Friday, August 07, 2015

Adversarial Collaboration

David Shariatmadari's profile of Prof. Daniel Kahneman has lots of fascinating details, including some about his childhood years in Nazi-occupied France. In the section on Kahneman's intellectual contributions, we find this episode which I think is fantastic:

... Then there is the concept of adversarial collaboration, an attempt to do away with pointless academic feuding. Though he doesn’t like to think in terms of leaving a legacy, it’s one thing he says he hopes to be remembered for. In the early 2000s Kahneman sought out a leading opponent of his view that so-called expert judgments were frequently flawed. Gary Klein’s research focused on the ability of professionals such as firefighters to make intuitive but highly skilled judgments in difficult circumstances. “We spent five or six years trying to figure out the boundary, where he’s right, where I am right. And that was a very satisfying experience. We wrote a paper entitled ‘A Failure to Disagree’”.

Fortunately, that paper is available online.