Tag Archives: bias towards the new

Jon Elster

Cela fait 25 siècles que les gens essayent de comprendre le comportement humain ou la nature humaine – disons depuis le temps d’Aristote ou de Platon. Pourquoi le dernier siècle ou la dernière décennie seraient-ils privilégiés ou plus intéressants ? Y aurait-il plus de génies ou de grands penseurs ? Il n’y a aucune raison de le penser, et de fait c’est faux. Il suffit de lire Montaigne, Aristote, La Rochefoucauld, Tocqueville, Proust, pour ne citer qu’eux : ils débordent d’hypothèses.

Jon Elster, in Marc Kirsch, ‘Entretien avec Jon Elster’, La lettre du Collège de France, no. 21 (December, 2007), p. 44

Samuel Pepys

Never since I was a man in the world was I ever so great a stranger to public affairs as now I am, having not read a new book or anything like it, or enquiring after any news, […] or in any wise how things go.

Samuel Pepys, Diary of Samuel Pepys, August 10th, 1660

Robin Hanson

[A]s a blog author, while I realize that blog posts can be part of a balanced intellectual diet, I worry that I tempt readers to fill their intellectual diet with too much of the fashionably new, relative to the old and intellectually nutritious. Until you reach the state of the art, and are ready to be at the very forefront of advancing human knowledge, most of what you should read to get to that forefront isn’t today’s news, or even today’s blogger musings. Read classic books and articles, textbooks, review articles. Then maybe read focused publications (including perhaps some blog posts) on your chosen focus topic(s).

Robin Hanson, Read a Classic, Overcoming Bias, June 28, 2010

R. M. Hare

In these days of intense academic competition, which is supposed to keep us all on our toes, one has to publish or be damned; and for advancing one’s career it is more important that what one publishes should be new, than that it should be true.

R. M. Hare, ‘Methods of Bioethics: Some Defective Proposals’, in L. W. Sumner and Joseph Boyle (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Bioethics, Toronto, 1996, p. 18