touching those principles which actuate men, reforms their conduct, and brings them nearer to that model of perfection which it describes. On the contrary, the abstruse philosophy, being founded on a turn of mind, which cannot enter into business and action, vanishes when the philosopher leaves the shade, and comes into open day; nor can its principles easily retain any influence over our conduct and behaviour. The feelings of our heart, the agitation of our passions, the vehemence of our affections, dissipate all its conclusions, and reduce the profound philosopher to a mere plebeian." - An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by Hume

Having quoted that passage, I think some good philosophy gets lumped with bad philosophy simply by association, regardless of who you count as a good philosopher. The sort of people who are generally scathing of analytic philosophy would probably find philosophers like Quine, Putnam, and Nagel to be in agreement with them on some issues, while analyic philosophy would do well to pay more attention to some of the questions postmodernism raises about the foundations of knowledge, truth, and meaning.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2010 09:57 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;140350 wrote:
I have been wondering lately whether something analogous to Gresham's Law also applies in philosophy: Bad philosophy drives out good (philosophy).


I think it depends upon "where" one is looking. Bad philosophy tends to be favored by people who have not studied enough to know the difference between good and bad, and who stumbled upon the bad first. It also will be favored by those who are unreasonable, and who judge matters based upon what they want to believe rather than on what evidence they find. This is probably the majority of people. An example is Harold Kushner, author of the popular book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. His conception of God is based not upon any evidence, but upon what he wants God to be like. You can hear a short interview in which he says this, though he does not point out that it is stupid and unreasonable to judge things that way:

Rabbi Kushner: An 'Accommodation' With God : NPR

Transcript:
Rabbi Kushner: An 'Accommodation' With God : NPR

Relevant quote from the interview of Harold Kushner:

[INDENT][INDENT]What I realized is, where did we ever get the notion that worshiping power was the greatest compliment we could play to God? Why is power the most admirable virtue? If I, walking through the wards of a hospital, have to face the fact that either God is all powerful but not kind, or thoroughly kind and loving but not totally powerful, I would rather compromise God's power and affirm his love.[/INDENT][/INDENT]

Because he would rather believe a particular idea than the alternative, he concludes that what he prefers is true! Notice, no evidence one way or the other is presented, or even sought.

And that is a common way for people to judge things, not by any facts or evidence, but by personal preference. Imagine, deciding that a certain design is strong enough for building a bridge simply because one wanted it to be strong enough! It is too stupid for words. Of course, people see the issue regarding the bridge more clearly than regarding God, so they are apt to not be consistent in this. This may be due to the reasons stated by Bryan Caplan:

[INDENT][INDENT]The gist of my theory is that people persistently hold wildly irrational religious beliefs because the material cost is usually very low. In terms of daily life, what difference does it make if the earth is 6000 years old or 6 billion? So it's not surprising how readily people shut their eyes to the geological evidence. In contrast, when the cost of irrationality is high, believers conveniently forget the teachings of their religion. Lots of religions promise paradise to martyrs, but adherents eager to die for their beliefs are one-in-a-million.[/INDENT][/INDENT]
[INDENT][INDENT]Why Religious Beliefs Are Irrational, and Why Economists Should Care[/INDENT][/INDENT]

There are countless examples of this. We can compare the popularity of William James' The Will to Believe with the popularity of William Kingdon Clifford's The Ethics of Belief and see that the essay which is filled with foolishness is the most popular. This is because the foolish essay tells people what they want to be told. That the one is foolish can be seen by reading the book that can be found via:

The Ethics Of Belief

But with reasonable people (all three or four of them in the world), bad philosophy does not drive out good philosophy.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2010 10:41 am
@kennethamy,
I read that ethics of belief book the last time you linked it Pyrrho, and liked it a lot. Was nice to see burger expanding on all the problems I had with James' reasoning as I read his piece.

************

I don't think bad philosophy drives out good philosophy. I think bad philosophers drive out good philosophers. The proof is that you are here on this forum to discuss it instead of craigslist :p

I don't mind replying to someone I think is vastly mistaken, but I don't want to reply to someone who isn't seeking out answers.
 
Emil
 
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2010 10:59 am
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;141250 wrote:
I think it depends upon "where" one is looking. Bad philosophy tends to be favored by people who have not studied enough to know the difference between good and bad, and who stumbled upon the bad first. It also will be favored by those who are unreasonable, and who judge matters based upon what they want to believe rather than on what evidence they find. This is probably the majority of people. An example is Harold Kushner, author of the popular book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. His conception of God is based not upon any evidence, but upon what he wants God to be like. You can hear a short interview in which he says this, though he does not point out that it is stupid and unreasonable to judge things that way:

Rabbi Kushner: An 'Accommodation' With God : NPR

Transcript:
Rabbi Kushner: An 'Accommodation' With God : NPR

Relevant quote from the interview of Harold Kushner:
[INDENT][INDENT]What I realized is, where did we ever get the notion that worshiping power was the greatest compliment we could play to God? Why is power the most admirable virtue? If I, walking through the wards of a hospital, have to face the fact that either God is all powerful but not kind, or thoroughly kind and loving but not totally powerful, I would rather compromise God's power and affirm his love.[/INDENT][/INDENT]Because he would rather believe a particular idea than the alternative, he concludes that what he prefers is true! Notice, no evidence one way or the other is presented, or even sought.

And that is a common way for people to judge things, not by any facts or evidence, but by personal preference. Imagine, deciding that a certain design is strong enough for building a bridge simply because one wanted it to be strong enough! It is too stupid for words. Of course, people see the issue regarding the bridge more clearly than regarding God, so they are apt to not be consistent in this. This may be due to the reasons stated by Bryan Caplan:

[INDENT][INDENT]The gist of my theory is that people persistently hold wildly irrational religious beliefs because the material cost is usually very low. In terms of daily life, what difference does it make if the earth is 6000 years old or 6 billion? So it's not surprising how readily people shut their eyes to the geological evidence. In contrast, when the cost of irrationality is high, believers conveniently forget the teachings of their religion. Lots of religions promise paradise to martyrs, but adherents eager to die for their beliefs are one-in-a-million.[/INDENT][/INDENT][INDENT][INDENT]Why Religious Beliefs Are Irrational, and Why Economists Should Care[/INDENT][/INDENT]There are countless examples of this. We can compare the popularity of William James' The Will to Believe with the popularity of William Kingdon Clifford's The Ethics of Belief and see that the essay which is filled with foolishness is the most popular. This is because the foolish essay tells people what they want to be told. That the one is foolish can be seen by reading the book that can be found via:

The Ethics Of Belief

But with reasonable people (all three or four of them in the world), bad philosophy does not drive out good philosophy.


I never heard of Bryan Caplan but I have had a similar theory in mind for some time.

---------- Post added 03-19-2010 at 06:00 PM ----------

Jebediah;141256 wrote:
I read that ethics of belief book the last time you linked it Pyrrho, and liked it a lot. Was nice to see burger expanding on all the problems I had with James' reasoning as I read his piece.

************

I don't think bad philosophy drives out good philosophy. I think bad philosophers drive out good philosophers. The proof is that you are here on this forum to discuss it instead of craigslist :p

I don't mind replying to someone I think is vastly mistaken, but I don't want to reply to someone who isn't seeking out answers.


Yes, the Burger book is very much worth reading.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2010 12:58 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;141250 wrote:
I think it depends upon "where" one is looking. Bad philosophy tends to be favored by people who have not studied enough to know the difference between good and bad, and who stumbled upon the bad first. It also will be favored by those who are unreasonable, and who judge matters based upon what they want to believe rather than on what evidence they find. This is probably the majority of people. An example is Harold Kushner, author of the popular book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. His conception of God is based not upon any evidence, but upon what he wants God to be like. You can hear a short interview in which he says this, though he does not point out that it is stupid and unreasonable to judge things that way:

Rabbi Kushner: An 'Accommodation' With God : NPR

Transcript:
Rabbi Kushner: An 'Accommodation' With God : NPR

Relevant quote from the interview of Harold Kushner:
[INDENT][INDENT]What I realized is, where did we ever get the notion that worshiping power was the greatest compliment we could play to God? Why is power the most admirable virtue? If I, walking through the wards of a hospital, have to face the fact that either God is all powerful but not kind, or thoroughly kind and loving but not totally powerful, I would rather compromise God's power and affirm his love.[/INDENT][/INDENT]Because he would rather believe a particular idea than the alternative, he concludes that what he prefers is true! Notice, no evidence one way or the other is presented, or even sought.

And that is a common way for people to judge things, not by any facts or evidence, but by personal preference. Imagine, deciding that a certain design is strong enough for building a bridge simply because one wanted it to be strong enough! It is too stupid for words. Of course, people see the issue regarding the bridge more clearly than regarding God, so they are apt to not be consistent in this. This may be due to the reasons stated by Bryan Caplan:

[INDENT][INDENT]The gist of my theory is that people persistently hold wildly irrational religious beliefs because the material cost is usually very low. In terms of daily life, what difference does it make if the earth is 6000 years old or 6 billion? So it's not surprising how readily people shut their eyes to the geological evidence. In contrast, when the cost of irrationality is high, believers conveniently forget the teachings of their religion. Lots of religions promise paradise to martyrs, but adherents eager to die for their beliefs are one-in-a-million.[/INDENT][/INDENT][INDENT][INDENT]Why Religious Beliefs Are Irrational, and Why Economists Should Care[/INDENT][/INDENT]There are countless examples of this. We can compare the popularity of William James' The Will to Believe with the popularity of William Kingdon Clifford's The Ethics of Belief and see that the essay which is filled with foolishness is the most popular. This is because the foolish essay tells people what they want to be told. That the one is foolish can be seen by reading the book that can be found via:

The Ethics Of Belief

But with reasonable people (all three or four of them in the world), bad philosophy does not drive out good philosophy.


I would agree with Peirce that if James wants to call his philosophy "pragmatism', Peirce will be obliged to change the name of his philosophy to "pragmaticism". On the other hand, as I have said, only the best philosophers make the best mistakes, and James made some doozies. He is worth reading if only for that, and for learning how, as someone once said, "to write like an angel". Of course, "with reasonable people" bad does not drive out good philosophy. If it did, how could they possibly be reasonable people?
 
Ascendere
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 10:23 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;140350 wrote:
I have been wondering lately whether something analogous to Gresham's Law also applies in philosophy: Bad philosophy drives out good (philosophy).


Okay so from my recent season in Academic Decathalon the economic laws have been drilled into my mind. To clarify, Greshem's law states that bad money drives out good money from the economy due to hoarders. E.G when the silver content of a quarter drops from, say, 50% to 13% then the commodity value of the old quarters becomes higher than the fiat value of the new ones, and people stash the old ones to sell at a higher price later. So there can really be no such concept in philosophy. How could someone hoard good philosophy? and how would that drive out the good philosophy?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 23 Mar, 2010 11:56 pm
@Ascendere,
Ascendere;142811 wrote:
Okay so from my recent season in Academic Decathalon the economic laws have been drilled into my mind. To clarify, Greshem's law states that bad money drives out good money from the economy due to hoarders. E.G when the silver content of a quarter drops from, say, 50% to 13% then the commodity value of the old quarters becomes higher than the fiat value of the new ones, and people stash the old ones to sell at a higher price later. So there can really be no such concept in philosophy. How could someone hoard good philosophy? and how would that drive out the good philosophy?


The cause of bad philosophy driving out good philosophy is different from the cause of bad money driving out good money, of course, since philosophy and money are different.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 24 Mar, 2010 07:43 am
@kennethamy,
I would propose that Weed's law is just as valid: good philosophy drives out bad (with the exception of American university campuses). Of course, either law leaves open what "good" philosophy is, while Gresham's law, applying to coinage, does not.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 24 Mar, 2010 07:52 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;142979 wrote:
I would propose that Weed's law is just as valid: good philosophy drives out bad (with the exception of American university campuses). Of course, either law leaves open what "good" philosophy is, while Gresham's law, applying to coinage, does not.


I think you mean that either law leaves it open what good philosophy is. And don't forget British, and even a few continental institutions. They indulge in what you might call, "bad" philosophy, too. French, German, and Italian institutions are not the only ones in Europe. And then, of course, there are those in Australia, Canada, and so on.
 
Doubt doubt
 
Reply Wed 24 Mar, 2010 09:39 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;140387 wrote:
I don't think there are legal tender laws in philosophy. But there is certainly a difference between good and bad philosophy. One criterion is between those who argue to sustain their views, and those who merely assert what they believe, expecting others to believe what they assert as well.


seems like less assertion and more discussion should be going on. my view changes with every new bit of info i get. this may not be apparent as i have alot of info already so not often does something come along to effect my view drastically. it only takes me a few minutes to tell if someone im talking with will not change their view for any reason. sadly this is when i end the conversation.
 
Ascendere
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 08:02 pm
@Doubt doubt,
Doubt doubt;143033 wrote:
seems like less assertion and more discussion should be going on. my view changes with every new bit of info i get. this may not be apparent as i have alot of info already so not often does something come along to effect my view drastically. it only takes me a few minutes to tell if someone im talking with will not change their view for any reason. sadly this is when i end the conversation.

Some decide, sadly, to use the term 'philosophy' for their own benefit. To assert their ideas. I drop conversations with people, too. Most don't want to learn or discuss if their veiws are challenged.

Getting back on topic, if bad philosophy gets enough followers the it could drive out good philosophy. Bad is any philosophy based on bad intentions or faulty logic.
 
PappasNick
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 08:14 pm
@Ascendere,
Ascendere;144934 wrote:
Bad is any philosophy based on bad intentions or faulty logic.


I wonder if we can catalog bad philosophic intentions here.
 
Ascendere
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 09:39 pm
@PappasNick,
PappasNick;144936 wrote:
I wonder if we can catalog bad philosophic intentions here.

It's hard, but through analysis you can figure it out.
 
north
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 09:46 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;142986 wrote:
I think you mean that either law leaves it open what good philosophy is. And don't forget British, and even a few continental institutions. They indulge in what you might call, "bad" philosophy, too. French, German, and Italian institutions are not the only ones in Europe. And then, of course, there are those in Australia, Canada, and so on.


no US bad philiosophy , interesting
 
Ascendere
 
Reply Sat 27 Mar, 2010 09:52 pm
@north,
north;144969 wrote:
no US bad philiosophy , interesting

Haha no Western philosophy bad. For the most part.
 
 

 
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