Open Thoughts on Analytics
AUG 3, 2012 8:54am ET

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Data Bias: Are You a Fox or a Hedgehog?


I just got back from a vacation week at the outer banks of North Carolina – yet another great confluence of family, sun, beach, hard crabs, tuna sushi and hefeweizen.

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Comments (2)
Doesn't this mean that the issue is really a respect for reality vs. a rationalistic reliance on a frozen abstraction, i.e. a mental model that, once arrived at, is never again tested against the real world? That is not nearly as entertaining as a comparison of canines and rodents, but it simplifies the issue a bit. I know, personally, I develop models to describe the things that I understand conceptually in a compact, coherent way, but I consider the model secondary to the real-world concretes that furnished the data from which I formed that model. The Bayesian approach simply says that that model is NOT a frozen truth-generator, but a MODEL, i.e. a _representation_ of reality, subject to better information. I don't accept what I see as a false alternative, that this somehow demands "radical skepticism." It demands integrity, which to me means a respect for reality and the knowledge that I don't know EVERYTHING, NOT that I know NOTHING. Skepticism with a capital "S" is the latter and that I would reject. To declare that nothing is knowable means you can stop there. So, maybe I don't reject the very interesting distinction you bring up, just the categorical imperative Tetlock seems to tack onto it.
Posted by Alan N | Monday, August 20 2012 at 6:32PM ET
Clem Sunter, renowned South African scenario planner, together with with Chantell Ilbury, describe themselves as "... foxy, game-playing strategists". They have co-authored a series of books on Strategic Planning, based around the "... the twin metaphors of 'foxes' and 'games'". They have a site at where you can gain more insight into their thinking, and access their works.
Posted by Brian S | Tuesday, August 21 2012 at 2:56AM ET
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