A Peaceful Philosophy / Theory of Communication?

I completely agree with this. Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow should be required reading for lots of people, but especially leaders and scholars IMO. Our brains use shortcuts that usually help us a lot but that can make good decision-making much more difficult.

To me, that’s a different idea. Recognizing that cognitive biases afflict all minds is useful indeed, but generosity and empathy are what is needed for irenic conversation about anything. Without those latter assets, knowledge about cognitive bias can become just another weapon in a culture war. This happens a lot, in fact.

So, if your intent is to draw attention to cognitive bias and how it affects human judgment, then I agree and would join you or others in making it a goal of PS to discuss and highlight this. But I doubt that this knowledge alone can be very helpful in building trust, encouraging humility, or prioritizing respect. Just my opinions.

That is interesting. I wasn’t aware of that, guess I had my idealistic hat on. Do you know if that is backed up by studies, or is it more of a personal observation?

I definitely agree with this, and even if people do become aware, it doesn’t mean that they will be consistently aware. Speaking from personal experience on that one, as my consciousness of it floats in an out. Reminding people of it each conversation is definitely not an option

The other issue for what I wrote, is that it is based on me reading a book as a lay-person. I haven’t put in the work to see how other scholars see Sperber and Mercier’s work.

Matt, here is a link to a previous discussion about Argument versus Criticism. (and if you hear groans, it’s from all the old hands grumbling about my posting this link yet again! :wink: )

Thanks Dan, good post.
Something else I was considering along those lines is related to the way that we set up others to respond to our views. We ought to be careful of asserting a view as though it were a definitive answer. It sets up people who disagree and have a reason or two to disagree to enter attack mode. The amount of times I have heard a view and thought “well that is clearly stupid" because it is given as a definitive knock down argument is quite large. If the view were framed as “well, here is one possibly way that it could start to be answered but there is room for further discussion” it leaves the door open for a more charitable response.
I guess what I mean is that we have some burden of responsibility for how an argument is received by the tone we put it out in, and the willingness to admit it isn’t the final complete answer

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You can do a lot simply by being clear about stated opinions and removing personal attacks.

“You are wrong because …”, becomes “I think that is wrong because …”.

“XXX is true …”, becomes “In my opinion XXX is true …”.

It also takes a lot of work to have a real discussion when people disagree. Arguing is easy, but understanding is hard.

Just watch for when one person tells another one (or one movement tells another one) that its problem is cognitive bias. One of the hallmarks of creationist argumentation is a claim that scientists are biased.

While it would certainly be fun and interesting to discuss that book and its place in scholarly discourse, I don’t think we need further evidence of the existence and relevance of cognitive biases. For me, the important and interesting issues are the ones about awareness and adjustment.

I guess I’ll make this comment one last time and then leave the conversation. To me, there is a fundamental difference between two big themes here: 1) treating a person with respect, by (among other things) emphasizing empathy; and 2) considering whether and how cognitive biases have influenced my “views.” I may be wrong, and I don’t know whether you intend this, but I see in your comments a conflation of these two themes. My view is that I have an obligation to make it clear when I am stating facts or data and when I am advancing a “view.” Many times it is the former, and so I cannot present something as a “view.” I believe this was the thrust of Taq’s comments above, so I will not reiterate that point except to say that humility is a virtue, and empathy is super-virtue, and respect is the highest goal… but hedging on the nature of reality by suggesting that everything is just a “point of view”… is a place I can’t go with you.

So, my suggestion (and it’s just a suggestion) is to avoid combining references to “well that is clearly stupid” with references to “definitive knock down argument” as though the second implies the first. The second is about whether there is in fact an answer to a particular question. The first is about how to respect a person who doesn’t know that.