October 14, 2012
Reading Response: Being Wrong: Chapter 5 by Kathryn Schultz
At the beginning of chapter 5 “Our Minds, Part Two: Belief” Schultz informs us that Alan Greenspan testifies before congress on October 23, 2008 because of the financial crisis. The chapter then leads on to expand on the“Greenspan moments” which is basically when beliefs fail us. Belief in casual conversation is a conscious belief, such as morality, politics, ourselves or others. Philosophers include all unconscious beliefs too, like believing that the sky is dark outside if you're in your bedroom at night with the blinds closed and that the sun won't rise for many more hours and when it does it will do so in the east. Both explicit beliefs like “everyone hates me” and implicit ones “the sky is blue” serve as a function of helping me figure out where to sit when I enter a room. Once an implicit assumption is violated, it becomes explicit. If I suddenly fall through the floor, my implicit assumptions about the solidity of the floor suddenly appear in my conscious. The beliefs at the acute ends of the implicit and explicit range breaks down most strikingly when they are revealed incorrectly.
However, holding a belief can have many outcomes. Belief in overall perspective led to spending $300 million and $30 million per year on LIGO. We have distal beliefs because we need to be able to theorize about some things, but end up theorizing about everything. The theorizing process is quick and automated and doesn't require us to intentionally activate it, so we cant stop theorizing. We tend to mainly notice our theories when they're wrong. Babies as young as seven months are already theorizing about gravity. Alison Gopnik assumed that the theory drive exists particularly esfor early childhood, but functions throughout lives, just like sex drive exists precisely for fertile years, but works before and after.
Although we are good at making...