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Comment by bob_unwin8 on Do Scientists Already Know This Stuff? · 2008-05-17T22:34:00.000Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Robin said to Eliezer: "The problem comes when you seem to imply that you are the first to identify or articulate them"

Eliezer responds by saying: "Nobody except cognitive psychologists had heard of cognitive biases before 2000."

But this comment is mistaken. In five minutes of research, I came across three books by philosophers which discuss cognitive biases multiple times. One book is from 1986 (!) and the other two from 1993. With more time, I'm sure I could find many more books and papers by philosophers written before 2000. In economics, there is Richard Thaler's work which began in the 1980s. This was often published in journals read by economists. I'd be surprised if there weren't a fair number of other economists who were aware of and interested in this work pre-2000. (Also: Kahneman and Tversky's original Prospect Theory paper was published in Econometrica, a premier Econ journal, in something like 1979. It would be very surprising if at least a clutch of economics didn't get interested in this work as a result of reading that paper).

So it seems you underestimate the extent to which people interested in rationality and the philosophy of science are aware of the sort cognitive biases work that you have written about on this blog. This suggests you should be more cautious about claims to originality.

Philosophy books discussing heuristics and biases:

The Nature of Rationality By Robert Nozick 1993

Epistemology and Cognition By Alvin I. Goldman 1986

The Fragmentation of Reason By Steven Stich, 1993