It is a sub-study of logic, to address fallacies. Accordingly, as it has come up, it seems helpful to highlight cognitive dissonance and certain associated fallacies. First, [HT: Montecinos et al, fair use] here is a recent framework for cognitive dissonance:
This is a simple but powerful model. As an example, it has been argued that certain free trial period software, by involving the user in considerable effort to register and use the product, then shifts attitudes towards reluctance to give up the product. Of course, many attitude, thought, belief or behaviour changes can be influenced by the need to reduce inner pain, and some of these are more justifiable in the cold light of day than others. However, some patterns of behaviour tied to cognitive dissonance are less justifiable, as has been known since ancient times.
The fable of the Fox telling itself that the bunch of grapes it cannot reach must be sour is famous, and funny. A bit more painful, is Jesus’ parable of the saw-pit where the sawyer at the top of the sawing pit is busy about the sawdust speck in the eye of the sawyer in its bottom, but manages not to realise he has a plank in his own eye.
As we turn to fallacies, a key one is projection to the other. Sometimes, confession by projection.
For example, as the descendant of such unions, I can freely point to slave masters and overseers projecting racial inferiority and many faults to black slaves . . . even as they repeatedly fathered children by slave women.
In our time, polarisation and associated acts often start with blame shifting. Mr Dawkins’ characterisation of the other as ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked, comes to mind.
A linked issue is the crooked yardstick effect. If a crooked stick is made into one’s reference standard what is actually straight, upright and accurate cannot conform to crookedness. Indeed, neither will a different form of crookedness, so getting people to swallow a crooked yardstick can become a platform for locking them into an agenda that cannot stand on its own merits.
Sometimes, these problems can become so locked in that not even a naturally straight and upright plumb line will be accepted as corrective.
Food, for thought. END