I am perplexed by Alexander George's recent posting (http://www.askphilosophers.org/question/2854). He says "Your observation that we sometimes take pleasure in beliefs even if they have been irrationally arrived at seems correct but beside the point: it speaks neither to the truth of (1) nor to that of (2)." (2), in this case, is "(2) that actions guided by false beliefs are not likely to get us what we want. "
I believe the science of psychology has shown us that we form many beliefs entirely irrationally. The mechanism for their formation is often a defense mechanism. The purpose of their formation is often to hide some truth about ourselves from ourselves - to hide some unpleasant information that we would have gleaned had we formed our belief rationally.
I just can't see how the above information is "beside the point". The point is: 1) I want to be happy. 2) My beliefs are formed irrationally in order to reach that desired end. Perhaps what is beside the point is that the belief-forming mechanism is unconscious or subconscious rather than deliberate.
Professor George also seems to take offense at the questioner's tone. Perhaps this is why he ignores the questioner's question: has the site lost some of its rigor since the days of 8 responses when the panelists routinely qualified each other's positions and called each other out when answers were not sufficiently rigorous?
Regarding this offense at the questioner's tone: wasn't Socrates put to death because people were offended by his questions? It seems anathema to philosophy to take offense at questions. That the questioner did not display enough rigor in saying that a panelist's position "seems utterly preposterous" is to be expected - after all, the questioner is not a trained philosopher! As a frequent visitor to this site for many years I can say that, to me, it resembles Democracy: a place that should welcome critics as patriots.
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