There’s a puzzle which not solved yet i.e. why are humans so amazingly bad at reasoning in some contexts,and so amazingly good in others?
Why do people sometimes do worse when we tell them to think about a problem or reason through it,than if we don’t give them any special instructions?
Why is the confirmation bias,in particular-this is the most damaging one of all-so ineradicable?That is,why do people automatically search for evidence to support whatever they start off believing,and why it is impossible to train them to undo that?It’s almost impossible.
And finally,why is reasoning so biased and motivated whenever self-intrest or self-presentation are at stake? Wouldn’t it be adaptive to know the truth in social situations,before we try to manipulate?
Nobody has found a way to teach critical thinking that gets people to automatically reflect on.
The problem is especially serious in our morality,where we all care so deeply and personally about what is right and wrong,and where we are almost all politically liberal.We have a very,very biased field,which means we don’t have the diversity to really be able to challenge each other’s confirmation biases on a number of matters.
Morality is like the Matrix i.e. it is based on the cultural,social,or political enviroment.
It’s a consensual hallucination. And if we only hang out with people who share our matrix,then we can be quite certain that,together,we will find a lot of evidence to support our matrix,and to condemn members of other matrices.
Reasoning wasn’t designed to persue the truth.Reasoning was designed to by evolution to help us win arguements.
Reasoning falls quite short of reliably delivering rational beliefs and rational decisions.It may detrimental to rationality.Reasoning can lead to poor outcomes,not because humans are bad at it,but because they systematically strive for arguments that justify their beliefs or their actions.
We do reuse our reasoning abilities.We can reuse our argumentative reasoning for many purposes.But it shows the marks of its heritage.Our thought processes tend toward confirmation of our own ideas.
Science works very well as a social process,when we can come together and find flaws in each other’s reasoning.We can’t find the problems in our own reasoning very well.But that’s what other people are for-to criticize us.And together,we hope the truth comes out.
Reasoning can be counted on to seek justification and not truth!!
The central thing I think about is our nature,our human-animal nature, our being in this world.
At the present time , we actually can’t give any satisfactory explanations about the nature of human experience in terms of the functioning of the brain.
We are not our brain.We have a brain,yes.
But we are living being that is connected to an enviroment ;we are embodied ,and dynamically interacting the world. We can’t explain consciousness in terms of the brain alone because consciousness doesn’t happens in the brain alone.
We make certain assumptions ,take certain things for granted.
We take for granted that thinking , feeling ,wanting , consciousness in general is something that happens inside of us.
We take for granted that the world ,and the rest of our body,matters for consciousness only as a source of casual impingement on what is happening inside of us.
Action has no more intimate connection to thought ,feeling,consciousnessand experience.
We tend to assume that we are fundamentally intellectual-that the thing inside of us which thinks and feels and decides is,in it’s basic nature , a problem solver, a calculator ,a something whose nature is to figure out what there is and what we ought to do in light of what is coming in.
We should reject the idea that the mind is something inside of us that is basically matter of just a calculating machine.
There is nothing inside us that thinks and feels and is conscious. Consciousnness is not something that happens in us.It’s something we do.
The human consciousness is something we enact or achieve ,in motion, as a way of being part of a larger process .
Sometimes we can achieve stability and mutual aid and a sort of calm united front , and then everything is hunky-dory , but then it’s always possible for things to get out of whack and for one alliance or another to gain control , and then we get obsessions and delusions and so forth .
Nature and culture certainly combine in some ways.
It’s not that nature is over here and culture is over there and they both are pulling us in different directions.Rather nature made us for culture.The human aspects of evolution,were adaptations to enable us to have this new and better kind of social life, namely culture.
Culture is a new and better way of relating to each other,based on shared information and division of labor,interlocking roles and things like that. It’s how we solve the problems of survival.
Morality is the set of rules that enable people to live together. It serves the purpose of making the culture work, as culture depends on cooperating with each other-there’s trust,shared assumptions,things like that.
Although nature and culture are working together,there are some conflicts;in particular nature’s made us,at least in a very basic way,selfish.The brain is selfish,and maybe it’s the selfish gene,not the selfish individual,or whatever.But there’s still a natural selfishness,whereas culture needs people to overcome this to some degree,because we have to cooperate with others and to do things that are detrimental to our short-term,and even our long-term,self-interest. Inorder for culture to work,we have to keep our promises,we have to wait for our turn.But these are the sorts of things that mortality promotes,to try to get people to overcome thier natural selfish impulses,to do things that make the system work. And that benifits everyone in the long run.
We are the sum of our memories, which , of course , is something that fractionates and fragments in various forms of dementia.
Memory is notoriously fallible. It’s not cast in stone . It’s not something that is stable. It’s constantly reshaping itself.
We have multitude of unconscious processes that are generating this coherence of consciousness , which is the “I” experience ,and the truth that our memories are selective and ultimately corruptible-We tend to remember things that fit with our general characterization of what ourself is.
We tend to ignore all the information that is inconsistent. We have all these attribution biases. We have cognitive dissonance. We all have these unconcious mechanisms that reframe information, to fit with a coherent story, then both the “I” and the “me” to all intents and purposes , are generated narratives.
As the person loses the capacity to retrieve memories, or the memories become distorted, then the identity of the person , the personality , can be changed , among other things. But certainly the memories are very important.
Decisions can often be modeled by fast and frugal heuristics.Sometimes they are faster , and sometimes they are more frugal. Deciding between two options may involve consequences that are incommensurate from the point of view of the person making the decision. A person could end up making a decision for one dominant reason. We make decisions based on a bounded rationality , not the unbounded rationality of the decision maker modeled after an omniscient god.