Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Tyler Cowen often inveighs against the Fallacy of Mood Affiliation:
It seems to me that people are first choosing a mood or attitude, and then finding the disparate views which match to that mood and, to themselves, justifying those views by the mood. I call this the "fallacy of mood affiliation," and it is one of the most underreported fallacies in human reasoning. (In the context of economic growth debates, the underlying mood is often "optimism" or "pessimism" per se and then a bunch of ought-to-be-independent views fall out from the chosen mood.)
Mood affiliation is indeed a pervasive intellectual problem. But Tyler misses half the story. Yes, the desire to feel any specific mood can lead people into error. At the same time, however, some moods are symptoms of error, and others are symptoms of accuracy.