Tuesday, November 26, 2013

David Friedman on Richard Epstein

David D. Friedman (Milton's son) talks about the difference between his brain and Richard Epstein's brain:
Thinking about it, it occurred to me that I had observed the same pattern in an entirely different context, the difference between how I think and how Richard Epstein, a friend and past colleague, thinks. I usually describe the difference as my thinking in series, Richard in parallel. It shows up when he is sketching the argument for some conclusion.
A implies B. B implies C. C ...
At which point I demonstrate that B doesn't really imply C, that there is a hole in the argument. That is no problem for Richard, who promptly points out that A also implies B', a somewhat different proposition than B, which implies C', from which he can eventually work his way back to D, or perhaps E or F, and so to the conclusion that the original line of argument was intended to establish. Pretty clearly, he is running a network of multiple lines of argument in his head and only has to find some set of links in the network that gets him where he is going. I am focusing on running a single line of argument. Hence parallel vs series.
It reminded me of a scene from Malcolm in the Middle in which the genius Malcolm describes the way his mind works as a nuclear chain reaction of thought, and another (even smarter) kid says his mind is like a bee hive in which all of the bees have brains like Malcolm's. It's hard to think of anyone as smart as David D. Friedman. Richard Epstein is truly a freak of nature.

1 comment:

  1. What Meyers Briggs personality type is Richard Epstein? From my observation, he might qualify as a very high functioning and organized entp? First, he seems more extroverted than introverted. He is not afraid to talk. Second he seems more intuitive than sensing. He seems to focused on patterns, and unseen consequences... Also he doesn't seem overly obsessed with clothes and temporary pop cultural . Third, i have no doubt He is a thinker (but has also developed his feeling function). Forth, I would say he tends to be more of a perceived than a judger. Of course these are Jungian terms and this is total speculation on my part.. any thoughts?