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» Book Review: Antifragile Coffee Theory

For as much as I love this book and Taleb’s other work, there is one thing that I must take issue with. It seems to me that being both a humanist and a proponent of antifragility are incompatible views. Taleb, however, claims that he is both of these things. The reason I see this as a contradiction is because human biological evolution cannot progress without stress and selection pressures of all kinds on individual humans. Thus, our attempts at saving weak individual people and trying to eliminate individual suffering may come at the expense of fragilizing the human species as a whole. Humanists, in this sense, are fragilistas.

As a humanist, one should innately value all human life and want to limit human suffering to any extent possible a position I’m in favor of. However, should this be done at the expense of fragilizing the species? Not all fragilistas have ill intentions, and good-hearted efforts to improve the human condition often paradoxically make things worse. As the old cliché goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

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