Sunday, October 25, 2020

Justifiable Points of View

One thing I find quite frustrating and disappointing is how often people hold and cling to views that they can hardly justify. Consider:

I find that most people hold views in the bottom half of the grid with a disturbing fraction in the lower left (unwilling/strong). While they typically don't dispute the characterization of a view being strongly held, they adamantly defy the accusation they are unwilling to think hard about it. 

There are several biases at work here I'm sure. First, I think people are averse to saying their beliefs are weakly held. To many this is tantamount to admitting that they shouldn't be taken seriously. Second, admitting that one is unwilling to think hard sounds like admitting dumbness--rarely, though occasionally, a winning attribute.

Although I characterize the upper right position (willing/weak) as "completely justified", this does not imply that this is the optimal position. Rather I think people should strive for the upper left (willing/strong) but this striving should always be working to push them back towards the right as new information and arguments are revealed. 

Further, we simply don't have the opportunity to actually think hard about most things. Many are out of reach for our limited comprehension as well as our limited resources--namely time. Interestingly, this is one of the first places a lower left person will look for a defense. To wit: "While it would be great to sit around and reconsider what I have come to understand as true, who has time for that?" The second refuge is to dispute that thinking hard is necessary. To wit: "Those theoretical points are interesting, but here is what everyone knows to be true...". Both of these are simply argument from dismissiveness. "Pay no attention to the great arguments and evidence behind the curtain!"

Thinking like this is one reason I cannot take you seriously.

Consider also how this plays into the religion of voting. The moral duty to vote is a weakly justified concept

No comments:

Post a Comment