Friday, May 27, 2005

A little addendum to the post below.
What is the difference between these questions:

How can I be a more logical person?
How can I be better person?

Levitt avoids the latter as mere questions of value, but what are the values implied by his choice?

Just because you don't talk about values doesn't mean you don't have them. Just because you like to imagine yourself as functioning independently of your environment doesn't mean you are.
I'm arguing with people who would say that scientific genius can be quantified but that "there is no accounting for taste." "Art is merely subjective. Questions of value outside the value of the value free are merely subjective. The soft superiority of a greater social awareness is culturally determined - based on snobbery - while the superiority of the scientific imagination is clear and cool and not of our making and therfore fair."

The point is not to avoid the analysis of behavior, but to be aware that it can be applied to anyone, and that if you're going to deploy such logic you should be prepared for the consequences.

The next time you read Levitt or Lessig ask yourselves what each avoids, and ask: Why?

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