Prestigious costumes & cargocult philosophy
Related to 220512, 220513, and 220514.
Most interesting things that can be said about a problem like “free will v determinism” has already been said. And yet, for precisely the same reason—the length of time it has been an active topic of philosophical inquiry—free will v determinism has also acquired reputational capital, is legibly an Important Question Which Professional Philosophers Work On. So the opticratic-minded gravitate towards the appearance of progress, trading in their chances at actual progress. Pragmatic long-termists, on the other hand, opt to take a reputational hit by working on problems which are illegible or non-prestigious precisely because they are novel in their framing, conception, subject, or premise. (Moreover, non-prestigious problems are cet par less worked on, and therefore on average have more & lower-hanging fruit.) People interested in academic and idea work for identitarian reasons inevitably produce cargocult work because they are interested in costuming (noun > verb)—the extrinsic, rather than the intrinsic. (This being one of the core ideas of The Last Psychiatrist’s now-defunct blog.)