Sunday, August 11, 2013


In 1949, Gilbert Ryle pointed out that many of our statements about ourselves are NOT especially unimpeachable examples of dispositional claims:
[i]f the avowal [“I feel depressed”] is to do its job, it must be said in a depressed tone of voice; it must be blurted out to a sympathizer, not reported to an investigator. Avowing “I feel depressed” is doing one of the things, namely one of the conversational things, that depression is the mood to do. It is not a piece of scientific premises-finding, but a piece of conversational moping.
Today, psychologists have provided some empirical support for this epistemological claim:
People appear to know other people better than they know themselves, at least when it comes to predicting future behaviour and achievement. Why? People display a rather accurate grasp of human nature in general, knowing how social behaviour is shaped by situational and internal constraints. They just exempt themselves from this understanding, thinking instead that their own actions are more a product of their agency, intentions, and free will – a phenomenon we term ‘misguided exceptionalism’.
This sort of misguided exceptionalism is at the heart of economists' concept of mind.

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