It Is the Theorist Who Makes the Rules "Followed" by Animals, Not the Animals

Jonathan Finegold claims: "Thus, saber-toothed cats adopted evolutionary social rules, just like humans do."

No: the cats just behaved the way they behaved. They could not have "adopted" a rule, because they lack the means (language) necessary to even formulate a rule.

That cat behavior was somewhat consistent, however, and due to that consistency, the theorist can abstract a rule (since he does have language at his disposal).

Understanding this is a crucial part of avoiding the great rationalist error, which is believing that reality is only comprehensible through abstractions.

For more on this topic, see this paper.

1 comment:

  1. If I understand this correctly, then this would mean that common libertarian claims like presuppositions of property rights and "true" ownership are only in their heads, correct? So, for instance, PDAs are not merely following Rothbard's rules but generating them, correct?

    ReplyDelete