View Poll Results: Do you largely agree with Dr. Sowell

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Thread: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

  1. #11
    Advisor Rassales's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Economics is a social science man.
    What's your point? I mean, your very argument is the one Sowell opposes.
    Last edited by Rassales; 01-18-10 at 01:15 PM.

  2. #12
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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    What's your point? I mean, your very argument is the one Sowell opposes.
    Economics measures the wants and needs of a society and individuals.
    Sometimes it just does the raw numbers and other times is measures what motivates people to do certain things, like buying product x and why they choose that over product y.

    I think he is, generally, accurate in describing what people want to believe, particularly those we look to as the learned.

    I don't think he opposes it, the majority of his argument is that decentralized knowledge is superior to that of centralized knowledge.
    Last edited by Harry Guerrilla; 01-18-10 at 01:18 PM.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    There are ironic points in this. For example, Sowell says "the fatal misstep of intellectuals is assuming that superior ability within a particular realm can be generalized to superior wisdom or morality overall"

    The irony is that Sowell is an economist, but this discussion is about sociology.

    Yeah, pretty much. Just another intellectual who thinks he knows everything. Comedy gold.
    "Yes, but are you a Protestant atheist or a Catholic atheist?".- Northern Irish joke

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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Economics measures the wants and needs of a society and individuals.
    Actually, economics speaks only to MATERIAL wants and needs. There are a great many motivations outside the acquisition of wealth, and Sowell's topic in the video speaks to those non-wealth-oriented motivations.
    Sometimes it just does the raw numbers and other times is measures what motivates people to do certain things, like buying product x and why they choose that over product y.

    I think he is, generally, accurate in describing what people want to believe, particularly those we look to as the learned.

    I don't think he opposes it, the majority of his argument is that decentralized knowledge is superior to that of centralized knowledge.
    IF that were the only effect of his argument, I'd agree. But he's implying that "consequential knowledge" is spread out equally among the decentalized populace. That isn't true.

    If the US had problem with fawning over the learned, his point might be important (perhaps his book should be published in French). But instead we fawn over the wealthy and powerful. American culture is already makes us wary of intellectuals.

    Telling people things they already think doesn't make one's ideas important--just popular. I'm guessing his real aim is to sell lots of books by reiterating to people what they already think.

  5. #15
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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Economics is a social science man.
    Social science =/= sociology.

    Sociology is a specific branch of the social sciences. Just like psychology or economics are specific branches of the social sciences.


    Would you automatically consider Dr. Phil to be a credible economist simply because he's versed in a social science?
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  6. #16
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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    Actually, economics speaks only to MATERIAL wants and needs. There are a great many motivations outside the acquisition of wealth, and Sowell's topic in the video speaks to those non-wealth-oriented motivations.
    Yes and no, there are somethings in economics that don't always apply to material things, particularly medical care and other services.

    Which is actually where I drew my personal connection to what he was talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    IF that were the only effect of his argument, I'd agree. But he's implying that "consequential knowledge" is spread out equally among the decentalized populace. That isn't true.
    I didn't take that from him, I took the general idea that knowledge can not be centralized and that its best left to a decentralized group to decide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    If the US had problem with fawning over the learned, his point might be important (perhaps his book should be published in French). But instead we fawn over the wealthy and powerful. American culture is already makes us wary of intellectuals.
    When fawn over the learned when it supports our arguments/beliefs.

    I do agree that we love to fawn over those with wealth and power though as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    Telling people things they already think doesn't make one's ideas important--just popular. I'm guessing his real aim is to sell lots of books by reiterating to people what they already think.
    Probably true, I hated how they kept plugging his book.

    I think it was a good video for 1 thing, that simple statistics don't always tell the whole story.
    I think a lot of people should see so that they don't always take statistics as gospel.
    Last edited by Harry Guerrilla; 01-18-10 at 01:57 PM.
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  7. #17
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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Social science =/= sociology.

    Sociology is a specific branch of the social sciences. Just like psychology or economics are specific branches of the social sciences.
    Of course, they can overlap a lot though.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tucker Case View Post
    Would you automatically consider Dr. Phil to be a credible economist simply because he's versed in a social science?
    Depends on what he was talking about, I think a sociologist or psychologist could accurately describe some things with in economics.

    The idea of the token economy came from psychology.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
    —Adam Shepard

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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Of course, they can overlap a lot though.

    Depends on what he was talking about, I think a sociologist or psychologist could accurately describe some things with in economics.

    The idea of the token economy came from psychology.
    I don't disagree that there is some degree of overlap within the social sciences, just as there is overlap between the natural sciences, but the specific statement by Sowell that I'm talking about is not something that overlaps with economics.
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  9. #19
    Advisor Rassales's Avatar
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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Okay, fair enough. But I would add this, just for the record
    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    Yes and no, there are somethings in economics that don't always apply to material things, particularly medical care and other services.
    Both goods and services are material, in that they have material effect on tangiible, measurable elements of a person's life. They are inherently limited. This makes them different from the two other motivations recognized by sociology: power and prestige.

    I think Sowell's book is more nuisance than helpful because it does more to reiterate the prejudices of anti-intellectualism than to make a serious and timely warning about trusting intellectuals too much. We have nowhere near the respect for intellectuals that would warrant much attention to this argument. Our politics is dominated much more by anti-intellectualism.

  10. #20
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    Re: Dr. Sowell Intellectuals and Society

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    Okay, fair enough. But I would add this, just for the recordBoth goods and services are material, in that they have material effect on tangiible, measurable elements of a person's life. They are inherently limited. This makes them different from the two other motivations recognized by sociology: power and prestige.
    I think there are some things that you can derive power and prestige from in economics, sports cars etc.

    Your largely right though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    I think Sowell's book is more nuisance than helpful because it does more to reiterate the prejudices of anti-intellectualism than to make a serious and timely warning about trusting intellectuals too much. We have nowhere near the respect for intellectuals that would warrant much attention to this argument. Our politics is dominated much more by anti-intellectualism.
    I agree but I think instead of it being anti-intellectualism, it's more of a critical review of what is considered intellectual thought.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
    —Adam Shepard

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