28
Ago
15

Bentham’s Fallacies, Then and Now

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

MELBOURNE – In 1809, Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, set to work on The Book of Fallacies. His goal was to expose the fallacious arguments used to block reforms like the abolition of “rotten boroughs” – electorates with so few electors that a powerful lord or landowner could effectively select the member of parliament, while newer cities like Manchester remained unrepresented.

Bentham collected examples of fallacies, often from parliamentary debates. By 1811, he had sorted them into nearly 50 different types, with titles like “Attack us, you attack Government,” the “No precedent argument,” and the “Good in theory, bad in practice” fallacy. (One thing on which both Immanuel Kant and Bentham agree is that this last example is a fallacy: If something is bad in practice, there must be a flaw in the theory.)

Bentham was thus a pioneer of an area of science that has made considerable progress in recent years. He would have relished the work of psychologists showing that we have a confirmation bias (we favor and remember information that supports, rather than contradicts, our beliefs); that we systematically overestimate the accuracy of our beliefs (the overconfidence effect); and that we have a propensity to respond to the plight of a single identifiable individual rather than a large number of people about whom we have only statistical information.

See on project-syndicate.org



Time is real? I think not

agosto: 2015
L M M G V S D
« Lug   Set »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Commenti recenti

Inserisci il tuo indirizzo e-mail per iscriverti a questo blog e ricevere notifiche di nuovi messaggi per e-mail.

Segui assieme ad altri 833 follower

Latest Tweets

Alessandro Cerboni


%d blogger cliccano Mi Piace per questo: