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This Topic Isn't Going to Convince You
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Usagi Miyamoto



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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 7:52 am    Post subject: I got yer motivated reasoning right here Reply with quote

I really liked the three bad assumptions we make about people who disagree with us in Kathryn Schulz' TED presentation.

1. They must be ignorant, all they need is to have the facts explained to them.

2. They have the facts but they don't come to the right conclusions, so they must be idiots.

3. They have the facts, and they're not stupid, so they must be disagreeing for their own malevolent purposes - they MUST BE EVIL!

How many internet debates have you seen or, admit it, participated in, that followed this pattern?
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 8:23 am    Post subject: No one has all the answers. Reply with quote

Anyone that assumes they have all the facts must be wrong.

No person or organization can act as a repository for all knowledge.
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Sam the Eagle



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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite a few debates both online or face to face, I must admit.

But from my experience so far the prevailing reason being:

4 - They have the same facts we do, but comes from a different angle.

Each of us is right, but wrong if seen from the other one's seat. The smaller the debate is about, the more anal we become.

Funny how roundabout we go isn't it?.

[edit] : frakkin tyops
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Last edited by Sam the Eagle on Wed May 04, 2011 7:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Usagi Miyamoto



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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2011 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you will let me, I will restate that as, they have the same facts, but they come at them with different values. You can call it perspective, or point of view, or background, whatever, but it boils down to our disparate underlying emotional reactions to a given situation. Those reactions govern whether we will choose to emphasize or ignore certain facts in our reasoning. It is distressingly easy to be blind to some facts, even when they may be objectively incontrovertible, and open to others that are more akin to fiction from an objective standpoint, because they do or don't fit our preconceptions, our expectations, or the way we want the world to be. They are our Invisible Gorillas and our B黎es Noirs. They are either immune to perception, or they loom much larger in our imagination than they do in reality.

It's a lot easier to communicate with people with shared values, because your underlying assumptions and reactions to facts will be similar. When we encounter people with different values, we run through the three bad assumptions about them (they're ignorant, they're stupid, they're evil) before we recognize that they may be none of those things (if we ever do) but that they value things differently. And it is really tough to argue about values. We can argue about their consistency, or their ontological ground, or their logical consequences, but it's practically impossible to argue someone out of they way that they feel. It goes back to the way those primitive central brain centers are giving things the thumbs up or thumbs down, dozens or hundreds of long milliseconds before the outer cortex gets a chance to work on them with some semblance of rationality.

So, it is one thing to try to inculcate children with a value, an internal emotional preference, for logic. I like the idea, even if I think it is a bit quixotic. I wonder what it can do in the face of all our other motivated reasoning skills, the ones that are desperately trying to keep us from ever having that cascade of negative emotions associated with realizing that we are wrong. Perhaps another socially useful value that we should be teaching is to value learning that we are wrong, and to value changing our minds to fit the available knowledge. It's something of a masochistic value, and it runs counter to our desire for internal consistency, so I have my doubts that teaching it will work very well. Still, some people seem to have it, so it must be possible.

I saw a related political cartoon (and if I could remember where, I'd link it) that compared "I'm not changing my mind" Bush with "Let's go where the facts lead us" Obama. The same cartoon has different messages to different people. If your preference is for consistency of values, you like Bush and you think Obama's a wishy-washy flip-flopper. If your preference is for consistency of reason, you like Obama and think Bush is willfully stupid. (I'm not making this claim more generally, it's just the cartoon.) And there is actually something useful in both stances. For example, you shouldn't change your mind based on just one new study. Yet you don't want to be impervious to the facts to the point of running off a cliff believing you're on the right track.
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Vox Raucus



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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nietzsche wrote:
Against that positivism which stops before phenomena, saying "there are only facts," I should say: no, it is precisely facts that do not exist, only interpretations....

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Dogen



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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed. The entire universe exists within the brain of every thinking thing. We don't simply experience it, we interactively create it through the lens of the mind as it passes through our sensory perception. My philosophy professors would be so proud...
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nathan



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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

//the-standard-vodka-caveat

Dogen wrote:
Assuming shared assumptions that allow communication generally will allow for the arbitration of a specific argument is a logical fallacy (of division).

Elaborate?
(for those of us not in the know)

Quote:
Wink Simply because you can communicate doesn't mean you can resolve disagreements. That requires you to share specific assumptions about certain things - the problematic things like what constitutes compelling evidence.

Compelling evidence, in any domain, derives from specific definitions. "Compelling evidence" is always local in scope. It cannot be reasonably discussed apart from specific instances except in terms of procedural rules. To say that solutions are not always resolvable is obviously true. To say, however, that the attainment of solutions which admit of a common rule set is equally likely as those with arbitrary (conflicting) rule sets is, from my seat, not intuitively obvious.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:
Dogen wrote:
Assuming shared assumptions that allow communication generally will allow for the arbitration of a specific argument is a logical fallacy (of division).

Elaborate?
(for those of us not in the know)

It's simply that you can't assume the properties of the category apply to members of that category without sufficient evidence. It's irrational to assume a blue ball is made of blue atoms, for instance. In this case, communication at large is the category, and specific arguments are members of that category. Language is a collaborative, evolving mechanism and thus not all speakers share all assumptions, but we can generally assume we have enough of these assumptions in common to communicate in a broad way with any native speaker. We can't rationally assume a random native speaker holds specific assumptions, however, because these are a function of experience. It would be irrational to assume anyone at all could engage in "lawyerese," for instance, because we recognize the shared experiences necessary to communicate that way (i.e. law school) are not universal.

Quote:
Compelling evidence, in any domain, derives from specific definitions. "Compelling evidence" is always local in scope. It cannot be reasonably discussed apart from specific instances except in terms of procedural rules. To say that solutions are not always resolvable is obviously true. To say, however, that the attainment of solutions which admit of a common rule set is equally likely as those with arbitrary (conflicting) rule sets is, from my seat, not intuitively obvious.

Cognitive biases are (for the purposes of this argument) arbitrary rules that effect every person, everywhere, regardless of their use of logic otherwise.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
Cognitive biases are (for the purposes of this argument) arbitrary rules that effect every person, everywhere, regardless of their use of logic otherwise.


There is this kind of bleary, tired, fascinated horror that everyone should go through when they scroll through the wikipedia list of human cognitive biases and begin to have a mote of conceptualization that, yes, for all my pretensions and scrabbling out of the hole of ignorance I was born into, this is me.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me that moment was (and repeatedly still is) the fundamental attribution error. Even knowing it, being aware of its influence, I still catch myself assuming everyone that drives badly is an asshole or a moron and have to talk myself out of it.
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 2:44 am    Post subject: Sometimes I just don't get people. Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
For me that moment was (and repeatedly still is) the fundamental attribution error. Even knowing it, being aware of its influence, I still catch myself assuming everyone that drives badly is an asshole or a moron and have to talk myself out of it.


But what if you are at a loss as to why some people exhibit certain behaviors around you?

Is it still a fallacy to assume you've done something wrong?
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 4:04 am    Post subject: Re: Sometimes I just don't get people. Reply with quote

Thy Brilliance wrote:
Dogen wrote:
For me that moment was (and repeatedly still is) the fundamental attribution error. Even knowing it, being aware of its influence, I still catch myself assuming everyone that drives badly is an asshole or a moron and have to talk myself out of it.


But what if you are at a loss as to why some people exhibit certain behaviors around you?

Is it still a fallacy to assume you've done something wrong?

It's not a cognitive bias, nor a fallacy in the sense of formal logic. It may be irrational, depending on the behavior ("every time I'm around that guy is in a bad mood" - he may just be a dick), but may also be the result of social anxiety or insecurity (which are fears that you will do something wrong, and your interpretation of their behavior may be a confirmation bias). Which obviously isn't an explanation for their behavior, just a tendency to assume it's your own fault.
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Usagi Miyamoto



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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alternatively, some people have difficulty modeling others' internal state, so they may find other people's behavior or reactions surprising or unexpected. This could be due to interacting with someone from a different culture, or significantly different values, an autism spectrum indication, even a developmental issue with mirror neurons.

I suppose an automatic assumption that you must have done something wrong could be a kind of cognitive bias; it seems pretty common in human-computer interactions where something goes haywire (unless the human is a software developer, in which case the assumption is always the other way around).
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usagi Miyamoto wrote:
Alternatively, some people have difficulty modeling others' internal state, so they may find other people's behavior or reactions surprising or unexpected. This could be due to interacting with someone from a different culture, or significantly different values, an autism spectrum indication, even a developmental issue with mirror neurons.

True, though in the case of ASD or a neuronal dysplasia there would be other symptoms (both social and behavioral) beyond a difficulty predicting others' internal states. Really, it's a difficult skill that everyone becomes increasingly bad at as their stress level increases (the genesis of the spotlight effect and the illusion of transparency). Social anxiety, though, is one of the most common sub-disordered reasons people seek treatment in the US, which makes it a good place to start, from an Occam's razor perspective.

Quote:
I suppose an automatic assumption that you must have done something wrong could be a kind of cognitive bias

Not in the sense we use the term in cognitive psychology, which has the implication of evolved behavior. It may be used differently in philosophy, though (if they use it).
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Sam the Eagle



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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Usagi Miyamoto wrote:


lots of interesting things



Although that description fits a lot with our usual way of behaving whenever we're discussing issues with folks coming from a different culture, it does feel incomplete. The main issue is expanding our own boundaries. There are a lot of subjects where we don't know much; assume you're the third party involved but your voice is the decisive one. For some reasons people loves to put you into that seat when a conflict happens between them alas. As you know both sides are putting their cases in the best possible light, and prepares for it, you're forced into a positon where your have to tread uncharted waters before making a decision. Even without an outside pressure, it happens that you'll wish to judge your own acts as if watching yourself from one step away; otherwise, dreaming the impossible dream would not even be something we can think of.


Usagi Miyamoto wrote:


It's a lot easier to communicate with people with shared values, because your underlying assumptions and reactions to facts will be similar. When we encounter people with different values, we run through the three bad assumptions about them (they're ignorant, they're stupid, they're evil) before we recognize that they may be none of those things (if we ever do) but that they value things differently. And it is really tough to argue about values. We can argue about their consistency, or their ontological ground, or their logical consequences, but it's practically impossible to argue someone out of they way that they feel. It goes back to the way those primitive central brain centers are giving things the thumbs up or thumbs down, dozens or hundreds of long milliseconds before the outer cortex gets a chance to work on them with some semblance of rationality.



While I agree by and large about this, there is also another common example that counters the (evil/stoopid/dumb) part: Mixed mariages. According to a 2007 survey while there is a 63% divorce' rate in France, mixed couple's rate is only 15%. If my own history can be used as an example, it's not like we love one another more, face less problems or whatsnot, but more because we had to discuss topics and explain where each of us came from early in our couple' life. As long as there is an incentive, people will find a way to cross over the emotional walls they're building around them. So yes, it's easier to relate with others sharing your own values, it's also quite easy, or hard ymmv, to notice that it's not the only way.

We're not Vulcans, and as I'll defer to Dogen' professional experience on the matter of when is best to start teach logic to a child. I'd risk a limb and say that we too need some emotional buffer/experience before starting to think/feel our way of reasoning might not be the only 'good' one, and that has to come later (past the hormonal/teen age?).
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