Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Were the ancients stupid?

In Whitman's class, someone was arguing that there's no such thing as primitivism, since clearly the ancients were maximizing something. I don't think this is right: the modernism-primitivism debate must be about something bigger than maximization. It's even bigger than whether they were maximizing wealth or not. It's even bigger than rational choice theory. I mean, unless the ancients were really dumb then they didn't have intransitive preferences and couldn't be turned into money pumps.

In fact, what this is about is so big that I have no idea what it's about.

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