Fallibility and L/C Minds
I'm going to give a talk at our local philosophy club this coming Friday. I would once again like to bounce some ideas off of you folks and see what you think.
During the first half of the talk, I'll talk about fallibility. I'll start with some quotes from Thomas Jefferson, who mistrusted his own judgment when it differed from those around him. I'll talk about the fact that on huge issues like religion the world is highly divided signaling us that a large number of brains are wrong. The high divorce rate is another demonstration that the human brain is a faulty decision maker. Many people make low level decisions concerning job selection, car choice and home selection and are later full of regret. How is this possible?
I'll then review some of the sources of error in human thinking and decision making process such as bad statement of the problem faulty data in, incorrect modeling of the world and incorrect execution. In fact there are so many opportunities for error that one is surprised that we ever get anything right. We are fortunate that most choices are binary and we have a 50/50 chance of being right despite the brain's manifold inadequacies.
We might ask why we have this strange situation. Why is it that nature has screwed up so badly? I believe that the answer is simple. We are not using our brains for the purpose they were intended by nature. That's an anthropomorphic way of saying that our brains evolved to fulfill a life or death survival function, and we use them in ways that are mere "spandrels" or unintended consequences. I'll describe the importance of the brain as a tool to predict the intention of a potential mate, friend or adversary. I'll also discuss the value of the brain in the prediction of the movement and location of game, weather and plant life. All these things have direct implications for survival of the species. Great works of art, literature and philosophy have an effect on the survival of the very few creators involved, but little effect on the propagation of the dna of the creators throughout the population. Therefore, we should not expect a great ability for complex thinking and decision-making to be a common trait in our species. I'll split the audience into small groups and have them see if they can come up with an L/C Mind trait that is non-pejorative.
I'll then move into all this stuff about L-C Minds that we have previously discussed. My objective is to get people to think a little harder about the point of view of others i.e. to show respect. My definition of "to respect" is to act as though there is a possibility that you are wrong and your intellectual adversary is right, no matter how totally farfetched that might seem on the surface.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. With respect -Joel