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Logic & Scientific Philosophy

Small compilation of thoughts

So instead of doing a post on a fallacy or syllogism, I would like to take a few minutes to try and see why there are so many examples of things that before decomposed, many people believe. Could it be that it is just in our nature to take something as true, if it is stated in a convincing or persuasive way?

In psychology class we learned that there are such things as “false consensus effect”, if we believe something we tend to think that others agree with us. Eg. A writer is likely to believe that everyone enjoys reading and writing.

We are also more likely to believe something if it is told to us by an authority figure, such as a teacher.

We also have something called the “hindsight bias” the “knew it all along” feeling. What is curious about that, is how ready we are to say we knew something someone just proved before it was proved. Even if we believed in it before, since we ourselves made no effort to check whether or not it was correct how can we try to call it knowledge instead of what it is? Speculation.
When I ask myself that the first thing that comes to my mind is logic, we believe it because it makes sense, we didn’t need someone to tell us the law of gravity before we knew that if we jumped we would fall back down.
Yet things like common sense, contrary to its name are not even the same to all of us. For my family it is common sense that if you are cold you are more likely to get sick, however I have found that most Canadians disagree with me. So how can we differentiate, can we ever truly tell someone “I told you so” on a discussion based on where our thoughts rather than facts lead us? Aren’t we relying a bit on luck before someone fully proves something? Or someone else decomposes it?

I hope that someone will care to decompose my post.

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Small compilation of thoughts

  1. I think it’s great that you’re able to take philosophy and psychology in high school. Most people can’t. When I studied high school, the only non-standard courses I was able to take were ancient history and economics.

    I think that if people knew more about how they reason, what causes them to believe certain things, and how to correct for certain well-known psychological effects, people would be less inclined to simply accept things, even ‘common sense’ things, as true.

    Posted by Stephen Downes | October 5, 2012, 2:18 pm
  2. I remember coming across this wikipedia list of Cognitive Biases (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases) and feeling a mild sense of helplessness at all of the various ways that our perception and reasoning are impeded by various social and personal bias, much of which we have little control over. I think Stephen’s point, that “if people knew more about how they reason, what causes them to believe certain things, and how to correct for certain well-known psychological effects, people would be less inclined to simply accept things.” What has been inspiring to appreciate about the type of thinking that is going on in the Philosophy course – as well as where our studies have overlapped in the AP Psych course – is that it is so rare (in school as it is in the wider culture), but is the change (well, one of them…) I would love to see in the world.

    Posted by Bryan | October 5, 2012, 5:11 pm

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