Unmodified and self-subversive thinking (on Kathryn Schulz “Evidence”)
In this chapter, Kathryn Schulz examines and explains the role of errors in thinking. She states that we encounter such thing as evidence in every aspect of our life, and we strongly rely on it in taking the decisions. The evidence is an important substrate on which the beliefs are grown. Naturally, the beliefs do not always form on the basis of correct evidence, and may be inaccurate. It is notable, however, that the human mind normally acknowledges the fact that it is imperfect, and the understanding “may be incomplete or misleading” (Schulz, 363).
However, despite this recognition, the more evidence we gather, the stronger are the beliefs, even if they are in fact insufficient. The situation is complicated further with the fact that there is no threshold between sufficient and insufficient evidence. Moreover, believing something based on insufficient evidence is a part of human nature, and drives the human cognition.Numerous philosophical theories tried to develop a cognitive system which avoids error, yet all these attempts failed. Schulz explains that in fact human mind thinks more efficiently than all these system, and does so not despite, but because it is prone to error. Human tend to rely on the experience more than on logic, and in some cases it makes human mind outstrip the computer. However, this model also implies that any human conclusion could be false, and still the mistakes which people make are essential part of learning.
The problem here is that small amount of evidence also create bias, and if they may be sufficient for shaping a belief, they are unlikely to change it. This is a generating cause of a confirmation bias, often presented in research literature. Due to various reasons, people often stick to the confirmation biases they have, and responding towards counterevidence is important thing to be cultivated.Speaking about the consequences of her argument, Schulz notes that the awareness of one’s mistakes is a sign of sophisticated thinking, which is more preferable for researcher and writer than uncompromised assurance of one’s rightness (Schulz, 309). In this subsequent part of this paper I will test the Schulz’s ideas through the analysis of primary sources. To achieve that, I resort to the analysis of several situations from the position of unmodified and self-subversive thinking from different domains of life. It will help to answer the questions, if self-subversive thinking allows to do a greater justice to complex issues, and unmodified thinking prevents from having riskier thoughts? I will than conclude presenting, which way of thinking as for me makes the discourse more open and interesting.The first and the simplest area where both the above specified modes are applied, is family and household life. The example of unmodified stereotype which is popular and spread, especially in the patriarchal and traditionalist societies (yet not only in them) is that wife is obliged to cook a dinner for husband as soon as he returns from work.
This assertion is deeply rooted in the …