Showing posts from July, 2018

Feeling Your Way to Error

A belief based on emotion isn't necessarily wrong. You could conclude, for example, based upon nothing but a personal feeling, that it's morally wrong to take food from starving orphans, and you would be absolutely right. However, emotional thinking as a system for arriving at truth has a number of pitfalls that become more problematic the longer a person lingers on that path.

It often overlooks a greater good in favor of immediate results. For example, I don't want to see my child experiencing emotional pain, so I jump in to solve all of her interpersonal problems, and she never learns to solve problems on her own.

It often refuses to accept hard truths. For example, a friend dies in a car accident because she couldn't get her seatbelt unfastened fast enough. It was a million to one situation with no equipment malfunctions. Does that mean that seatbelts are bad and that someone should be prosecuted? No, but it does mean that for the multitudes of people that safety devi…

You're Not as Right as You Think You Are

What does it mean to be so convinced that your opinion, judgment, or intuition is right that you can't conceive of any intelligent person disagreeing?

It means that you lack epistemic humility - regular humility's rarely discussed, mostly abandoned, stepbrother.

Epistemic humility is difficult because it comes with this simple acknowledgment: "I could be wrong." For many, that is an unbearable thought, especially when it relates to the ideas that are near and dear to our hearts. It brings psychological and emotional pain, even to the point of triggering the physiological "fight or flight" instinct designed for life and death situations.

Humans want to believe that we have an accurate and complete perception of how the world works. When that desire for certainty meets the uncertainty of our own fallibility, we are left with a vacuum that we are tempted to fill with dogmatism.

Dogmatism pushes us to devalue others for the sake of elevating our own feelings of…