Serial hyperspecializers, and how they think

The highly-regarded-but-still undervalued Elijah Millgram has a paper on this topic, and he seems to be preparing a book.  Here is one good short bit:

So one reasonable strategy for a hyperspecializer will be to divide its energies between activities that don't share standards and methods of assessment, and let's abbreviate that to the fuzzier, problematic, but more familiar word, "values." It will be a normal side effect of pursuing the parallel hyperspecialization strategy that its values are incommensurable. The hedonic signals that guide reallocation of resources between niches do not require that niche-bound desires or goals or standards be comparable across niches. If you are a serial (and so, often a parallel) hyperspecializer, incommensurability in your values turns out not to be a mark of practical irrationality, or even an obstacle to full practical rationality, but rather, the way your evaluative world will look to you, when you are doing your practical deliberation normally and successfully. Evaluative incommensurability is a threat to the sort of rationality suitable for Piltdown Man. Serial hyperspecializers gravitate towards and come equipped for incommensurability.

Here is a good review of Millgram's latest book, which argues, among other things, that truth is messy in nature.

Adam Phillips serves up a Bob Dylan quotation: "I have always admired people who have left behind them an incomprehensible mess."


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