Quote of the day: On dispassionate analysis

From Tyler Cowen, comes this beaut:

A while ago a few people drew a contrast between a more dispassionate style of (blog) analysis and a more explicitly moralizing approach.  I would frame it differently.  Pluralism reigns and there are many different moral values of import.  The moralizing approach tends to leave a writer stuck in emphasizing a single value or a single comparison of values.  The so-called dispassionate approach is more likely to lead the writer to see a broader range of values and moral trade-offs.  The moralizing approach is most of all impoverished when it comes to…morality.


  • And I can’t think of a more dispassionate, and incorrect, post than Tyler has made 🙂 Seriously. The West, that once great civilisation, is as much in a moral bankruptcy as it is an economic one: we have all been let down by people like Tyler who may have been able to do something about it.

    I keep quite a passionate blog.

    • I have to respectfully disagree – remember that the conclusions drawn from passion are a subset of the conclusions you arrive from with dispassionate analysis. As a result, such analysis allows us to understand what assumption we are making when we rail for something specific! That is a great thing.

      • No, tell me how passion or dispassion changes facts: right versus wrong? It doesn’t.

        Perhaps trouble is you don’t believe in the right versus wrong bit. That amoral utilitarianism again 🙂 Noting the dictionary definition of amoral is neither moral nor immoral, but I would dispute that also: amoral is immorality by absence.

        • You can only objectively view facts by putting passion to the side when doing analysis.

          Again, any conclusion based on passionate rhetoric is a subset of the set of conclusions you get from dispassionate analysis – standing back from your emotions allows you to gain a greater appreciation for the assumptions that are being made.

          • I think it dangerous if you kid yourself you can work in some type of vacuum like that, Matt.

            • You can’t reach a conclusion without value judgments – but you can do your best to create a transparent framework before attempting to reach a conclusion. Starting with a conclusion is a lot more dangerous IMO 😉

        • Kimble

          So, a rock is immoral?


          That is all.

          • A rock doesn’t have sentience ba-boom

            • Kimble

              Which means…


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