Nicholas Nassim Taleb catches flack from time to time for being a perma-bear. One of my friends even complains that he doesn’t think Taleb is worth listening to because we don’t know if he has made money off his views and predictions, specifically with the hedge fund where he is a principal.

I watched the video below, and it’s obvious to me that Taleb is not a trader, nor does he claim to be. What is he then? A philosopher of sorts, it is very clear he is interested most in being epistemologically honest.

In the video Taleb does make an interesting comment… if someone points to a house and says it is structurally unsound, does it matter if it falls down a minute later, or 10 years later? The house was unsafe.

He obviously takes the same idea with the economy or the markets — if it is unsafe, it doesn’t really matter if the market goes up at times… even for years at a time. That’s an idea that is antithetical to most traders, but traders don’t focus on the same things that philosophers do.

It’s also fun to watch the CNBC talking heads completely flummoxed and unsure how to even ask him questions.

Video via Ritholtz.