Quote of the day: On subjective experience

As we’ve said before, the first port of call for economists is trying to frame an issue as objectively as possible.  However, in a practical sense many economists can’t help jumping in and adding some conclusions along the way.

Now, I’m no philosopher so I find it handy to keep some rules of thumb in mind when trying to figure out what value judgments seem “reasonable” to me.

the frailty of life matters more when you are on the wrong side of it

(Unattributed as I can’t remember)

This quote makes me think of two important issues when I use value judgments to reach a conclusion:

  1. Value is subjective and built on experience, so how something makes a person feel and how it came to make feel that way does matter.
  2. My own values are subjective and built on experience, so I need to correct for my personal bias when I initially look at an issue.

This is something that some other analysts need to think about, especially when they make comments like:

Being drunk in a public place should be made illegal and fines should be given to those caught

  • ben

    the frailty of life matters more when you are on the wrong side of it

    This may not be a value judgment by the person who said it. The person who said that may have polled 100 people and it turns out people frequently draw this conclusion when they’re on the “wrong side” of it, however defined. While feeling life’s frailities is values based, reporting a survey result that that is what people said is objective. Or it could be the author’s own view and a statement of their values.

    Being drunk in a public place should be made illegal and fines should be given to those caught

    A normative statement and a value judgment, agreed.

  • @ben

    “This may not be a value judgment by the person who said it”

    True, but I wasn’t saying it was per see. I was saying that it provides a rule of thumb that is useful for evaluating my own value judgments.

    “A normative statement and a value judgment”

    Add to that the fact it is a crazy statement 😀

    There go my value judgments again …

  • There is also something as Inate Knowing, which makes us realize intuitively what is right and wrong.

  • @Rose

    I agree.