Daily Archives: March 25, 2008

I recommend Predictably Irrational

I picked up Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely several days ago. It was a quick read; I finished it on the airplain ride to Baltimore. Dan Ariely is a Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT. The book’s about how the human mind makes the same kinds of mistakes over and over. We’re irrational, but not randomly irrational.

The book occasionally delves into speculation about policy implications, but it got me thinking more abstractly. I thought about political philosophy in general. Certain ideologies, such as radical libertarianism, are very wedded to the power of the free market. However, these ideas are based on a model of economics which are in turn based on a faulty theory of mind. In fact, inside any political philosophy, you’ll find a theory of human nature. If we’re finding out new things about human nature, shouldn’t our political philosophies reflect those new discoveries? Shouldn’t old political philosophies be tossed aside?