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Of course, when you have a position that you've spent a long time thinking through, spent a lot of energy nuancing and spent a lot of debating hours refining, the chance that a single argument will shatter it wholesale is much smaller. No doubt it's partly because you have a greater emotional attachment to the idea and the narratives you use to justify it. But I think it would be silly to discount the fact that the position has already been changed and refined quite a lot.

I agree, so it's not just that one becomes more dogmatic as one gets older (though that can happen of course :-)), but that one has reviewed a lot more evidence, countered a lot more oppositional arguments - a bit like an experienced chess player.

As Popper pointed out there is value in a certain amount of what might seem like dogmatism in order to ensure that a theory is adequately defended; one shouldn't just abandon a theory due to the first bit of counter evidence without considering that supposed evidence critically.  I think he cited Newton as having rejected some observations which seemed to contradict his theories, explaining them as due to abberations in lenses, etc. - correctly.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Dec 4th, 2008 at 08:35:54 AM EST
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