Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Question posers and agenda setters have great power"

"All praises of democracy must be embedded in a broader understanding that a) formal questions can be destructive, and b) we cannot be allowed to pose questions without limit, at least not questions which require explicit, publicly verifiable, and commonly observed answers."

That's from economist Tyler Cowen, on the Scottish independence referendum, and more broadly the dangers of rocking the coalition-boat when we ask explicit questions about resource distribution, which highlight the sacrifices various factions are making.

What can we generalize about this to cooperating groups of humans in general? What are the implications for living life in cooperation with others based on explicit rationality and constant questioning of authority? If this presents problems, what are the solutions? (Hopefully, besides regressing to "argument" from authority.)

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