Mind Naturalism

Reasoning in a post-truth world?

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If you can afford the Netherlands in June:

Workshop Reasoning in a post-truth world: a look at dual-process models

Utrecht, the Netherlands, 20-21 June 2018

Last november, the Guardian published an article[1] proclaiming that in order to make sense of our current predicament living in a post-truth world, we should take note of “two fundamental things about what it means to think and talk like a human”. Firstly, there is our vulnerability to all forms of bias and distortion. And secondly, there is our capacity to (at least sometimes) outsmart such bias and distortion by deliberate effort and reasoning. The aim of the workshop is to shed light on the interplay of both these features. Although we have gained important insights from dual-process approaches to cognition, roughly distinguishing implicit and explicit processes (Evans, 2003; Frankish, 2016; Hassin, Aarts, Eitam, Custers, & Kleiman, 2009; Strack & Deutsch, 2015), what remains unclear is how human beings as persons can relate to these different features of their own existence. After all, implicit cognition does not only lead to biases: it is an invaluable feature without which our everyday life would be unbearable. And although our capacity for explicit reasoning is the motor of science, it all too often leads us astray. So the question is: can we ‘employ’ one form of cognition in order to correct the excesses of the other – and if so, from what perspective can we do that? In this workshop, we will address these questions from both psychological and philosophical perspectives. The workshop is open to everyone interested in reasoning, human cognition and current debates on post-truth. More.

Here’s the Guardian article:

While we might debate the wisdom of trusting political insiders, the suspicion of specialists and experts has begun to contaminate a much bigger ecology of knowledge and practice in our society.

The result is post-truth discourse. In our new normal, experts are dismissed, alternative facts are (sometimes flagrantly) offered, and public figures can offer opinions on pretty much anything. And thanks to social media, pretty much anyone can be a public figure. In much public discourse, identity outranks arguments, and we are seeing either a lack of interest in evidence, or worse, an erosion of trust in the fundamental norms around people’s accountability for the things we say. (Nick Enfield)

A post-truth world is also likely to be a post-reasoning world but not necessarily for the reasons Enfield thinks.

It’s not ignoring expertise that causes the biggest problems but rather ignoring reason itself.

Experts, after all, are often wrong and never more likely to be wrong than when they are blindly followed indefinitely.

See also: The illusion of consciousness sees through itself.

2 Replies to “Reasoning in a post-truth world?

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    experts are dismissed

    Well, when experts go too far…

    Andrew

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, no expert is better than the underlying facts, logic and assumptions. KF

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