Tyler Cowen, fresh off a totally seperate piece but interesting (and provocative) piece on the feasibility of sustained rapid growth in an emerging markets, brings up what he is calling "One of the most popular intellectual fallacies ever" the inability to seperate status and influence in debate. Cowen's fallacy involves the inability to seperate:
"Cowen's Fallacy" might be packed into the following:
Influence is independent of discussion of influence.
I.e. what we do is independent of whether people see us do it or how those people see us.
Of course one's influence is tied tightly to one's ability to reach others, so I don't think independent is the right word. Perhaps a better way of putting it is:
A person's influence is bimodal: a fast mode associated with effectual influence, and a slow mode associated with the response of society to that effectual influence.
Which may not be easy enough to say, but allows for the possibility that there is no fallacy at all in mixing status and influence.
Oceanographer, Mathemagician, and Interested Party