Taleb: How to be Rational about Rationality: Analysis

Nassim Nicholas Tooleb has a new article How to be Rational about Rationality – INCERTO – Medium

Tooleb says the same ol’ stuff every time: scientists are overconfident, epistemological uncertainty, hidden risks, etc.

Survival comes first, truth, understanding, and science later In other words, you do not need science to survive (we’ve done it for several hundred million years) , but you need to survive to do science.

That is strait from Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature which argues that empirical observation precedes rationalism/theory. If there is such a thing as a ‘liberal philosopher’, it would be Hume, and it’s no surprise why Taleb, also a liberal, finds so much in agreement with him. This naturalist reductionist thought is found in many left-wing writings, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who like Hume supports a ‘social contract’ instead of a monarchy. Rousseau’s ‘noble savage’ concept, which posits that civilization corrupts the purity of man, is echoed in the naturalistic, anti-science writings of Taleb. It’s not good enough that Tooleb on Twitter made some comments about some left-wing professor. He’s still a liberal. My definition of ‘liberal’ is somewhat different than others, or the at least the conventional meaning of the word. If someone says they are a conservative (such as Peter Schiff) but their actions/beliefs, if implemented, would result in consequences that the far-left wants, then they are a liberal. Many liberals go to great lengths to try to show that they aren’t liberals, because they know their ideology is becoming increasingly unpopular online. He is not a social conservative and has never spoken out against gay marriage, Islamic immigration into America, or any other important cultural/social issue. I can understand a liberal holding such views, but someone who is held up as a conservative but otherwise is not conservative in any way, is dissembling.

This precedence is well understood by traders and people in the real world, as per Warren Buffet expression “to make money you must first survive”

No, the way you make money is find a bunch of people to give you money and then take “2 and 20” of that money. Warren Buffet became rich, not from buying stocks, but because he started an investment firm in the 60′s and his business acquaintances/family game him a lot of money to manage, and this was in the 60′s, long before the money-management business became as saturated as it is now.

Not only that, but he commits major academic malfeasance, misconstruing literature and studies and making egregious errors in his reasoning, which is not surprising because he is a failed academic with a curriculum vitae that is as thin as his skin, and he has zero high-impact publications under his name. Taleb for years has been promoting this superstition that options are wrongly priced. This notion underpins all his articles. In the post Four Years Later, Taleb Still Holding Grudge Against Pinker, I debunk this:

In a paper, Taleb argues that selling OOM puts is a bad idea due to the volatility explosion, but this assumes that options are priced strictly under the Black Scholes framework and that options can be traded at infinitesimally small fractions of a penny. In reality, the volatility smile or skew makes these far OOM put options much more expensive than assumed by Taleb and the Black Scholes framework, thus substantially limiting potential profit. Also, there is a minimum ‘ask’ price for OOM puts, usually a couple cents. The huge multipliers given by Taleb are under the assumption you can buy OOM options for infinitesimally small fractions of a penny, which you obviously can’t.

One can debunk all his articles like this. Nothing he says holds up to any scrutiny.