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Deference, defiance, and power

by Michael Nielsen on March 10, 2008

Robin Hanson has some thoughts related to my recent post about the consequences of the bias towards power:

People relate to power two ways, via deference and defiance. When we defer to power, we are indeed biased to give it too much inferential weight, but when we defy power, we give it too little inferential weight. We listen too much to the powers that we feel allied with, and too little to powers we feel allied against. To think more objectively, become less allied.

Robin’s comments implicitly highlight the fact that we may be for or against power, but we rarely ignore it. Of course, being ignored is all-too-often the fate of ideas, even very good ideas, expressed by the less powerful.

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