By Bryan Caplan
We don’t actually disagree that much; basically we both like debates
but couldn’t find anyone else to debate us. So we looked for something
we sorta disagree on, and will at least have fun discussing it.
At risk of getting self-referential, I disagree with Robin’s claim that we “don’t actually disagree that much.” In fact, I wonder if we could disagree more.
I think it’s ridiculously easy to construct counter-examples showing that it is often wrong to do the efficient thing. Robin, in contrast, stands by efficiency no matter what counter-examples I throw at him. I think that moral philosophy should begin with simple, concrete cases, and cautiously build from there. Robin, as far as I can tell, thinks that moral philosophy should begin with sweeping generalizations (e.g. “Always do the most efficient thing”), and throw our intuitions about simple, concrete cases to the dogs.
Of course, if I’ve totally misunderstood Robin, he’ll probably tell you so on Tuesday. One thing, though, is certain: We deeply disagree about something or other!