The Incentives of Scientists And Philosophers: A Virtuous Competition For Status

[E]conomic reasoning would argue that people follow incentives.

The incentives of scientists are to prosecute an idea regardless of its merit.

Science does not progress because scientists are self aware, or because they employ rational criticism and judgement. (Although I think this criticism applies to the 90% at the bottom more so than the 10% at the top.)

Science advances because either another’s career advance is obtained by discrediting an existing idea, or because its author dies and can no longer defend it from, or adapt it to, criticism.

For these reasons, requesting that scientists demonstrate "understanding" of the philosophy of science is overrated – unless incentives exist to enforce that understanding.

Since it is not in a scientist’s interest to use critical rationalism, it is very hard to imagine they will.

[P]hilosophers are primarily cops: critics and articulators of what we humans say and do but do not fully understand. And honestly we are rarely inventors. And we function as critics of scientists, since it is in our interests to obtain status by criticizing scientists.

A scientist collects data and forms hypotheses. We collect arguments in support of hypotheses and criticize those arguments. That is our incentive: it is our specialization. Not data collection: criticism.

But it is patently irrational to expect scientists alone to demontrate behaviors counter to their incentives.

It’s a division of knowledge and labor in real time.

And we are supposed to be the rational ones after all.

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